Cellular codeSince we keep hearing that cellular...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Cellular code

Since we keep hearing that cellular phones, pagers, fax machines and modems are the reason we're running out of phone numbers, couldn't we just move all of these new uses to a new area code and leave regular phone numbers alone?

That way old-fashioned phone callers won't have to contend with 10-digit dialing. Increased consciousness of when you're dialing a cellular phone or pager may be an additional benefit.

David S. Roberts

Towson

Corrupt parties

A story in the Aug. 30 issue, "Md. mongrel is running for president," contained an error.

The closing paragraph states that Ross Perot, in 1992, was the last "third party" candidate to get on ballots in all 50 states. While this may be technically correct in that he qualified last, another party also qualified that year in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

It was the Libertarian Party. In spite of this, the LP was not allowed to participate in the public debates with Mr. Perot and other major candidates.

The Libertarian Party was unfairly excluded from these "honest" debates while a media clown, whose sole qualification was the ability to purchase huge amounts of time, was accorded the same status as the two major parties. It is these two major parties which make it so difficult for third parties to get on ballots.

The press keeps asking if there will be a third party effort. There is always a third party effort and members of the press are always invited to attend. They just don't attend parties of ideas and prefer to promote personalities instead. They then wonder where all the new ideas will come from next time.

The very same thing will undoubtedly happen in 1996. The most popular candidate so far is Colin Powell. A man of considerable ability but with no political allegiance. I am not talking about an allegiance to a specific party, but to a theory as to the preferred function and priorities of government. As it stands now, he could likely advocate mandatory diapers for dogs, make it his sole platform plank and everyone would still claim him the man of the hour.

The death of new political ideas and of political hope for our future is a function of an interaction between a lazy and irresponsible press and a corrupt and monopolistic "two-party"' system.

In the last presidential election, both major parties missed a filing deadline in Illinois. Yet they were both on the ballot in November.

Does anybody anywhere in any way believe the same courtesy would have been extended to Mr. Perot, the Libertarians or Josh the Wonder Dog?

Michael Klapp

Baltimore

Not macho

Most televised sporting events include commercials which present the drinking of beer and the hanging out in saloons as very "macho." These ads, seen by impressionable young people, leave them with the feeling that their goal should be to hang out with the "big boys" (and girls) and indulge in the "suds."

While there is much evidence that alcohol substance abuse is a major contributing factor in most auto accidents and in domestic violence and that sustained alcohol substance abuse leads to dire health problems, there doesn't seem to be any movement to restrict commercials associated with alcohol consumption.

It would seem that the same fervor that led to the banning of tobacco ads on television should come forth in regard to alcohol. Use of tobacco is harmful only to the user's health (and those around if subject to large doses of secondary smoke inhalation). Alcohol on the other hand, not only is a hazard to the user's health but also places at risk innocent bystanders (auto accidents, fights, etc.) and domestic tranquillity

James M. Hall

Perry Hall

Overpaid athletes

Currently, sports stars are being paid millions of dollars every year. In the long run, this is due to greedy team owners.

For instance, the Major League Baseball Association began seeking mainly fun and entertainment for players and fans alike.

As the sport began to draw more fans, the team owners realized that they could make serious money.

Now most players earn more than paramedics, teachers, policemen, etc.

Why is this? The team owners want the best players, and are willing to pay top dollar for them, so that they can have all the glory and publicity of winning the World Series.

There are many more important occupations than playing a sport.

Some people spend their time and effort saving lives, building our nation's future through the education of children, doing their best to keep our streets safe and providing other needed goods and services.

Most of these people aren't paid nearly as much as "important" sports stars and never will be. But what would we do without these people? What do sports stars provide for the public?

Plenty of people who have "real" jobs play a sport (strictly for their own enjoyment) in their free time. They don't get a paycheck for this.

I'm not saying that those who play a professional sport shouldn't be paid.

They just shouldn't be paid so much.

Matt Elrick

Phoenix

Deregulate utilities at consumer risk

With the international free trade agreement a fact, nations are deregulating their industries at a rapid pace.

The hope is that, out of a number of small companies, conglomerates would be formed capable of competing on the open market.

That may be so. I am not an economist to pass judgment. I do know that the deregulation of the regulated electric utility is a mistake that will hurt everyone.

Deregulation is not just here in the United States. Nations in South America and Great Britain, who own the electric utilities, are selling them off to private investors to raise capital. They feel that they can best compete in the open market by changing to a capitalistic structure.

England, for example, is selling its 28 utilities to the highest bidders. In terms of money raised, the British are well pleased. Their only reservation is in the fact that the new owners want to become instant millionaires.

The British could have had both capital and protection for the consumers if they had sold stock to the consumers themselves. Basically this is what an electric utility is, the one we are destroying.

If we turn the clock back, say about 85 years, George Westinghouse had just invented the transformer. Instead of very limited distances, the transformer could now raise voltages to extend transmission distances greatly.

Smart investors who recognized future possibilities began to buy out utilities, leaving consumers at the mercy of private investors.

State politicians, with the "protect the consumer from the investor" slogan, took the matter to litigation. The court ruled in favor of the politicians. Those industries that served the public could be regulated by the states. This included gas, water, electricity and transportation.

The cry to "save the consumer from the investor" did not die with the court's decision, even though the new investors were the people themselves. Budding politicians would use the slogan to get a foothold in the political arena.

In the past 25 years consumer advocates, environmentalists and anti-nuclear activists have joined the politician to "protect the consumer from the investor." It has worked successfully for them, not for the people.

The public has been so conditioned over the years, they believe what they are told.

There are two plans to deregulate the electric utility. One, as in England and South America, would be total deregulation.

The favored plan in our country is to separate distribution from generation. In either case, the consumer is left to the mercy of the private investor.

Martin Sanders

Baltimore

Houses don't deal drugs

Owning and managing rental property in Baltimore City is a very complicated and gut-wrenching experience.

There are few who have the knowledge, capital and the stomach to deal with properties stripped to the bone by drug addicts, lead poisoning lawsuits and tenants and their children who are scared to death to go out of the house.

Anyone who believes that property owners should be responsible for, or have the ability to reduce, local drug traffic is dreaming.

Dealing with drug pushers is dangerous police business. If it is so obvious that certain people are selling drugs, why don't the police arrest them?

Why doesn't the state's attorney's office try them for their crimes?

What good does it do to evict them so they can go somewhere else and set up shop?

Houses don't sell drugs, people do!

tewart Levitas

Baltimore

The writer is past president of the Property Owners Association of Greater Baltimore.

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