Legislative 'snakes' in Annapolis
There is a saying in Annapolis that when the weather warms up in early spring the "snakes" come crawling from beneath the rocks. This quaint sobriquet is given to those bills which escape from busy committees and come to the floor in the turmoil of the closing days of the session. They are usually disguised by title to do something other than what they appear to do. Such is the case regarding HB 1107, which was enacted by both houses at the end of the session.
This bill was titled as a community colleges bill, but in effect it is a senior citizens bill. There are two kinds of senior citizens bills: those that do for and those that do to. This bill definitely does to instead of for the more than 80,000 seniors who receive fre tuition at our community colleges. Recently, the community colleges decided that free tuition does not include "registration fees," the sales taxes of higher education.
The bill establishes that free tuition does not include the $20 fees which are now being asked and it states that free tuition will be allowed only when course space is available a real "Catch 22" since the colleges will determine when it is economically feasible to allow free tuition for any particular course.
However, our state Constitution gives the governor authority to veto legislation which is unconstitutional or not in the public interest. Our governor has established a public record of caring for the betterment of seniors. I suggest that all seniors affected by this legislation write to Governor Schaefer and urge a veto.
Rosa Lee Blumenthal
The writer represents the 26th Legislative District in the House of Delegates.
The way we were
There was a time when going to the movies was an evening's entertainment. When the movie theater was an attractive, historic building, not a concrete box at the end of the local mall. A time when a film was a "film," and not just a "movie"? It was an enormous, sensational, prolonged cinematic work of art, not a slap-dash, 90-minute flick.
Last night I went to the Senator Theater on York Road. The seats reclined like they do in my living room. The screen was so big and the sound system so good that the film shook me, involved me. I got my money's worth and more.
Baltimore is blessed with three fine movie houses: the Charles Theater, the new Orpheum Theater in Fells Point and the Senator. All three make an attempt to show films that run the gamut from foreign "art" films to little-seen blockbusters of yore that major theater chains avoid. But the Senator is the closest Baltimore comes to a time machine. It is the only theater in the Baltimore/Washington/Virginia area where you can step back in time and see the original versions of the greatest films of our time in all their glorious 70-millimeter resplendence. Like it used to be.
Baltimore I was amused to read that Tim Gilmore, the manager of a 7-Eleven store, was playing a tape of the dulcet tones of the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti singing "O Solo Mio" in order to deter teen-agers from loitering on the store lot.
I have a better suggestion for Mr. Gilmore. Roseanne Barr, screeching the "Star-Spangled Banner" in her inimitable fashion, not only would stop the kids from congregating on his premises but might scare the criminal element away, too!
Better health care
Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia made some important points during his visit to Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health ("$24 billion for access to health care," Evening Sun, April 14). There is no doubt our health care system is in trouble.
Thanks to advertising and the free enterprise system, we have been bombarded with the message that when a health problem occurs, we should run to our local drug store and buy products to stop the pain, gas, itching, insomnia, fatigue and whatever else may be bothering us. We have been taught that we do not see our doctor unless we have a problem that does not respond to over-the-counter remedies. As the senator pointed out, "The emergency room has become the family physician." This can be expected when so many people have insurance that only covers hospital expenses. He also pointed out that approximately half the beds in Hopkins Hospital are occupied by people whose illnesses could have been prevented.
A national health care system may be the answer, but if it is, it's a long way in the future. And there is a lot we can do today. First, we must relearn the definition of health. Pain on a daily basis is not "normal." It is the body telling us there is a problem. The next step is to have the health care administrators and legislators take a non-prejudiced look at chiropractic health care, which is twice as effective at half the cost of medical care for the treatment of non-operable neck and back conditions.
If we are ever to have an efficient and effective health care system, we must minimize the politics of health care and promote access to all types of treatment.