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City's leaders are problem, not solutionWith the...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

City's leaders are problem, not solution

With the Baltimore City Council not able to choose a new comptroller to replace the retired Jacqueline McLean, many observations come to mind.

This may very well signal that Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke may not be able to pull off the 1995 elections without turning his campaign into a racial contest, black vs. white.

We all know that if there was not an election coming up next year, many of the so-called improvements we are seeing would not be happening now. Baltimore City residents should keep in mind that things are not getting better in the city, they are becoming worse.

Whether the council chose Councilman Lawrence Bell or Councilwoman Iris Reeves did not make much difference. A comptroller would still have to be voted into office next year.

The fact that the council could not choose shows just who the council members are working for, and it is not the residents of Baltimore City.

For the most part, the council members serve a select few of the residents in their districts, and many of the members you will never see until election year.

Baltimore City residents have no one to blame for the ills that affect this city but the city leaders. Yet each election year the voters return to office those same old tired politicians who talk a lot of garbage to get their vote, and deliver nothing for most of the residents who elected them.

The 1995 election is already gearing up for action, and the voters will have an opportunity to change the direction in which this city is moving.

Baltimore City needs effective leadership that will move the entire city forward. Currently that kind of consistent leadership is not coming from the mayor or the City Council.

Jeffrey A. Hubbard

Baltimore

Public offenders

I don't hold the police responsible for not prevailing against the huge crime problem. Nor do I believe that a policeman writing misdemeanor citations ought to be devoting his time to felonies.

I was pleased to see the police doing something they could do to make a difference -- arresting men who urinate on the streets of Fells Point.

Fells Point is one of the city's most exciting places to visit -- until you, your wife or your children run into some thoughtless person offending the line of view.

Thoughtless is too soft a description. Public urination, failure to cap garbage cans, failure to park correctly or to muffle vehicle exhausts -- these reflect a change in our society indicating people's willingness to tolerate much lower standards of conduct.

You cannot improve on the golden rule. If police had paid more attention to such minor infractions decades ago, we might not have the bigger infractions today.

George M. Watson

Baltimore

No-mail blues

Recently, one of my neighbors graciously delivered my mail that had been put in her mail slot by mistake. This is a daily occurrence in our apartment complex.

Four days last week, I received mail belonging to other people -- sometimes from the same building, sometimes from another building, sometimes from another street. But always folded, spindled and mutilated.

A visit to the Govans station is a lesson in perseverance and humility. Disgruntled postal workers act as if it were an imposition to sell some stamps or weigh a package.

I wonder what the requirements are for those jobs, which start at salaries more than double those of my highly credentialed colleagues at a major academic institution.

Jane Shinnick, manager of the Govans station, seems puzzled by these problems. She says she would like to understand what the problems are and how to fix them.

Yet I and other neighbors have regularly informed Ms. Shinnick of the problems with her station's service . . .

During the bad winter weather, our Baltimore Sun carrier never missed a single delivery and was on time. However, we went for days at a time without mail service.

Marjorie Liss

Baltimore

Dirty water

Although it may be hard to admit, the United States has a drinking water problem.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly a million citizens become sick every year from drinking their tap water.

Here in Maryland there were 332 violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the law that governs the quality of the water that flows from our taps, in 1992-93. Despite these documented problems with our water, however, in May the U.S. Senate defied all logic and voted to weaken our drinking water standards and to allow more cancer-causing chemicals into our water.

To add insult to injury, 189 representatives in the House have co-sponsored a bill that would further weaken the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Should we have to wonder whether or not the glass of cold water we drink to cool off on a hot summer day will make us sick or even poison us? Should we be forced to ignore our own faucets and scurry to the supermarket to buy gallons of untested bottled water?

Of course not.

We must protect our drinking water. We have the technology and know-how to do so. We should eliminate toxic chemicals, protect those most vulnerable to disease outbreaks and prevent the polluting of our drinking water sources.

Representatives Benjamin Cardin, Kweisi Mfume, Helen Bentley, Wayne Gilchrest and the rest of the Maryland delegation will have the opportunity to fix what the Senate broke.

aniel Pontious

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (MaryPIRG).

Profit for wellness

A facetious story is making the rounds today, another in the series of light bulb jokes we all have had fun with:

Q. "How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?"

A. "Only one, but it's expensive, it takes years sometimes, and the light bulb has to want to change."

There is no doubt that every American who has arrived at the age of reason wants a health plan for the nation.

We want a change -- radical change -- from being what many holistic experts (among whom are physicians) call "the most diseased nation in the world," to becoming and remaining the "most healthy people in the world."

We're motivated, we're information-wise, and millions of computer-literate persons are super smart; we can all understand the complexity of the various proposals that are being presented. So why is the change taking such a long time?

We deserve good health, it is the responsibility of government to strive to produce better health, and we want it. We want it now.

The techniques used by the business world to produce leadership and profits are well known to all those concerned with attempting to bring about the necessary change and can be applied to the effort toward insuring wellness to each and every one of us.

Yet we persist with a system that makes huge profits only as the general public is ill and continues to manifest new and more virulent diseases in the future.

Let's apply the techniques that have made fortunes for big businesses to reversing this trend toward ill health. It's too costly. Consider its toll in the past, its present toll and what that toll will be.

Let's formulate and promptly begin to implement a system whereby the medical profession gets rich only in proportion as the general health of Americans improves drastically and continues to improve.

In other words, perks, bonuses, incentives of all kinds will only be paid to the health care professionals as it becomes abundantly clear that general health is improving . . .

Health is vitally wanted and needed. We are not likely to get it unless we reverse the paradigm from profit for illness to profit for wellness. With the goal in mind, let's move toward that goal "with all deliberate speed."

ileen E. Evans

Baltimore

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