Campaign ReformsEditor: As expected, The Sun's editorial...


June 25, 1991

Campaign Reforms

Editor: As expected, The Sun's editorial page came down on the side of big-money contributors by smearing the issue of public campaign financing as an ''incumbent's relief bill.'' Never mind that Bill HR 1177 has provisions essential to better government.

One way in which it will help challengers as well as incumbents is that it will reduce the necessity for candidates before and after elections to grovel before and do the bidding of big contributors like Charles Keating, the S & L owner. He had congressmen putting the heat on federal regulators in an S & L failure which will now cost the taxpayers over one billion dollars.

Another way in which HR 1177 will help all of us is the reduction of the inordinate amount of time challengers and incumbents alike must spend on fund raising. Both would have more time to devote to trying to solve the deep problems our country faces.

The Sun reports that only one in five taxpayers earmarks one dollar for the presidential campaign fund, and therefore the fund is not needed. It is also true that in this country a miserably low percentage of citizens bothers to vote compared to the voting record in comparable democracies. Is the franchise then not needed?

M. R. Brown. Baltimore.

Bay Arithmetic

Editor: Your June 13 article on the proposed three-year moratorium on oystering brings to light once again the strange arithmetic of the Chesapeake. Again we see a tiny minority claiming the absolute right to exploit the bay until the very last oyster is sold. The other five million Marylanders should have no say in the matter at all, according to the members of this exclusive club.

And think just how incredibly exclusive it is.

The total oyster catch last year was said to be worth $10.1 million at dockside. Regardless of the claims made by the fisheries camp, this volume surely could not support more than 1,000 oystermen. At that figure they would each have averaged only $10,100 in gross income from their line of work over a six or seven month season. From this they must subtract expenses of gasoline, boat maintenance, labor, etc.

Clearly, oystering is an activity confined to a very small group. It is this same little group which also claims the right to catch all the crabs, fish and eels humanly possible. This same little group fished the shad and the rockfish to near-extinction, never relenting until stopped by law and complaining loudly when it finally did.

Now the oyster catch is down to one percent of its former size and still its members claim the right to catch all they can find. Could their greed possibly be more obvious? Could their utter disregard for the long-term health of the bay be more flagrant?

Are we expected to permit this handful of men to continue their abuse of the resources of the Chesapeake simply because their forefathers abused them? Plainly, the husbandry of a stable oyster population cannot be left to this group. It was under their stewardship that the magnificent "great shellfish bay" has come to its present sorry state.

It is abundantly clear that government must act to save this tiny group of short-sighted people from themselves and to protect the rights of the other five million Marylanders. Remember us, fearless lawmakers? Out on the Chesapeake our votes don't seem to count for much, but in the voting booth they add up just fine.

James W. O'Reilly. Monkton.

Shifting Sands

Editor: Ellen Goodman is perceptive and of the keenest sensibilities. However, her June 14 column, ''The New Father Is About Love, Not Money,'' managed what must surely be a new high in solecistic comedy.

A Washington cabbie, having our columnist as an audience of one on a recent hot afternoon, opined thoughtfully, ''One thing about my wife, she's a good provider.'' Now, the more Ms. Goodman ran that sentence around in her mind, the more, she tells us, it occurred to her that she rarely hears ''that kind of kudo to men anymore.''

Kudos, a lifting from the Greek, is quite singular already, and Ms. Goodman has committed verbal butchery in amputating the final consonant, which is not the inflectional s used to form the plural of most English nouns.

As has been sagely observed, the shifting sands of pronunciation claim many a victim: kudos should be pronounced, but almost never is now, with the second syllable to rhyme with the first of dossier; a correct pronunciation would be highly suggestive of the bound nature of the s.

Herbert T. Fee Jr. Towson.

Too Much Privilege

Editor: Thanks to reporter Doug Birch, for having the courage to discuss the last bastion of privilege, the perquisite of all perquisites, VIP parking. What a vast, untapped source of income for a struggling city. What a novel idea, that metered parking be available for Baltimore citizens who need to conduct business with city agencies and departments!

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