RationalizingEditor: I enjoyed reading Ana...


July 07, 1991


Editor: I enjoyed reading Ana Veciana-Suarez's comments (Opinion * Commentary, June 21) about the Virginia woman who used PMS as a defense when charged with drunken driving.

I consider myself a feminist and am disappointed that women are using PMS as an excuse for unacceptable behavior. I believe most women have experienced that teary, bloating, bitchy time in a cycle which also blesses us with the ability to have children.

Too many of us, men and women, are rationalizing our acts of violence, negative behavior and irresponsibility, and everyone is suffering for it. We must come to the point of being accountable for ourselves or life for all of us will have few joyous times.

With responsibility comes freedom!

Patricia R. Elliott.



Editor: I have often enjoyed Barry Rascovar's Sunday morning scoldings of the governor and General Assembly leadership for their pretty squabbling and boyish behavior. But now I wonder if Mr. Rascovar isn't also losing perspective. His June 22 column takes a very cheap shot at the House Appropriations Committee for trying to save some of the state's housing programs for the poor and homeless from a devastating 25 percent budget cut.

Mr. Rascovar calls this appeasement of advocates for the poor. He thinks the money should be saved for more pressing state obligations and future emergencies.

More pressing than the current emergencies of homeless parents forced to place their children in foster care because they can not obtain affordable housing or even temporary shelter?

More pressing than the emergencies faced by families with children who are being lead poisoned by their homes but can not move because there is no lead safe housing available?

More pressing than the threat of eviction faced by families whose rent and utilities consume more than 70 percent of monthly income, or the threat of foreclosure faced by families who have suffered layoffs in the current recession?

What about the mentally ill living on the streets after being discharged from state hospitals? Or the elderly homeowners living in cold houses because they cannot afford to fix a broken furnace?

These are the people that the state housing programs have been trying to serve with already inadequate funds. Now that the state housing budget has been slashed to pre-1986 levels (before the current programs were initiated) these are some of the Marylanders with emergency needs that can not be met.

What state obligations are more pressing? More roads, so affluent suburbanites do not have to sit in traffic when they flee these problems each evening? More bridges to speed our trip to the beach? More light rail? Another stadium? Another pleasure boat marina for the Inner Harbor? Another prison?

We will certainly face a future emergency and even greater costs due to foster care, mental disabilities, lost productivity, crime, disease, substance abuse, class and racial hostility if we continue to trivialize the current housing emergency.

Barbara Samuels.


Latvian Law

Editor: Ray Jenkins' June 23 column, 'Rule of Law in Latvia'' was very interesting. However, I would like to point out another side of the rule of law in Latvia.

On Nov. 9, 1990, the local law enforcement officers of the Latvian town of Jurmala were evicting by court order the local Communist Party from its offices for nonpayment of rent. The party called for help. Troops from the local Soviet base and zTC so-called ''Black Berets,'' a military unit of the Internal Affairs Ministry in Moscow, arrived and beat up the unarmed law officers with rifle butts. The Latvian judicial systems, of course, was powerless to do anything about it.

On Jan. 2 of this year, the Black Berets seized the press building in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The building in which all the newspapers in the city were printed including the three Communist papers was pronounced to be the property of the local Communist Party. The equipment inside the building included computers and other office equipment donated by U.S. citizens. Again the judicial system was powerless.

Since May of this year, troops in Soviet army uniforms and the Black Berets have been regularly attacking and burning customs buildings on the borders in Latvian territory.

Reuters reported on June 17 that the Black Berets had invaded the customs office in the main railroad station in Riga, smashing furniture, seizing documents and beating up an office worker.

The Russian people may have a democratically elected president and the Latvian people may have a democratically elected government, but the law in Latvia is still the minister of defense and internal affairs and the chief of the KGB, all in Moscow.

Karlis Minka.


A Liaison Officer Breaks an Unwritten Law

Editor: One of the unwritten laws of being a liaison officer is not to criticize or judge your host nation. I feel compelled, however, to break this tenet regarding motorcycle safety here in Maryland.

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