Question KIt is unfortunate that your editorial...


Question K

It is unfortunate that your editorial opposing the Baltimore City Term Limits Initiative (Oct. 5) consisted mostly of ad hominem attacks on the party affiliation and motivation of some of its supporters. In fact, term limits have broad support among members of all political parties, including such prominent Democrats as City Council President Mary Pat Clarke.

Although many Libertarians are active in the term limits movement, there is no connection between the Libertarian Party and U.S. Term Limits as you claim. We are also very active in organizations protecting freedom of speech and opposing warrantless searches and seizures, but I doubt if you would suggest that this discredits these ideas.

Regarding your unsupported allegation that signatures may have been fraudulently obtained, I suggest that you take that up with the Board of Election Supervisors, which verified that the 29,748 signatures submitted contained the required 10,000 valid ones.

As for your substantive arguments, perhaps you don't understand what's going on here. Citizens intend to take government back from the career politicians who now control it. The power of incumbency is very difficult to defeat, and the low voter turnout you decry is often due to the lack of any real contest between incumbents and challengers. Term limits level the playing field and provide more competitive races in which voters may again have a real choice.

I urge Baltimore voters of all political persuasions to turn out strongly in support of Question K on Nov. 8.

Douglas E. McNeil


The writer is chairman, Baltimore City Libertarian Party.

Contract History

Three hundred Republican House candidates signed a "Contract with America" on the steps of our Capitol. The contract promises to reduce taxes, strengthen defense and balance the budget.

They insist these vows will come true, if they are elected to take control of the House.

In 1980, the Reagan administration hiked defense spending and cut taxes. We were told that economic growth spurred by the tax cuts would pay the bill and balance the budget.

The result: Deficits soared to the tune of $3 trillion in a period of 12 years.

If you want history to repeat itself, support "Contract with America."

Joseph Lerner


Fair Lanes

With regard to the Sept. 21 business page article, "Fair Lanes emerges from bankruptcy," and chairman Mac Clayton's comment, "I'm not sure bowling alleys have been known as great, clean, high service institutions in the past . . . our role model is Blockbuster . . . we want to be the Blockbuster of the bowling industry,":

It might interest Mr. Clayton to know that until the first leveraged buyout and his subsequent LBO, Fair Lanes enjoyed profitability for over 65 years and was even considered a "cash cow" and never driven by debt.

Prior to these two LBO's, which took place in less than three years, Fair Lanes had been seen as the Blockbuster and role model of the bowling industry, even by the industry giants, AMF & Brunswick.

Of course Fair Lanes is only one of the many, long-established, very profitable, people-caring companies that was gobbled up by the fast-moving, cancerous greed of the 1980s.

Maybe if Mr. Clayton knew a little bit about Fair Lanes' history, he'd understand what's been going on.

Betty Schaefer


Rescuing the Manatee

Thank you for the continuous articles on the rescue of the manatee.

They were informative and interesting. It is refreshing that so many cared about an endangered helpless animal. It would be nice to apply concern for all mammals in distress.

M. J. Bushman



The "Maryland Manatee" has been rescued!

After a joint effort with what seemed like everyone involved but the Cub Scouts, the wayward manatee was saved from the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Should we rejoice over this rescue effort, or condemn it due to the expense?

I feel that the cost of rescuing such animals is extraordinary, given the present state of Maryland's economy. Don't get me wrong, I like the manatee just as much as anyone else. But come on, how many millions of dollars must we spend on these rescues before we say enough is enough?

Just a couple of weeks ago I read about a dolphin that was air-lifted by helicopter from Virginia Beach to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Well the fish lived to swim another day after what must have been a multi-thousand dollar flight in one of those giant helicopters! The state should establish a cost/benefit barrier for such rescue effort. While we all feel sorry for wildlife that falls into a perilous situation, everyone must realize that animals live and die in the wild.

A balance must be struck between human efforts to preserve wildlife and Mother Nature's natural selection process. Of course PTC some wildlife is more valuable than others due to historical, cultural or numerical significance. But, unlike human life, a value can -- and should --be placed on the life of a wild animal.

#Anthony G. Girandola Jr.


Unequal Gifts

With the beginning of another school year has come an onslaught of advertising from various grocery stores regarding their school gift programs, such as Giant's "Apples for the Students."

Am I the only person who is offended by these projects?

For those of you who are not familiar with the programs, shoppers can save their receipts, and the store will donate a percentage of the total to the school of the shopper's choice.

While the intention is good, these programs widen the gap between privileged and deprived children in two ways.

Wealthier communities spend more in general, and that includes at the grocery store. Higher bills mean bigger gifts for the schools in wealthy communities and, of course, smaller gifts for those schools in districts where people have lower budgets. Already, schools in wealthier districts are better off.

The donations are contingent on people actually saving their receipts and turning them in. Now, who is going to be more apt to take the time to do this: parents who take a deep interest in their child's education or parents who are either too busy working or don't care enough even to follow their child's progress?

The children who live in supportive households will benefit from these receipt-saving programs, but not the children who truly need the assistance, those who look for the attention they don't get at home at their schools or on the streets.

If these grocery chains are really concerned with our community, perhaps they could simply donate a portion of their total proceeds and distribute it equally among schools, or perhaps give to those school districts that need it most.

It would be very interesting to see just which students have been getting the most apples.

Alysa Moores


Closing Doors

If I suspected that unwarranted fear and a degree of stupidity were driving elements in the opposition to the federal Moving to Opportunity program, the Sept. 22 letter of Frank A. Sume of Essex confirmed it.

Not only did Mr. Sume display a gross lack of knowledge of urban history and issues, but he in effect labeled every one in subsidized housing as criminals, drug addicts, prostitutes and filthy slouches who deserve to live as animals.

Conversely, he implied that every county resident was employed, upstanding, self-supporting, family oriented and always involved in their respective communities.

I am not surprised by Mr. Sume's mind-set. I have heard the same inaccurate depiction by other county residents, both black and white.

Yet what troubles me is that when you talk to these people about their backgrounds, most will tell you that they came from hard-working, poor communities.

It is sad that now they want to lock the very door they walked through behind them.

Tyrone Hill


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