Cable RatesAs stated in The Sun of...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Cable Rates

As stated in The Sun of July 14, not only has United Artists Cable of Baltimore not reduced its rates, but it has increased them by $4 a month.

Isn't there anyone who can make them comply with the Cable Act of 1992? Doesn't the Federal Communications Commission have any power?

I presume a cable company is considered a utility, albeit a voluntarily used one.

Our regularly used utilities, Baltimore Gas & Electric and Bell Atlantic, bill for services rendered. United Cable not only bills in advance -- with no guarantee of uninterrupted service -- but also charges a $5 late charge for the yet unused 15 days of service.

Is that fair, being charged a late fee on service yet to be received? I think not.

Can't someone give the Baltimore cable users a fair shake?

Daniel R. Callahan

Baltimore

Schmoozing

George D. Solter, in his letter (July 15), says he seeks to "set the record straight" by criticizing Marcia Myers' article of June 30 regarding the Fourth U.S. Judicial Circuit Conference.

According to Mr. Solter, the conference "provides an excellent means for judges and lawyers to discuss and share mutual legal interests and issues in both formal meetings and informal gatherings."

While this phrasing attempts to lend a certain dignity to the gathering, it is in reality "schmoozing," the term used by Ms. Myers that apparently so annoys Mr. Solter.

In fact, "schmoozing" is a nice term for what goes on at these judicial conferences, since lawyers go to ingratiate themselves with the judges they regularly appear before.

Is Mr. Solter saying that he, as a lawyer, would not fear for his client's interests if he knew opposing counsel had been at a judicial conference playing tennis with the presiding judge the week before!?

In Mr. Solter's case, since he confesses to being a regular attendee at these conferences, he probably spent as much time with judges on the tennis courts at the conference centers as he did in his local court of law.

The Sun, instead of being guilty of "cheap journalism with no redeeming value or purpose," as charged by Mr. Solter, is, instead, to be commended for revealing how the justice system really works in Maryland.

Paul Streckfus

Pasadena

4th Amendment

I would like to comment on Roger Simon's commentary of July 6. Mr. Simon fails to recognize the importance of the exclusionary rule and the relevance to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

I agree it is a travesty of justice when important evidence must be tossed and an otherwise guilty defendant is allowed to go free, but the Constitution must be held in force.

In the specific case of O. J. Simpson, the officers had only to make a phone call to get verbal approval to enter the premises legally. I believe the Founding Fathers knew that an over-zealous officer could plant evidence in order to finalize a case or, worse, to make one.

Our Constitution seems to be under severe attack lately, and I am concerned. I see freedoms in danger and fear we could find ourselves in the same position we were in when the colonies decided to declare our independence from tyranny and totalitarianism.

M. Bass

Reisterstown

Disenchanted

It saddens me to know that The Sun's reporters have already handed Rep. Ben Cardin and Sen. Paul Sarbanes another term in Congress.

Has it occurred to this paper that some of us "yellow dog Democrats," who aren't exactly thrilled with the performance of these Congress-members, might want to read about their challengers?

Even if The Sun doesn't think the other contenders are serious, they should try to acknowledge them and provide some background information.

Maybe The Sun should encourage its reporters to actually read the letters to the editor. "GOP Allure" points to why the Democrats are driving away their own voters.

The Sun's increasingly slanted reporting of incumbent Democrats is assisting in the defection of voters. Some day the GOP may thank this paper as "the Democrats' own worst enemy."

Those of us who seek true news reporting regret that this is a one-newspaper town. The Sun has an inefficient incumbency, just like our congressmen.

Barney Wheeler

Baltimore

State Casino

Your front page article about the Maryland Lottery, July 11, really touched a nerve. Why does the state need to have paid employees to "coach" patrons on how to play keno?

It is bad enough that the state has to supplement its income by having lotteries or keno at all.

But now the state has gone from radio, television and print advertising to personal contact to promote gambling.

I think this has gone too far. There are many people who can resist non-personal advertising but will succumb to the pressure of a coach and cheering group, and gamble with dollars they can't afford to lose.

What is even worse, the games the state offers are incredibly stacked in the state's favor.

If you play a one-spot game in keno, you have a 1 in 4 chance of winning. For this, the state gives you back your wager plus an amount equal to it (1:1 or 2 for 1).

In Las Vegas casinos, the same winning game would return your wager plus an amount equal to twice your wager (2:1 or 3 for 1). At the same time, the casino provides free drinks.

If the casinos can operate profitably at this payout rate (they wouldn't run the game if they couldn't), why does the state need to stack the odds so much more?

It is really a shame that the state must rely on the gambling population to help balance its books, but it is a crime when the player has worse odds than in Las Vegas, with paid employees of the state encouraging them to play.

Stephen M. Mencik

Gambrills

Another Stolen Car in the City

On July 8 The Sun featured an article on car theft in Baltimore. A personal profile of a Roland Park resident's saga, in which her two Hondas were stolen from her driveway within six weeks, was highlighted in the article to personalize the story.

Ironically enough, my car had just been stolen the prior night from my busy residential street in Roland Park. Even more ironically, the abrupt shattering of glass at the onset of dusk did little to disturb the daily routine of numerous joggers, walkers and cyclists parading by Roland Avenue as this violation occurred before their glazed eyes.

The reaction of the policewoman who took the report of the theft was similar to someone who may have seen the incident, except for the fact that the policewoman was required to take an active role in the occurence.

As she gathered the pertinent information from my husband and me, her demeanor did nothing to conceal what was probably a monotonous task, something she had done a million times before.

Her reaction was certainly a stark contrast to the bewildered tones of the voices belonging to my husband and me as we rehashed what we knew of the incident, mainly that our car was stolen by smashing out a window between 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. on a busy thoroughfare.

Yes, it was a Honda, the premier car on the wanted list of car thieves everywhere, and although it was an older model, an '86, the car was in excellent condition. We knew it had to last a few more years because like many other young couples, our present economic situation leaves us no room for splurging.

Within a week my vehicle was recovered and towed to the lot for abandoned cars, destined to die an early death with a heap of other violated victims of our heartless society.

I was advised to view the damage myself and considered dismissing the suggestion. Are family members comforted by the sight of a brutally murdered loved one, or are they further angered and revolted?

And furthermore, would the reality of seeing our car void of roof, doors, trunk, wheels and bumpers assist in my acknowledgment of the truth, although it would be barely recognizable as the car that had been used on my first date with my husband, on our trek across the country, etc., etc.?

Now, along with waiting for a bureaucratic system to tie up the case, I make time to contemplate irresponsible actions taken, and dismissed, every single day, and to wonder how we exist in the world we've created.

Elizabeth Heubeck

Baltimore

BTC

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