Duke's Their Man
Editor: It is fascinating that George Bush, Dan Quayle, Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich and other top Republicans who have repeatedly campaigned for Jesse Helms want to distance themselves from their fellow Republican David Duke. They made him possible; they created a political party which legitimized his views; they will have to live with him.
David H. Pardoe.
Editor: Jack Kammer is not the only one who is worried (Garland L. Thompson, "Making Families with Only Half the Family," Nov. 2).
As a member of the governor's task force referred to in Mr. Thompson's column, I am joined in my concerns by all the task force members and members of the task force subcommittee on child custody and access to children, which I chair. However, our worry, unlike the one expressed in the column, is neither self-centered nor centered on parental rights, but concerns the rights of children.
We are striving to address and correct any inequities in treatment of mothers or fathers which may impact on the interests of their children. We do so within great financial constraints; all task force and committee members are volunteering their time.
Mr. Thompson reports our having availed ourselves of the assistance of local women's commissions and suggests an inherent bias. He fails to mention that Mr. Kammer was invited to assist us in publicizing the hearings and that he declined because he had no finances to support his efforts. In fact, the help we did receive was voluntary and unpaid.
The women's commissions were kind enough to provide logistical support including mailings to editors and media throughout the state. Mr. Thompson does not mention that interested fathers have been invited, Mr. Kammer among them, and have articulately addressed my subcommittee and the task force itself, informing us of their concerns. Their suggestions and careful study of other states have been extremely helpful, so far, in defining committee goals and developing recommendations for change.
I would ask that in the future, Mr. Thompson attempt to corroborate his information lest he not perpetuate the very biased thinking he deems so dangerous.
Alice G. Dvoskin.
The writer is a member of the Governor's Task Force on Family Law.
Changing News Business
Editor: Richard Reeves' column, ''The End of What Used to be Called News,'' is the first article I've seen which explores the demise of the ''news'' business.
As an elected public official, I am very interested in the news. Yet, the news stories within the pages of The Sun and other newspapers seem to be diminishing -- especially state and local coverage. And, news has been reduced to stories about the latest murder, robbery or institutional press release. Very little is printed concerning local or state government.
Government can function properly only when there is a reasonably informed citizenry. Historically, newspapers have been the principal means by which citizens have obtained information about what is happening within government, what issues are being debated and what are the policy options available. Television will never be able to cover the ''who, what, where, when, why and how'' to the degree a newspaper can.
When I first took office in 1983, I could read The Sun and the News American and find out what was going on in just about every committee of the General Assembly. Reporters covered hearings -- even the most mundane hearings. The general public could get enough information to understand what was going on and could make reasonably informed judgments. These judgments provided feedback to elected officials.
However, over the past decade newspapers have become ''written television,'' reporting the feelings without examining the soul.
I do not suggest that the failure of newspaper reporting of the various aspects of government is the sole cause of the breakup of the social contract. I only suggest that the lack of ongoing information about what government is doing is a major factor for its demise.
If citizens are unable to obtain the facts about their government and its function, the demagogic politician who promises more or less and simple solutions to complex problems will have a field day at the polls. We will all suffer then.
The writer represents Baltimore and Carroll counties in the House of Delegates.
No Big Thing
Editor: The media and The Sun in particular are reading far too much into the election of Sen. Harris Wofford, Democrat of Pennsylvania. In my view, his election had little to do with the Bush policies or the popularity of George Bush.
Harris Wofford was elected mainly on one issue -- national health insurance, an idea whose time has come. The manner in which the Thornburgh campaign tried to undercut this issue, coupled hTC with dirty media tactics, turned the voters against Dick Thornburgh.
Jim Thorpe, Pa.
Buckle Up, Gang