Vote 'em OutEditor: For years I have read with resentment...


November 02, 1990

Vote 'em Out

Editor: For years I have read with resentment about the perks, privileges and junkets of our elected officials, at almost every level.

The attitude of Congress resembles that of a royal court. Its members continue to accord to themselves increasing benefits, including a shockingly generous pension program, luxurious surroundings and multitudes of free or minimal cost services.

Even a threatened recession has failed to curb these, as evidenced by the proposed and the past year's budget.

Let's vote 'em out, and then gain legislation to limit the number of terms in office.

Gilbert Fine.


Safety First

Editor: In most cases I ignore television campaign commercials. They are, basically, boring. But one such commercial stands out among the rest. It happens to be one made by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

All in all, the commercial is very well made, as far as advertisements go. It's very beautiful with the sun shimmering on the bay. The governor talks about his participation in getting the bay cleanup started and, to be honest, he's right about deserving credit.

But it isn't the words he is speaking that has my attention. It's what he is doing in these commercials that I am concerned about. Simply put, the governor is fishing. He's in a very small rowboat, presumably in the bay, fishing. Fishing is fine; it shows what a real down-to-earth person he is. But you have to pay close attention to the man in the rowboat.

Where is his life-jacket? He's wearing a fishing vest but not a life-jacket.

Wasn't this the same man who pushed for boating safety? What kind of role model is he when he can't follow simple safe boating rules?

It's just a commercial, you say? No, it's an example for all of us: just because the guy's famous doesn't mean he's right.

Perhaps I do look too deeply into commercials. But I feel that the governor should set an example to all of us, especially to the younger generation. If he doesn't have to follow rules of safety, then why should we?

Put a life-jacket on, Mr. Schaefer! Practice what you preach.

Lenora C. Combs.


Soviet Progress

Editor: While Kenneth Lasson is correct in calling it ''remarkable'' that a Soviet citizen could be imprisoned for anti-Semitic remarks, the continuing censorship of free speech in the Soviet Union is a troubling normality.

There can be no sane defense of hatred which threatens to lead to violence. But the jailing of Pamyat leader Konstantin Smirnov-Ostashvili can only be a suspicious victory for Soviet Jews. They know all to well that what can and cannot be said publicly rests solely on the whims of whoever holds power. For all the progress of perestroika, the silence of one group in favor of another is in no way indicative of progressive steps toward full democracy.

It is strange for Mr. Lasson to lament that the United States is one of the few democracies which has no laws punishing individuals or groups for verbally expressed racial hatred. The Bill of Rights allows our society to confront those who advocate hate-inspired repression, with the most powerful weapon we have, freedom.

Rather than creating laws denoting who can and cannot enjoy the right to free speech, the Soviet people are in desperate need of a new constitution and bill of rights similar to our own. Only when their leaders give up their strangle hold on personal liberties and entrust the principles of freedom to an institution such as a truly democratic and representative parliament, then will words do no harm.

Eugene J. Patron.

New York.

Cap Results

Editor: As a survivor of the great taxpayers' revolt of California about 10 years ago, I feel impelled to try jumping in front of the speeding train that is bearing down on Baltimore County right now in the form of the tax cap proposal.

California's famous Proposition 13 mandated an immediate one-third reduction in all property taxes. But the momentary exhilaration of showing ''them'' was quickly replaced by the realization that ''them'' was ''us.'' For my family, the savings amounted to about $360 a year. Within months after the election we received a notice that due to the decreased tax revenues the school system would no longer be able to provide the big yellow school bus. If we wished to continue the service, there would be a charge. At $190 for each of our two daughters, we bid our little windfall a fond farewell.

From personal experience I recall two other results of our short-lived triumph. The town library soon displayed a notice on the door announcing its curtailed hours. No more quiet evenings in the stacks for me. And the little county park beside the bay where I often stopped for a few minutes to watch birds and boats drift by -- this became a $4 treat because of the new parking fee.

The well-intentioned residents of Baltimore County need to think carefully about who would be most affected if county services were either curtailed or sported new price tags after election day.

Adine Panitch.


Shocked by Threats to Shock Trauma

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