Thirty percent used MTA busesAs administrator of...


Thirty percent used MTA buses

As administrator of the Mass Transit Administration, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Maryland citizens for their patronage of MTA bus, light rail and Metro systems during the weekend of Aug. 2. The return of football to the city of Baltimore, and the annual AFRAM festivities, were both causes for celebration for the MTA, as record numbers of citizens chose the convenience of mass transit.

Nearly 18,000 fans -- 30 percent of fans attending the Baltimore Ravens exhibition game against the Philadelphia Eagles -- traveled aboard MTA buses. Express bus service operated from 15 park and ride lots throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area. Serving Memorial Stadium was not new to the MTA; we played a major role in providing transportation for Baltimore Colts and Stallions fans.

While the movement to the stadium received excellent marks, there were some traffic issues as we departed the stadium. As we look forward to the start of the regular season, we will continue to work closely with the city to ensure efficient operations of our systems.

John Agro Jr.


Gaming money is diverted

An article in The Sun of Aug. 12 tells us about other areas going with gambling as the panacea to their education funding problems. They got benefits for a couple of years and then the legislatures (the ones that approved gambling in the beginning) decided that the money would be more useful elsewhere and should be put into the general fund. Education lost out.

Haven't we been down this street once already?

Louis J. Piasecki


Religious freedom bill must die

Leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have resurrected a truly bad idea in the so-called "Religious Freedom Amendment" to the Constitution and have put it on a fast track to get a recorded vote ("for or against God," we may safely predict) for the fall campaign. This bill should be opposed by every fair-minded American who values the protections provided in the Bill of Rights.

In more than 200 years the Bill of Rights, and the First Amendment in particular, have not been amended. There is no reason to do so now, except for the perceived benefit to some secular ideological interests. That's a bad reason.

The First Amendment, contrary to the histrionics of some extremists, does create a necessary wall of separation between church and state, recognized by no less than Thomas Jefferson, that has fostered a sound record of interfaith peace and tolerance in America. We need to keep it that way.

Anthony Cobb


Capital gains cut would help the rich

The Republicans keep harping about "the largest tax increase in history" but I don't remember any such thing.

I'm a part-owner of a small business and I bring home $24,000- $28,000 a year. I don't remember my taxes going up or down significantly, percentage-wise, in the last 12 years. If those making over a $100,000 had to pay a little more, I feel so sorry for them.

The Republicans keep saying that they want to slash the capital gains tax "to help small businesses." I do the books and tax returns for our business and I can't imagine any way in which a capital gains tax cut would save me one penny, unless I sold the business.

As far as I can see, the primary beneficiaries of a capital gains tax cut would be those who buy and sell stocks short-term.

They never leave their money in one place long enough to fuel the economy and skim the cream off the top of the economy long before it has a chance to "trickle down.'

Carl Aron


City that travels could read instead

If Baltimore is the city that reads, then why in the world would city officials have to travel to New York to learn crime-fighting techniques?

Save the money. Ask New York to send us the information. Information can be shared by fax, phone and letters. Look at the money it will save.

Cut the travel budget. That money can be better used in the city school system.

Barbara Rogers


Not all mental woes are severe illnesses

Douglas J. Peddicord's article, "An unfair reform bill" (Aug. 12), attacks my recent article written with Lee Weinberg in The Wall Street Journal as "overheated" insofar as we maintain that psychiatrists can diagnose almost anyone as having a mental disorder and that "parity" would mandate continuous coverage for someone like Woody Allen, who has reportedly been in psychoanalysis for years.

Mr. Peddicord's argument is misleading and incorrect. It is misleading, because the reference to Woody Allen's situation, as we made clear in our article, comes from psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, who favors equal coverage for mental and physical health only for what is called "severe mental illness" (schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and major depression).

Mr. Peddicord's argument is incorrect because its major premise, "mental disorders occur along a continuum of severity," is simply in error.

For example, schizophrenia, an authentic disease, and major depression are not simply more severe than, say, adjustment disorder, which, like most mental illnesses is not a disease at all.

Adjustment disorder is, in fact, a catch-all term referring to the vague situation wherein a client allegedly suffers from what psychiatry's diagnostic manual calls "clinically significant emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable psychosocial stressor or stressors."

Mr. Peddicord's argument is also incorrect because he only selectively points to uses of mental health parity in industry to assume that with the entire nation under mandated parity that it would be cost-beneficial. He also doesn't mention that parity is opposed for economic reasons by the Business Health Policy Council and others.

Further, to add just one more piece of contrary evidence to Mr. Peddicord's selection, Mark Ugoretz, president of Erisa Industry Committee, a trade association representing 180 of the nation's biggest corporations, opposes the blank check that parity would issue: "It (parity) covers virtually anything from intense schizophrenia to just being unhappy."

Mr. Peddicord also ignores the exponential climb in the number of people identified as mentally ill in America.

If the mental health industry and its supporters would lobby exclusively for substantial coverage for severe mental illness, from which all of its heart-rending examples come, they would be both more honest and more successful.

Richard E. Vatz


Pub Date: 8/20/96

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