Ways to guarantee health care at home

It is terrific that the Citizens' Health Care Working Group created by Congress has called for health care for all Americans ("Guarantee some health coverage, panel tells Congress," June 9).

We at the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative have a Health Care for All plan that would accomplish this goal in an economically sound way.

Like the Citizens' Health Care Working Group, we have made this plan our long-term goal and have also set out specific short-term goals to achieve along the way.

We have made important progress by enacting the landmark Fair Share Health Care Law, which requires large corporations to pay their fair share into a state fund to cover the uninsured if they do not spend enough money on health care for employees.

Our next proposal will be the Healthy Maryland Initiative, which would raise the state's tobacco tax by $1 per pack to save 50,000 children from the horrors of tobacco addiction and provide health care for 50,000 uninsured Marylanders.

The Citizens' Health Care Working Group specifically recommended the use of tobacco tax increases to fund health care expansion. The group recognizes that tobacco tax increases are the best way to fund more health care because they also save lives by reducing teenage smoking.

We will be making the Healthy Maryland Initiative a top issue in this year's state elections by asking all the candidates to endorse it and then educating voters about how the candidates stand.

The voters of Maryland, who strongly support this proposal, will be watching.

Vincent DeMarco


The writer is president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

Energy plan insults voters' intelligence

I will gladly contribute to or actively campaign for anyone wishing to run against any member of the Maryland legislature who voted for the "Re-election Insurance Bill of 2006" ("Rate bill passes," June 15).

It is an insult to the intelligence of every Marylander that our elected representatives believe they can pass this kind of partisan legislation and suggest that it will help working people.

The electorate of Maryland deserves everything it gets if it can't wake up and elect those who will represent the real wishes of the citizens and not pander to the siren call of lifetime employment in the House of Delegates or state Senate.

Until November, the only recourse we have as citizens is to open our wallets and close our minds to the banality of what goes on under the leadership of House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.

Michael E. Barrett


PSC didn't protect the public interest

I read a letter accusing some legislators of being hypocrites because they want to fire the members of the Public Service Commission ("Democrats betray hypocrisy on hiring," June 15).

E-mail evidence shows that PSC Chairman Kenneth D. Schisler was working closely with industry lobbyists to protect business interests, not the public ("PSC head, lobbyist shared strategy," March 18).

Clearly these are not political firings.

After being put in a position of public trust, Mr. Schisler betrayed it.

What part of "Public" Service Commission do these commissioners not understand?

Don Forgione

Ellicott City

Even uncaged hens lead difficult lives

Eggs from hens kept in sheds or warehouses represent a growing industry niche attracting consumers who are concerned about factory farming ("Consumers flock to buy eggs from 'cage-free' hens," June 11).

However, even non-cage-created eggs come from hens that endure intensive crowding and painful debeaking, and it is standard practice to kill off older hens and male chicks.

In addition, whether or not the hens are caged, egg production is a leading source of water pollution in sensitive areas such as the Chesapeake Bay.

Instead of focusing on how animals are raised, consumers interested in where their food comes from should ask why animals are brought into existence to be treated as commodities.

Bill Dollinger


The writer is Washington director of Friends of Animals.

City benefits district a disappointment

As one of the plaintiffs who has sued the Charles Village Community Benefits District (CVCBD), I would like to comment on the letters "Benefits district offers key services" and "Suit seeks to cancel will of the majority" (June 12).

The author of the first letter writes that CVCBD provides "valuable safety, sanitation, economic development and marketing services in greater Charles Village."

The fact is that a benefits district that tries to do too many things will do none of them well. And CVCBD was originally sold primarily as providing safety patrols 24/7; it presently provides very minimal safety patrols weekdays during the daytime.

The writer of the second letter claims that our lawsuit is an effort to thwart the will of the majority.

But those who spent $30,000 of our city tax money in 1994 to sell CVCBD told us that there would be a second referendum in 1998, and some residents voted for CVCBD based on that promise.

All three City Council members who represent pieces of CVCBD area have supported a referendum this year, but we are told that state law prohibits a referendum. So how does the letter writer know what the will of the majority is?

In short, CVCBD was approved originally based on lies from its proponents, and it continues as a "pilot project" that has failed to fulfill its proponents' promises. It should be abolished, and that is why we have filed our lawsuit.

Stephen J. Gewirtz


Promise and pitfalls of the city schools

Liz Bowie and the editors of The Sun have given us another thought-provoking article on the city schools ("Pupils' futures show disparity in city," June 11).

It is encouraging to learn of the good things that are being done by dedicated people, yet discouraging to know that these improvements aren't more widespread.

Thanks for continuing to inform us.

Lynda Burton


Editorials evoke charms of music

To be able to open to the editorial page of The Sun on a Sunday morning and find not just one but two editorials regarding subjects close to my heart was a cause for joy ("Keeping sound," June 11, and "Yakkity-yak," June 11).

The sound of music represented in these two pieces was masterfully evoked.

Thank you for informing your readers about the need for leadership in the offices of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the need to enhance the organization's bottom line.

And thank you for illustrating for your readers the delight of listening in the first hour of the day to the dawn chorus of our summer and resident birds.

Edith Maynard


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