Why bother if the pols won't listen anyway?Governor...

the Forum

January 07, 1992

Why bother if the pols won't listen anyway?

Governor Schaefer asks citizens for ideas, but why bother? On Nov. 5 I went to see Baltimore County Executive Roger Hayden and discussed the problem of letting the wrong prisoner be released because of mis-identification - something that already had happened twice in 1991.

The county was considering identification bracelets as a solution. I said that would not solve the problem since bracelets could be counterfeited or even exchanged. The only positive solution would be to fingerprint the person to be released and check those prints against the fingerprints made and filed when that person was jailed.

Mr. Hayden thanked me and said he would see that my idea was passed on to Sheriff Peppersack. I heard nothing further from Hayden or Peppersack. But on Dec. 25, a third wrong prisoner, Roland Lavar Campbell, was released. So who's dragging feet? Why should citizens bother to get involved, governor?

Stuart E. Hobgen



Like other excesses of the 1990s, the legal profession has made "ambulance chasing" an art form in its TV commercial blitzes. You would think wallowing in the ethical sewer would be enough, but now you can also carry your personalized genuine plastic preferred customer "McLawyer" card in your wallet.

It's enough to make you gag.

Joseph L. Bishop


Racing's virtues

As someone involved in the horse-racing industry, I take offense at Dan Rodricks' column, "Dressed up, it's still gambling" (Dec. 16).

Racing is not just gambling; it is a sport. It is not simply a waste of money, but a waste of time also. There is little you can do with a lottery ticket, but stare and pray. Yet to its fans, racing is engaging entertainment. If you divide the take by the attendance, racing doesn't cost, on average, more then the $40 to $50 per player, about what a Redskins game would cost.

As to the charge that only poor people gamble, who do you think puts up the fantastic sums of money to breed, raise and race horses in the first place? In many cases a yacht would be more profitable. All this is spread surprisingly equitably to a multitude of mostly middle- to lower-income jobs rather then a few outrageous salaries as in most sports.

John F. Merryman Jr.


Quit whining

I am sick and tired of opening up your paper and reading about how lousy things are as far as the economy is concerned. You people are so far out of touch in your attitude that it is pathetic. Attitude is what drives this economy (or any other, for that matter).

With you, the television media, the "wringing-hand" merchants and the Congress of this country all crying about our "problems" and how bad things are, what do you expect?

If you tell people how stupid they are enough times eventually they will start believing it. Even worse, they will accept their fate and will not try to do anything to change it. All of the whining about the economy is doing the same thing to this country.

For the country's sake, brighten up!

Nick Kaplanis


Too taxed

I'm glad your editorial " 'No new taxes' " (Dec. 30) mentioned the Money magazine article which explained how President Bush paid less than 1 percent of his 1990 adjusted gross income in state income taxes. It clearly shows who the politicians prefer to pay their share of the taxes.

With our state legislature about to consider either a sales tax increase, income tax increase, or both, I wish The Evening Sun had also pointed out a second article in the same magazine which ranked the states by the "total annual tax on a typical household." According to Money, Maryland ranks third highest in in the nation.

I hope our state politicians don't think we want to rank first!

Fred Alsruhe Baltimore

Tax racing

While state aid for such "luxuries" as care for the handicapped, education and other essential services is being cut, and our governor hints he will raise sales taxes, which will hurt low- and middle-income people most, the racing industry goes virtually untaxed.

Several years ago, when the state treasury enjoyed a large surplus, the wealthy and politically influential racing lobby persuaded our leaders in Annapolis to cut the racing tax to a mere one-half of 1 percent ` because, it was said, "it would be good for the state."

If our governor and legislature had any backbone this disparity would be a priority on the agenda at the next General Assembly session and racing would be taxed at least as much as other entertainment.

Judging from past performances, however, don't expect any miracles.

Henry Seim


Who's buying?

I cannot but wonder what IBM and GM expect to gain by laying off tens of thousands of workers. With so much fear and so little income left, whom do they expect to buy their products?

Worse yet, what sort of investor buys stock in a company that has become "lean" at the expense of the consumer who must find work in order to survive? Even cheap foreign labor cannot increase profitability if no one is willing or able to spend what has become an unsure income.

Ronald L. Dowling


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