Cartoon of Watts is 'liberal racism' that ignores his successes
On Nov. 23, The Sun ran a cartoon on the Opinion Commentary page by Dan Wasserman depicting congressman J. C. Watts' election to the House Republican leadership as a form of affirmative action.
This characterization was an insult to every person of color who has achieved a position of prominence through his or her own efforts.
The characterization amounts to nothing less than liberal racism. This form of racism, which is widely accepted by the liberal establishment, holds that African Americans and other people of color are incapable of competing with white Americans unless they are afforded some type of special treatment.
That is racism, plain and simple. Affirmative action was originally intended to ensure that all citizens have an equal opportunity to compete. It does not guarantee success.
Rep. Watts is a successful leader within his party and has an appeal that reaches beyond. His success was of his own making (recognizing the contributions of his family and the likes of Sen. Ed Brooke, Rep. Adam Clayton Powell and other African Americans who have served in Congress).
The Sun's attempt to cheapen the congressman's election to a party leadership position is an insult to him and all Americans.
Boyd K. Rutherford
Gay march is about respect as well as about rights
Your Nov. 29 article "Plan to hold gay pride march stirs emotion on Eastern Shore" on the proposed gay pride march through Millington was timely.
The issue is broader than exercising constitutional rights. Gays must be seen, heard and respected. They must be able to march proudly through any town, from Millington to San Francisco, without fear of abuse spawned by medieval hatred and religious bigotry.
Unfortunately, homophobia flourishes today as it did 20 years ago, when two gay public servants, Harvey Milk and George Moscone, were assassinated.
Recently, we saw Matt Shepard's young life destroyed. During the decades separating these two tragedies, gays have been discriminated against, taunted, bullied, even killed -- all because of an inherent sexual orientation.
In war and peace, homosexuals have served America honorably. They deserve respect. Millington's proposed gay rights march must be viewed in that context.
Margaret L. Kempf
Congressmen acting to control nutria
I am writing to compliment you on the article "Declaring war on pesky nutria" (Nov. 10).
Exotic species introductions, whether intentional or unintentional, often result in economic and ecological problems. In the case of the little-known nutria, the result of their introduction has been particularly devastating.
In the Chesapeake Bay alone, wetland and associated ecological losses, which can be attributed to the destructive feeding behavior of nutria, is on the scale of thousands of acres. Your article will, hopefully, bring public attention to bear on what is an expanding national problem.
Although the article was an excellent overview of nutria and the associated economic, social and environmental issues, you didn't mention one important aspect of the story: political support.
Scientists and natural resource managers can describe the nutria problem and develop potential solutions; however, all is for naught without the political support and funding from our elected officials.
In the case of nutria, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest and the members of the congressional Subcommittee on Fisheries, Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans have provided that support.
Not only are our legislators listening, they have passed an important bill authorizing the secretary of the Interior to provide financial assistance to the state of Maryland for a pilot program to develop measures to eradicate or control nutria.
Frank J. Wolff
The writer is outreach coordinator for Friends of Blackwater, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
There's good news about college affordability
The Sun's Nov. 27 editorial ("Affordable?") about the threat to student access posed by rising college tuition was a point well taken.
In the words of Malcolm X, "education is the passport to the future." We cannot let high costs deny that passport to anyone with the dream and the determination.
There is, however, good news. In keeping with our mission to provide affordable quality education, and with the assistance of the governor and the Maryland General Assembly, tuition and fees did not increase this year at the Baltimore City Community College.
For about $2,000 per year for a full-time student, a Maryland resident can enroll at the BCCC. Upon graduation, students can move directly into a productive career or transfer to a four-year college or university.
Maryland's excellent computerized course equivalency system means that a student can plan ahead and transfer without loss of credits.
With small classes and personal attention from an excellent faculty, BCCC is an ideal place to earn that passport to the future.
James D. Tschechtelin
The writer is president of the Baltimore City Community College.
Why the assumption that growth is good for Md.?
In his Opinion Commentary article Nov. 25 ("Tobacco money should go to medical research"), Barry Rascovar opines that "there is no more beneficial growth industry for Maryland citizens than medical research," and that "the results of this work could save thousands of lives."
Therein lies a question that I think deserves much more attention: Do we really want more growth? Is 'growth' good for Maryland? How would Mr. Rascovar define "growth"?
Does he mean more beautiful fields given over to medical researchers' grotesque 7,000-square-foot homes?
Or does he mean more town homes, more cars, more crowded schools and closed libraries and polluted streams and soup kitchens?
In what way is a "growth industry" beneficial? Are more gridlocked intersections beneficial? Are more strip malls beneficial?
And Mr. Rascovar seems to believe that "saving thousands of lives" is a good idea. Is that really true? What about the quality of those "saved" lives?
I personally think we have enough people in Maryland. In fact, we have far too many people in Maryland today. I would prefer that Maryland's tobacco blood money be used to encourage beneficial growth in Florida or Egypt or China (or on the moon?).
Kirk S. Nevin
Tobacco settlement is a Pyrrhic victory
Although Gov. Parris N. Glendening may be gloating over the state's receiving several billion dollars from the tobacco companies ("Signing tobacco deal was the easy part," Nov. 25 editorial), it was a Pyrrhic victory for Maryland. In actuality, those companies dictated the terms of their "defeat."
Sure, Joe Camel got the boot. Selective outdoor advertising will be eliminated and distribution of free samples curtailed. State and local jurisdictions may, without interference by the companies, enact laws limiting access to tobacco products by youngsters. Other less meaningful provisions are also included.
The states were given such a limited time to analyze the multipage document that no one at this point, except the companies, realizes the extent to which loopholes exist.
Any reference to the addictive, harmful effects of nicotine? Not a syllable as far as we can determine. Attorney General Joseph Curran, to his credit, raised a hesitant voice, but his was a lone complaint crying out in the wilderness.
To recoup the billions doled out to the states, the tobacco companies will raise the price of a pack of cigarettes by as much as 45 cents.
Holy smoke! Won't they go down in economic flames? In the past, even a proposed tax of three or four cents evoked outcries of financial ruin. Don't bet on it.
Pub Date: 12/02/98