Drug treatment needs fundingI am writing in...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Drug treatment needs funding

I am writing in response to the Nov. 16 news story on the undercover attempt of Dr. Peter Beilenson, city health commissioner, to enter methadone clinics unsuccessfully, as well as the Nov. 24 letter of Lauren Siegel.

Both speak clearly to the issue of decreased funding for drug treatment facilities.

As a drug counselor and director of a treatment facility, I know by experience that the majority of the problems in this city are rooted in our vast drug problem.

My clients express daily that they would do anything simply to have the drug. If the city and state provided ample funding

instead of constantly cutting our budgets, treatment centers would be able to do the task of helping them stay away from drugs.

More people on the street using drugs only increases petty crimes, unsafe neighborhoods and shootings.

Putting these people in prison with no rehabilitation only forestalls their inevitable release without treatment and return to their former lifestyle.

It is imperative that this state and city find the funds to aid not only those addicted, but all of us possible innocent victims of those unable to be treated. Where are our priorities?

Christopher W. Shea

Towson

Bureaucrats threaten individual rights

There it is, right there on the front page of The Sun: College president fined $1,325 for smoking in her bathroom that adjoins her office.

I wonder how they found out she was smoking in her bathroom? Some zealot must have turned her in.

People had better wake up to what's going on here. The bureaucrats are taking over and the next thing will be children turning in their parents for smoking in the home or their car.

I don't smoke cigarettes; I do smoke an occasional cigar. But bureaucrats really want to control your every move in the name of what they think is best for you.

A. Bacigalupa

Baltimore

Smoking fine must have been joke

I kept looking for the punch line in the story about the smoking fine imposed on the president of Villa Julie College (Nov. 23, "Villa Julie head pays for smoking"), but the state inspector, the reporter, the editor and even the miscreant apparently all took it seriously.

The state contends that a woman smoking a cigarette, in a private bathroom, behind a closed door, with the window open, constitutes a "serious violation" with a "substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result" for other employees.

If that level of risk constitutes a "serious violation," then I should be able to charge Josef, the executive chef at Peerce's, with attempted murder. Last night I ordered the oyster appetizer and it came with this smooth, rich, delicious, buttery sauce that, no doubt, raised my cholesterol to dangerous levels.

By the way, whom can I sue over the much greater risk I faced in driving the five-mile round-trip to the restaurant?

This society needs to get a life.

Ted Hartka

Phoenix

State income tax cut is modest budget trim

Why does The Sun put a negative spin on the proposed tax cut for Maryland? In a recent article, you mention "wrenching budget decisions," "$700 million in unspecified budget cuts over four years" and "$450 million in lost revenue."

Wake up. In absolute terms, these amounts are large, but they have less meaning when considered in the context of the state's annual budget, which is $15 billion per year.

During the four-year period, Maryland intends to spend over $65 billion. The $700 million in unspecified cuts is only 1 percent of this amount. How can the legislative leaders wring their hands over a 1 percent spending decrease when the average Maryland family needs two breadwinners just to survive?

Here's another calculation: The 1997 budget forecasts $3.5 billion of personal income tax collections. An immediate 10 percent income tax cut equals $360 million, which is only about 2 percent of the annual budget.

Why can't the state tighten its belt by 2 percent and return money to the taxpayers?

Tax relief is affordable and the leadership must do a better job of framing their objections in a realistic way.

Given the total budget, the governor's proposed tax reduction is hardly financial Armageddon. It represents a first step on Maryland's road to fiscal responsibility.

Jeffrey Hooke

Chevy Chase

The writer is an adjunct professor of finance at the University of Maryland Graduate Business School.

Ann LoLordo's work praised

I must write to say how much I appreciate the dispatches of Ann LoLordo.

Her reports on the seemingly unsolvable political problems between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization are coupled with many fascinating descriptions of the commonality of the two peoples of the land -- the Jews and the Arabs -- which gives the reader hope that perhaps the problems are not unsolvable at all.

Ms. LoLordo obviously has made it a point to "stray outside of the beltway" to mingle with the people. Her articles on the similarities of Arab and Jewish weddings and the description of an Israeli Arab village's olive harvest which was celebrated by Jews and Arabs alike are just two of the dispatches that have pointed out that harmony is not unattainable.

The fact that thousands of Arabs are Israeli citizens is further proof that they can indeed live together.

Dorothy D. Margolis

Baltimore

City school deal called a sell-out

Sold out again by our honorable Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

With the complicity of Del. Howard "Pete" Rawlings and Sen. Barbara Hoffman, state Superintendent Nancy Grasmick, the State Board of Education and the General Assembly will control the Baltimore City public schools, have their fingers in and their thumbs on, micro-managing.

The new city school board is to be composed of "qualified" city residents ". . . screened by the state school board." Unbelievable.

Whose pawns do you think they will be? Maybe now is the time to consider an elected school board.

Harry E. Bennett Jr.

Baltimore

Pub Date: 11/29/96

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