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The Baltimore Sun

O'Malley delivers same old medicine

Many people in Maryland are right to dislike Gov. Martin O'Malley ("Taxes fuel discontent," Jan. 13).

He was elected under the guise of the now too-often-used catchphrase "change," yet with light-speed (in political time) he brought more of that same thing for which the Democrats are famous - higher taxes.

I expect a governor to deal with thorny issues such as the state's failed deregulation of electricity.

But instead, Mr. O'Malley simply chose to pile tax upon tax on the very people who put him where he is. And he seems to have carried his feuds from his time as mayor of Baltimore into the governorship, which take time away from the people's business.

The most surprising thing from the poll, however, is that Mr. O'Malley's numbers are so low in a state that is markedly pro-Democratic.

I am afraid Mr. O'Malley is just one more arrogant politician.

But this one needs to be recalled from office before he hurts us more.

Harry DeBusk


Public understands tax hikes very well

In The Sun's article "Taxes fuel discontent" (Jan. 13), pollster Steven L. Raabe is quoted as saying that Gov. Martin O'Malley "needs to go out and continue to communicate on this issue with the public because they do not understand what happened."

To the contrary: The public understands perfectly what happened. But Mr. O'Malley overestimated his ability to deceive the public.

After he repeals the tax on software businesses, the governor should repeal the 6 percent sales tax.

Perhaps then an unbiased pollster might show a rise in Mr. O'Malley's approval ratings.

Tom Ross


Governor raises revenue state needs

When Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was governor and Martin O'Malley was mayor of Baltimore, I strongly resented Mr. O'Malley's constant criticism of Mr. Ehrlich. I knew Mr. Ehrlich as a sincere, honest man who had Maryland as his first priority and thought Mr. O'Malley just wanted his job.

When Mr. O'Malley defeated Mr. Ehrlich and became governor, my feeling was, "OK, if you're so smart, let's see how you do" ("Taxes fuel discontent," Jan. 13).

Seeing Mr. O'Malley as governor for just a short time has been a wake-up call for me. He's good.

Mr. Ehrlich is a really nice guy, but he was in over his head. Governor O'Malley has much better managerial skills and is a good politician.

Yes, he wants to raise taxes, but let's get real: The state faces a shortfall, and we need schools, road repairs, bridge repairs, etc.

Maryland is our home - and we really need good schools, roads and bridges in good shape, and so on. We need more money in the budget.

If you see Mr. O'Malley wasting money, that would be the time to get on his case. But you can't blame him for wanting to pay the bills and make necessary repairs.

Let's tighten our belt and put our state back on an even keel.

Jo Magrogan


Do we want leaders to take tough stands?

I suppose it isn't surprising that Marylanders are so upset about new taxes, although I still find the response in the recent poll disappointing ("Taxes fuel discontent," Jan. 13).

I moved to Maryland 11 years ago from a state where the sales tax was 6 percent. In all honesty, the tax cut I received when I moved here made absolutely no difference in my life.

More troubling for me, however, is the question of what Marylanders are looking for in a governor.

Do we want a leader who will address difficult issues and make the hard decisions, even if they are unpopular?

Or do we want someone who will squander his four years in office by using that time as an extended audition for a gig as a radio personality?

Galen White


Democratic voters get just deserts

Enough with the whining about the low poll numbers. The Democratic voters of Maryland got exactly what they deserved ("Taxes fuel discontent," Jan. 13). Unfortunately, those of us who knew better got taken along for the ride.

But fear not: With so much time left until the next election, The Sun has plenty of time to inundate us with puff pieces about Gov. Martin O'Malley and get those poll numbers back up.

J. L. Welling


Test addicts also for mental illness

I couldn't agree more with the quote from Dr. J. Ramsay Farah, president of the Maryland Society of Addiction Medicine, supporting testing for the abuse of buprenorphine: "If you don't look for something you're not going to find it. You need to look for it" ("'Bupe' to draw closer scrutiny," Jan. 11).

And according to a report from the Drug and Alcohol Services Information System released in December, "Many individuals who have a substance use problem also have a co-occurring psychiatric disorder. Previous research has shown that people with both a substance use disorder and a co-occurring psychiatric disorder were more likely to use multiple drugs and to have more economic and social problems than those without a co-occurring psychiatric disorder."

My question is: How effectively are we screening and assessing these individuals receiving buprenorphine to look for a co-occurring mental illness?

And would treating the mental illness of those who have both problems simultaneously with their drug problem make a difference?

Patricia Bayly Miedusiewski


The writer is a registered nurse.

Sprinter's sentence is much too harsh

I think it is absurd that Marion Jones is receiving jail time for her first offense ("6 months for Jones," Jan. 12).

In Baltimore and many other cities in this nation, one can deal drugs and not get such a draconian sentence.

I think Ms. Jones is a sacrificial lamb for people like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

Ms. Jones is certainly no angel. However, sending her to jail accomplishes nothing in the interest of public safety and everything in the interest of making headlines.

Ray O'Brocki


Doubts still exist on origin of species

Why do people keep writing letters noting that evolution exists ("Science endorses evolution," Jan. 12)? Is it because they are trying to pick an argument they can win?

Of course evolution exists. Everyone knows that. But that is not the issue.

The issue is the manipulation of Charles Darwin's ideas in an attempt to extrapolate from the fact of evolution an argument to explain the origin of our species.

There are many significant scientific arguments against this claim.

And indeed, more than 700 scientists have signed a petition questioning "the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life."

Jim Kniss


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