LessonsEditor: Your editorial, ''Lessons from the Smith...


December 24, 1991


Editor: Your editorial, ''Lessons from the Smith Verdict,'' and Ellen Goodman's column, ''After Palm Beach, '' reflect upon knowledge ordinary people might have gained from the William Kennedy Smith trial.

Unfortunately, both omit two important points.

First, in a rape trial the law and media treat the accused unjustly. The man is identified, photographed and, in the case of Willie Smith, projected into millions of homes. The accuser, on the other hand, is nameless and enjoys the electronic purdah of a large gray blob. As Ms. Goodman illustrates, Mr. Smith has been publicly harmed by the rape allegations while the accuser, who failed to win a guilty verdict, remained a protected non-person, free from the journalistic feeding frenzy.

Second, you stress that men should take ''no'' from a woman seriously, and indeed they should. However, you fail to instruct women that picking up a man at a bar, going to his home and removing undergarments in the car hardly implies a ''no.'' Although sexual mores have changed, old-fashioned common sense has not. In order to make a date rape charge stick, women will have to act more responsibly.

osalind Ellis.


Say, Teach . . .

Editor: Robert J. Grant (letter, Dec. 11), veteran Anne Arundel public school teacher, gives us a simplistic justification for his recent 30-percent salary increase.Perhaps, in his quest for simplicity, Mr. Grant has overlooked a few important facts.

First, the $24,347 salary of the first-year teacher compares very favorably with the neophyte B.A. or B.S. in the private sector. This is particularly true in 1991, when there are essentially zero jobs in the private sector, making the question of relative worth moot: no jobs, no salaries.

Second, the first-year teacher costs the taxpayers an additional 20 percent over and above his or her salary in a very generous package of benefits. Health insurance alone, if purchased by a self-employed worker, is worth thousands of dollars.

Third, the teacher works three days for each four worked by the private sector, which translates to approximately 60 extra paid holidays per year (many more, if we compare the teacher to those of us who are self-employed and who get no paid holidays and zero benefits).

Last, but certainly not least, is the fact that the first-year teacher has 100-percent job security. I know of not one private-sector worker, from CEO to laborer, who can claim this tremendous benefit. The horrors of the pink-slip phenomenon continue with tens of thousands of more to come, and not one of us in the private sector is immune to this plaque.

I suspect that before this recession ends, Mr. Grant will be asked (or told) to take much more than a 3-percent pay reduction. My guess is based on simple facts: our governments are essentially broke at all levels; the private sector of our economy is in terrible condition and getting worse every day; and, very clearly, the days of public-sector employees getting 30-percent raises, with no corresponding rise in private-sector growth, are gone.

Kirk S. Nevin.

White Hall.

Crooked Cross

Editor: Contrary to the assertion of one of your letter writers, lacrosse does not mean ''the cross'' but ''the crook.''

The racquet does not look like a cross; it looks like a bishop's crook.

George F. Jones.


Happy Give-Back

Editor: A recent reader complained that Anne Arundel County Executive Robert Neall was asking for a 3 percent ''give-back'' by teachers, rationalizing the complaint by saying teachers' salaries had only risen by a factor of four over the past 22 years.

I feel sure many of us now working (and all of us not so fortunate) would be very happy to give back 3 percent if our current salaries were four times what they were in 1969.

G. Davis.


Tax Grabbers

Editor: I went to the ''town meeting'' held by the state Democratic legislators regarding the budget and deficit at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute on Dec. 4.

The meeting began at 6 p.m. Until I spoke at 11, I was treated to the spectacle of college professors, college students, community activists, union officers, high school and grade school teachers -- all with their palms out, asking the legislature to, ''Please raise our taxes!''

They even had a few grade-school students make the same plea. These same people went into tirades about Reaganomics, the wealthy and greedy tax protesters, as well as the fact that their constituencies needed more money to alleviate whatever crisis they're beset with. I'd like to set things straight.

It is ironic that those who educate our children, who also teach at college, as well as style themselves community leaders, have very little understanding as to the effect that raising taxes (gasoline, income, luxury, sales etc.) has on everyone's pocketbook.

L If they did, they wouldn't have made such a foolish request.

Don't they know that every time they ask the legislators to raise taxes (to make the ''rich'' pay their fair share), the legislature will take the money from them as well?

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