Our ShameEditor: When I learn about libraries closing...


June 12, 1991

Our Shame

Editor: When I learn about libraries closing because federal funds have been cut off and shelters closing for lack of money and everywhere people are losing their jobs, I feel saddened and angry.

Here we are, the richest country in the world, but our citizens are not willing to pay for essential services. That's why we don't have universal health insurance, which most industrial countries do have.

All that most U.S. citizens seem to care about is not to have to pay more taxes. And our Congress refuses to accept its responsibility to vote the money necessary for social programs -- they wouldn't be re-elected if they did! Money seems to be the only value which energizes America. Greed defines it best. Democracy doesn't seem to work for all the people. Shame on us.

Mary Louise Bolz.


Never There

Editor: The shot has been fired. The Lida Lee Tall school lay mortally wounded on Memorial Day. Gov. William Donald Schaefer, with one stroke of the pen, wiped out over 125 years of tradition and education.

If it is true that Lida Lee Tall is not meeting its mission, the fault lies directly with the governor and his hand-picked board of directors who are responsible for developing and implementing through the staff what they consider the mission of the school. The truth is that the staff and parents have been hamstrung by an ineffective board of directors.

Lida Lee Tall is not Harborplace or the new stadium. It does not bring in visible dollars to the state, but its effects, though intangible at times, are felt statewide.

The governor, who has jumped in the aquarium, strolled through Harborplace, sat through ball games and visited constituents, has never spent one minute at Lida Lee Tall to see for himself what was being done there, although being invited many times to do so.

I ask, how can he make a decision on hearsay?

Henry Ivan. Baltimore.

Five Problems

Editor: President Bush's plan for a Middle East arms control system is well-intentioned but, unfortunately, does not address the heart of the problem. Israel is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons unless it is assured of peace with its Arab neighbors. Similarly, the Arab states, and in particular Syria, are unlikely to give up their chemical weapons unless their main problems with Israel are settled. For this reason, treating arms control alone is like treating the symptoms of a disease without treating the disease itself.

Indeed, there are five interrelated problems in the Middle East, none of which can be dealt with separately.

* Lebanon, which may again become a flashpoint between Syria and Israel unless an Israeli-Syrian peace agreement can be reached.

* The increasingly severe water problems of the entire region which require regional cooperation -- and hence an overall peace settlement -- before they can be solved.

* The Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

* Israel's conflict with its Arab neighbors.

* The problems of conventional and nuclear arms control.

Dealing with one of these problems in isolation of the others will not be efficacious. Indeed what is needed is an overall conference for peace and security in the Middle East modeled on the CSCE process in Europe in which all five of these problems can be dealt with under one overarching framework.

# Robert O. Freedman.


Strange Bills

Editor: The Sun's editorial, ''Marylanders on Trade,'' May 23, rightly described me as ''xenophobic.'' But it is not strange people I fear. Rather, I fear ''strange'' legislative bills that do not 00 benefit the United States of America as much as they do other countries which have their own best interests at heart, not ours.

Such is the case with the recent fast-track bill passed by the House and Senate, which may prove to be the quickest way to the unemployment line.

The principle underlying the ''expanded'' GATT negotiations, the Mexico free-trade agreement and the already passed Canadian free-trade agreement is that any law of a nation which could be interpreted as impeding the free flow of goods and services across international borders will be subject to challenge by any of the signatories to the treaty before a secret international panel.

The burden of proof will fall on the nation defending its law, not on the challenging nation. That is the opposite of our Constitution, which says we are innocent until proven guilty.

This GATT principle strikes at the heart of several American constitutional guarantees:

1) The right of citizens to petition their government. The rules under which the U.S. will be expected to operate will be under review of a foreign rule-making body meeting in secret, with no appeal to its decisions.

2) The right of judicial review of challenges to state and federal regulations will be given up. Instead, foreign commissions composed of international lawyers meeting in secret will be empowered to meet on the ''suitability'' of U.S. law, not the constitutionality of our law.

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