The case against a gas tax hike
I disagree with Robert E. Latham that a 10-cent increase in the state gas tax is needed for better roads and safer bridges (Forum, June 17). What is needed is better use of the present, and adequate, taxes designated for these purposes.
Why does it cost Maryland taxpayers more than those in other states for highways? The reason is that our highway taxes have been diverted to other purposes the general fund, the new marine terminal, the Metro system and the new light rail line, just to name a few.
State transportation officials have already stated that they will go ahead with rail, bus and airport improvements in return for passage of a proposed new tax bill. These means of transportation should be self-supporting.
Let's hope our legislators remember the anti-tax sentiment expressed by voters in the 1990 elections. Maryland is already near the top of the list of states in taxation, but our "do-it-now" administration will soon make us No. 1.
Gays and AIDS
In his June 18 letter to the editor, Richard L. Lelonek objects to AIDS education and assigns responsibility for the spread of AIDS to gays and drug users. As a gay man, I can attest to the fact that within our community there is no education effort to inform us of the risks we face in light of the preponderance of AIDS among our peers.
While Mr. Lelonek is content to blame all gays for the existence of AIDS, this is futile. It is far more useful for all concerned to educate gay men, in a culturally sensitive manner, about the risks they take in the pursuit of intimacy.
Unfortunately, voices such as Mr. Lelonek's are heard more often than those of our own gay bureaucrats. A case in point is the utter silence of the Mayor's Task Force on Gay and Lesbian Issues regarding AIDS. As long as we gays are silent on the subject of AIDS, we will be blamed for something we didn't do by people who have anything but our best interests at heart. Unless the mayor or his task force can elucidate accurately the relationship between being gay and being at risk for AIDS, we gay men will have to consider voting for someone who can.
There is nothing for which Jews or the state of Israel need apologize. A people that has suffered unbelievable agony and that has been deprived of the rights that other nations demand for themselves owes no one an explanation.
Africans insist upon the blackness of their states, and exclusiveness of culture and identity is the foundation of scores of nations. Who apologizes? The Zionist state is Judaism, the need for a land of the Jews where people can escape holocausts and build a distinctive Jewishness that will flourish. The very essence of Jewish longing to return to their homeland after nearly 2,000 years of exile is the belief that the Jews are a separate and distinct people. In a world in which we recognize the right of self-determination everywhere, who can possibly challenge Jewish rights?
Moreover, Jews constitute a unique people in that we are at one and the same time a religion and a nation, a religio-nation. Jews suffered unparalleled horrors and massacres in their wandering in foreign lands. Jews knew no peace in any country in which their numbers grew large and their quality shone through. Jews were burned, drowned, cut to pieces, inquisitioned to death, crusaded to death, Islamized to death, pogromed to death, and Auschwitzed to death.
We Jews learned a bitter lesson: It is not good to be a stranger. Never be a minority. Determined not to be killed off, we came home to the land we had lost twice before. We will not lose it a third time ` through war of peace. Never again!
Why a new name?
Wouldn't it be a dishonor to discard the name "Memorial Stadium?"
Let us keep the name and honor all of our veterans and others deserving of the recognition. There could be a plaque under the name "Memorial Stadium, 1991" to add new names each year. The stone from the old stadium could be removed and set in the new one. Couldn't it?
Worse than Nixon
For years I was convinced that Richard Nixon's administrations were without a doubt the sleaziest in the history of this country. But now upon observing the two terms of Ronald Reagan and what we have been subjected to by George Bush, I have changed my mind. Nixon's tenure pales by comparison when you see the chicanery which goes on dialy in the current administration.
The one single act which prompted this letter was the incredible arrogance displayed by John Sununu on June 16 on the David Brinkley show on ABC. Sam Donaldson asked if the chief of staff required White House clearance for use of official government transportation. Mr. Sununu's reply was: "I don't require clearance from anyone." This is the type of answer and attitude we have come to expect of members of the Bush White House.
Kenneth W. DeVaughn
Late last week, the White House imposed strict travel rules on ? Sununu.