The Baltimore Sun

Greedy borrowers, lenders not victims

The remark by Dan Demeria, the owner of Potomac Heritage Homes, that any one of us could have been caught up in the mortgage crisis reflects the kind of ridiculous rationalization of greed and lack of simple financial common sense that we have seen from an alarming number of mortgage bankers and from greedy, spendthrift borrowers who now, absurdly, call themselves victims ("Short, sharp fall," Feb. 22).

Where was their sense of personal responsibility? Why should careful, budget-conscious mortgage-holders assist these individuals in any way?

The people who are really being unfairly adversely affected are those who, through no fault of their own, are being squeezed into foreclosure because of job cuts and the fallout of the greed.

I say, let's look to help those victims.

Paul Belz, Timonium

Use stimulus funds to advance Red Line

Could someone explain to me why stimulus funds available for Maryland transportation projects couldn't be used to put the proposed east-west Red Line light rail on the fast track?

I think the transportation projects outlined in the editorial "Road to recovery" (Feb. 19) are mainly worthy ones. But we need to spend these funds in ways that will at least alert those who still accept the complacent status quo that happy motoring and universal car ownership are not in our future.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

Chance to remove new E-ZPass fee

Now that the state has received a $350 million infusion of federal cash for transportation projects ("O'Malley poised to spend $350 million of stimulus on transportation projects," Feb. 18), the governor should get the Maryland Transportation Authority's board to remove the $18-a-year service fee it just applied to each E-ZPass user.

Mike Collins, Annapolis

Hamas' attacks caused the conflict

The writer of the letter "Israel's aggression is real impediment" (Feb. 23) suggests that Israel is responsible for the deaths of Palestinians in the recent retaliation strikes by Israel in Gaza.

I would pose a question to the writer: Had Hamas never sent any rockets into Israel in the time leading up to the retaliation, how many Palestinians would have died from Israeli retaliatory strikes?

The answer is zero.

Kenneth E. Gingery Jr., Millsboro, Del.

Curb malpractice, not damage awards

A doctor complained in a recent letter about efforts in the legislature to change Maryland's medical malpractice laws ("Malpractice rollback a windfall for lawyers," letters, Feb. 22). He is concerned about more malpractice claims driving up malpractice insurance rates.

The solution to high malpractice insurance premiums is less malpractice, not limits on compensating injured patients.

Studies using malpractice payment data from the National Practitioner Data Bank show that the majority of dollars paid out for malpractice result from the negligent actions of the very small proportion of physicians who face multiple malpractice payments.

Rather than trying to restrict injured patients from being compensated, the letter writer and other physicians should demand that the Maryland Board of Physicians restrict or revoke the licenses of physicians with a record of multiple malpractice awards.

That not only would reduce malpractice claims and insurance premiums but, more important, would also protect the public from the few bad physicians causing most of the problem.

Robert E. Oshel, Silver Spring

The writer is a former associate director of the Division of Practitioner Data Banks at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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