LawyersEditor: Whom do we get to rebut the vice...


September 03, 1991


Editor: Whom do we get to rebut the vice president's attack on lawyers? Another lawyer -- and a trial lawyer at that (Aug. 24 letter).

A person steeped in twisting the facts and playing on emotion to convince a jury to accept his argument. Probably the only thing worse than a trial lawyer is a corporate lawyer.

At least letter writer Augustus Brown admitted that "some of the recommendations . . . should be considered." At least now I'm aware that the Pinto problem is one in a long line of real issues resolved by lawyers.

However, we do frequently see lawyers spending days to pick a jury, trying cases for extended periods and then resolving them out of court, and frequent appeals in many instances involving cases which most countries would laugh at. And of course they have to keep up with inflation in calculating their fees.

D. Bush.


No Tears

Editor: Most complaints about redistricting center around the fact that Baltimore County would be split five ways and that Rep. Helen Bentley's home territory would be included with the Eastern Shore. But Baltimore County has had multiple representation since at least the 1960s.

It was split four ways in the 1960s, three ways in the 1970s and 1980s. So a split county is hardly news.

Representative Bentley's admission of her inability to represent Lutherville and the Eastern Shore fall on my deaf ears. Maybe Representative Bentley could learn something about the mutual interests of other Marylanders and her Baltimore countians if she represented a district of broader dimensions.

And what about looking after her Harford County constituents? Grouped with Baltimore County in the 1960s and with the Eastern Shore in the 1970s, Harford was split between the two in the 1980s and now may be split between the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland in the 1990s.

In short, all redistricting schemes give undue attention to the current congressional cast. Six of the eight representatives who we accommodated for the 1980s no longer serve in the House. How soon we forget that these districts are for 10 years, not just next year.

Until we decide that the redistricting process should look after our citizens and not our incumbents (who, after all, are particularly skilled at looking after themselves), I will shed few tears for Representative Bentley.

Don DeArmon.


History Will Vindicate Gorbachev

Editor: Events in the Soviet Union have rolled at such a rapid pace that it is hard to take stock of them in chronological order.

Mikhail Gorbachev, for now, is a despondent man, caught up in a storm beyond his post-coup capacity. Boris Yeltsin seemingly has emerged a towering pro-democracy, pro-reform figure.

While it is exhilarating to watch the Russian people rid themselves of the notoriously repressive KGB, it is not heartening to see the undoing of Mr. Gorbachev.

Mr. Yeltsin has struck while the iron is hot. He is rapidly purging the system of hard-line dissidents and replacing them adroitly with not only pro-reform but with pro-Yeltsin people. A politically shrewd operator, he has consolidated his own power and crucified the Soviet president.

I am uncomfortable because Mr. Yeltsin shows a tendency to deal with people peremptorily and mercilessly. A clever showman, who relishes his popularity, Mr. Yeltsin has yet to come out with a pragmatic or brilliant proposal for rescuing the Soviet Union (or the Russian Republic) from economic doldrums.

In fact, while he is often saying something vitriolic about Mr. Gorbachev or the communists, Mr. Yeltsin has not revealed to the world that he understands bread-and-butter economic matters like trade, GNP, banking, deficits, etc.

Mr. Yeltsin says he loves democracy, but so does Mr. Gorbachev.

Mr. Yeltsin claims he worships freedom and franchise, but that is not a hard thing to do when you know that the people worship you. Will Mr. Yeltsin be a democratic man or a despot when and if his popularity wanes?

While we should rejoice at the demise of repressive communism in the Soviet Union, we must not delude ourselves that socialism is dead there or in the world. Our welfare system and Medicaid, subjected to conservative excoriation and ridicule, are socialistic concepts that have succored the poor. Many free thinkers would have our sick health-care industry change to a socialistic pattern. At the other end of the spectrum, greed, a failing of all "isms" has widened our deficit, decapitated our banks and sullied our environment.

We may sing the virtues of a free market, but we should note that privatization would be a painful process in the Soviet republics. Even Mr. Yeltsin has to concede that health-care, energy, postal services and transportation must remain under central control while each republic establishes its currency and its treasury.

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