Mortgage bankers support licensing of property appraisers
The Sun's article "Agencies need tools to combat 'flipping' " (Jan. 19) incorrectly stated that the Maryland Association of Mortgage Brokers (MAMB) opposes the recommendation that all Maryland appraisers be licensed.
In fact, MAMB has strongly voiced its support for the licensing of appraisers, in addition to backing continuing education requirements for mortgage brokers.
When The Sun first brought the "flipping" issue to public attention, MAMB immediately contacted a number of key legislators and regulators to recommend that appraisers be licensed and better regulated.
Further, the association wrote both the U.S. attorney and Maryland's attorney general to offer assistance in their investigations of certain cases associated with "flipping."
As was pointed out at that time, the primary issue is the falsification of documents that inflate property values given by appraisers, and the failure to fully and honestly disclose all appropriate information.
This association abhors such behavior. Unethical individuals committing such acts not only hurt homeowners, they harm ethical professionals and might ultimately cause legal changes that could adversely affect many people's ability to become homeowners.
Licensing of appraisers and strong discipline against anyone who commits fraud in the mortgage process is needed.
The potential licensing cost increase to appraisers should prove insignificant, in the grand scheme of things, and would go toward protecting the home buyers.
Thomas C. Shaner
The writer is executive director of the Maryland Association of Mortgage Brokers.
More light rail links to city are badly needed
I commend The Sun for its excellent recent series of editorials concerning mass transit in the Baltimore area ("Baltimore region trails in state transit funding," Jan 23).
What a critical need this area has for a real commitment to improved and expanded rail transit.
Buses have their place, but only rail can provide the speed and dependability needed to meet mass transit needs, serve the entire metropolitan area and encourage public transit ridership.
Subway systems such as the Washington Metro system are nice, but seem to be too expensive these days.
Light rail lines appear to be a good alternative and have proven themselves viable in cities such as Portland, Ore. and San Diego, Calif.
But to think of Baltimore's Metro and Light Rail lines as a system is a joke. And, although additional rail links within the city are needed, I would like to emphasize the need for more radial lines.
I live in Howard County, and my wife and I attend the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts and other events in Baltimore frequently.
The only option we have is to drive. But U.S. 40 is slow. Interstate 95 is out of the way and Interstate 70 was never completed into Baltimore City.
If a rapid transit line were available, we would certainly use it. More importantly, many residents of our area who work in the city need and would welcome such a link for daily commuting.
Perhaps Baltimore's new mayor will embrace the rapid transit cause and a new initiative will come to life.
Restrictive regulations keep the disabled at home
Recent reforms signed by President Clinton have eased the burden somewhat for persons with disabilities who want to work. But these reforms do not go far enough ("Law guards benefits for working disabled," Dec. 18).
Currently Social Security regulations stipulate that if a disabled worker's earnings exceed $700 a month, he or she loses valuable benefits.
This could discourage ready and willing workers from seeking work.
In a time when employers are struggling to find employees and the unemployment rate is lower than it's been in many years, many persons with disabilities do not share in our prosperity.
Many disabled individuals remain unemployed because of these regulations.
Most of them want to work and can become valued employees. I hope that changes in the law will permitthem to do so.
Larry J. Hankin
Prosecuting Tripp, state takes stand for rule of law
I'm no fan of President Clinton and find his affair with Monica Lewinsky and the publicity about it disgusting.
But Linda Tripp thumbed her nose at the law when she illegally taped her conversations with Ms. Lewinsky ("Notes on Tripp mostly sour," Jan. 22).
Ms. Tripp totally disregarded the law because she had an axe to grind.
I am encouraged to see that Maryland will stand up for our laws when they are deliberately broken, despite the fact that that this action may be unpopular.
I hope the prosecution of Linda Tripp is successful.
Doctors overlook heart disease when examining women
The Sun's article, "Subtle signs of heart disease in women are often missed" (Jan. 26) was scary and absolutely true.
Both my husband and I recently recently went to meet our new doctor and have a checkup, after we had both been without health insurance for approximately one year.
Both our family backgrounds include histories of heart disease, of which we made the doctor aware. But my husband was scheduled for an EKG and I was scheduled for a mammogram.
I haven't had an EKG since I was six years old.
It seems to me that doctors are under the impression that as long as a woman's breasts are OK, her heart must be OK.
Kathy Jo Oswinkle