Government integrity on the lineYour June 26 editorial...

the Forum

July 08, 1991

Government integrity on the line

Your June 26 editorial, "Time to investigate" [calling for a congressional inquiry on whether key figures in the 1980 Bush-Reagan campaign cut a secret deal with the Iranians to extend the captivity of the hostages until after the election], has encouraged me to write in agreement. The American public expects truth and integrity from the president and government. To ignore this issue would be inexcusable.

I am a Republican, and I am saddened to think that there is a possibility my party may have had anything to do with delaying the release of the American hostages. Ronald Reagan was elected, in my opinion, to bring truth and integrity back into the White House. He showed strength and appeared to be trustworthy. These accusations question his integrity and the integrity of those around him. With or without an investigation, they have put a dark blot on his presidency.

Your editorial also remarked that congressional Democrats were feeling skittish about an investigation turning into a campaign witch hunt. I don't believe the comfort of either party is the important issue. Rather, there should be deep concern about the unnecessary suffering of the hostages, their families and the American people.

If we ignore this issue and do not pursue an investigation, I don't believe we can feel comfortable with the honesty of our democratic campaigns or elections.

Harriett J. King

Shrewsbury, Pa.

Single-sex schools

In 1884, the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College for the Education of White Girls of the State of Mississippi was founded. Later it became known as the Mississippi University for Women. In 1839, Virginia Military Institute was founded. Over 100 years later their fates met in federal court in Roanoke, Va., after the Justice Department filed a suit arguing that the single-sex policy violated the Constitution's 14th Amendment.

In the Mississippi case, a male had attempted to enter the [nursing school] at the university. When he was refused entry, the Supreme Court ruled, in 1982, that a single-sex policy could be justified only by "important governmental objectives" which are "substantially related" to those goals. This case became the precedent for the VMI case. Judge Jackson Kiser ruled that VMI had satisfied the criteria since its mission was to train citizen-soldiers and it had never veered from that goal.

What will happen if the Justice Department appeals the case to the Supreme Court? There are about 100 single-sex colleges in the United States. Though most are private, most receive tax breaks, government grants or student loans. Student resistance at all-women colleges could force the court to rule, ending sexual segregation as it ended racial segregation, in Brown vs. Board of Education.

Kauko H. Kokkonen

Baltimore

Block partisan

City Councilman Jodie Landers wags an errant tongue in his quest to sever The Block's existence, since the raucous, flamboyant entertainment area yields a mere $160,000 in city property taxes. By replacing it with stodgy glass office buildings that often remain vacant, the tax bite would increase.

I suggest that he concentrate more on promoting The Block's history as a night club mecca.

Surely, a Baltimore Hesperus, where "Hon" Nickel's Gayety Theatre once featured the undulating strippers Ann Corio, Margie Heart, and Blaze Starr gyrating to the sensuous strains of "Night Train" and "Harlem Nocturn," takes precedence over a city official with an upturned hat in hand.

Kelton Carl Ostrander

Woodlawn

Preventive medicine

I invite the medical community to join me in applauding the recent decision by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to endorse screening tests for early disease detection. This decision, made in conjunction with guidelines provided by the American College of Physicians, is indeed an encouraging step in the direction of preventive health care.

The endorsement affects our patients primarily in the area of mammographic screening for early breast cancer. In 1983, the American Cancer Society recommended routine mammographic screening for patients without symptoms, as the best method for detecting breast cancer early ` when it is most treatable. However, the reluctance of third-party payers to support this effort has been discouraging to patients who choose to take an active role in disease detection and prevention in their own lives.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield has long been a front runner in health care issues. As an advocate of breast health education and care, I encourage other commercial insurers that currently do not promote screening to follow their excellent lead.

Cynthia Caskey

The writer is medical director at Johns Hopkins Radiology, Galleria Towers.

Fluffing his nest

In these days of streamlining government, Councilman Don Mason again seems to want to "buck the system." Instead of trying to align county districts with state districts, to limit confusion among constituents, he chooses to "fluff his own nest."

Mark E. Weir

Essex

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