Schaefer's contributions often ignoredThere's been good...

the Forum

April 08, 1991

Schaefer's contributions often ignored

There's been good news and bad news about Gov. William Donald Schaefer. The trivial bad news - about his impatience, intensity and sensitivities is featured repeatedly in the media. The good news is either subordinated or ignored, although it affects our daily lives.

As mayor, governor and patriot, Schaefer is good news. He organized and rallied this city's leadership behind its spectacular rebirth and was the guiding spirit behind the internationally celebrated Inner Harbor.

He preserved the state's highest bond rating which only seven states share, and its No. 1 rating by Financial Management

magazine for "top-notch competent management." He has made record investments in schools, colleges, hospitals, housing, social programs and savings and loan rescues, without raising taxes or borrowing at tax time.

It is news that Schaefer won the state earned income tax credit to help working people, exemption from all state income taxes for those below the poverty level and the allowing of heads of households (usually single parents) the same benefits as those filing joint returns. He appointed a top-flight commission that produced a plan for assuring a fair, equitable, sensible tax system. It is good news that his dream of a new stadium is coming true without a penny of taxes from all of us who will benefit from this asset.

Maryland is fortunate indeed to have such a governor, and most of us outside the media know it. Let's not hold him responsible for current national crises that he never made but is doing his best to address.

Charles M. Holub


In hoax waters

William A. Miller (Forum, March 1) refers to "The Bathtub Hoax and Other Blasts and Bravos," a collection of newspaper columns written chiefly in the 1920s by Baltimore's most unflappable maverick, H. L. Mencken. The Sage lifted Millard Fillmore (1850-53) from obscurity to distinction as the president who installed the first bathtub in the White House.

Mencken wrote his "bathtub hoax" in 1917 as a burlesque history. But what he intended as a lighthearted paper caper turned out instead to be read and accepted all over the map as statement of fact, turning up in reference books, encyclopedias, even in medical and scholarly journals, all to Mencken's amazement.

Is the "hoax" still alive today? It is indeed. For example, on the anniversary of Fillmore's birthday, Jan. 7, Willard Scott of television's "Today" show identified Fillmore as the president who had installed the first bathtub in the White House.

Wells Mears


Better government

The argument offered by The Evening Sun editorial of April in support of smaller councilmanic districts in Baltimore County applies with equal cogency to legislative redistricting for the House of Delegates.

While most of the 141 members of the House are elected in three-member districts, there are currently eight two-member delegate districts and 14 single-member districts. These smaller districts not only forestall the dilution of the voting strength of minorities but also, by creating smaller campaign areas, can significantly reduce the impact of money in political campaigns and offer greater opportunity for less affluent candidates to get elected.

Single-member districts offer the additional benefit of providing direct accountability between a single representative and his or her constituents and precluding the intra-district rivalry among legislators that sometimes works as an impediment to constructive legislative action.

John Leopold


The writer is a former member of the Maryland General 6 Assembly.

Attack crime

Americans are sick and tired of hearing that there simply isn't anything more that can be done to lessen the threat of criminals on our streets. We've been told that there is not enough money to build prisons, but our state recently wasted a $400 million surplus.

Just this session the governor wanted to spend money on an "assault weapon" ban when FBI statistics and Maryland crime reports show that there is not a crime problem with these guns. The FBI reports show that criminals still prefer concealable handguns, knives, blunt objects or their bare hands to commit crimes.

Thankfully, there were many in our legislature who stood strong against the pressure of the governor and paid attention to the facts. This bill was simply a waste of taxpayers' money and nothing but harassment of gun-owning, law-abiding citizens. Everyday we are more and more vulnerable to be assaulted, raped and/or killed, as our legislature continues to attack guns and not crime.

Darlene Harper

The writer is chairperson of Women for the Right to Keep and = Bear Arms.

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