Hot dogs, apple pie and JapanThe handling of the Japanese...

the Forum

February 27, 1992

Hot dogs, apple pie and Japan

The handling of the Japanese bia for the Seattle Mariners has been very poorly handled.

Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent's statement about the "unwritten rule" precluding foreign ownerhsip (i.e. not American or Canadian) smacks of blatant racism.

The owners feel that local ownership is so important, but where does the current Seattle Mariner's owner live? In Seattle? No, he lives in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, prospective owner Minoru Arakawa has been a Seattle resident for 15 years. The other members of his group are all long-time Seattle businessmen as well. Nintendo has been rewsponsible for bringing in thousands of jobs for the people of Seattle. Are baseball's owners afraid that Arakawa is goingto move the team to Japan? Well, if he doesn't become the owner, the team might just be moving to St. Petersburg. Heaven forbid that Seattle might adopt the Japanese training methods -- four hours of practice on fundamentals before every game. Japanese ownership can't be much worse than American (a la Steinbrenner).

American owners are afraid that in addition to building betters cars and better stereos, the Japanese will also build a better baseball team. What's more American than Nintendo, anyway?

Daniel E. Alexander

Gambrills

Stadium smoke

The Orioles have decided to allow smoking throughout the new stadium. This disgraceful policy allows a minority to indulge in an activity which will harm the health of the non-smoking majority. Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in this country. Maryland has the country's highest cancer death rate. Yet an opportunity to do something about this serious problem and send a message that needs to be heard has been squandered.

The Orioles have no right to dictate smoking policy anyway. The team doesn't own the stadium; the citizens of Maryland do. The state legislature should revive efforts to ban smoking in the stadium.

There is no constitutional right to smoke in public. Smoking is not protected under the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and expression. Non-smokers, however, have a right to

life, which is taken away by secondhand smoke.

Shawn Blair

Lutherville

Insurance flap

Your myopic editorial "Liberating the insurance division" (Feb. 18) offered an unwarranted attack on Secretary Fogle and unfortunate support for a costly bill. The efficiency problems in the Insurance Division are the responsibility of Insurance Commissioner John A. Donoho alone and will not be solved merely by throwing more money at the problem.

Strangely enough, the editorial failed to mention the latest Legislative Audit of the insurance division, which found blatant mismanagement despite two reorganizations and the hiring of three new assistant insurance commissioners at $75,000 each. The auditors found that it was duplicated work and poor staff communication that severely impaired national accreditation, not a lack of funding. A quick fix spin-off with more money is neither the panacea imagined nor a realistic solution.

Likewise, creating a new department will only waste tax dollars since additional personnel, computer, fiscal and legal services must be provided. These higher costs, masked as a "surcharge," will be passed on to taxpayers in the form of higher insurance premiums - essentially a new tax.

The bill to separate the Issurance Division from the Department of Licensing and Regulation does not guarantee national accreditation and does not further the best interests of the citizens of Maryland. Instead, the bill will only create a more costly bureaucracy and reward Mr. Donoho for agency mismanagement.

Gary P. Henson

Baltimore

The Tyson verdict

I'm inclined to believe if an opinion poll was taken by both sexes, Mike Tyson's conviction would have been unjustifiable. Tyson's reputation and notoriety and obsession for women were no secrets.

His actions, mentioned by many beauty contestants, had not gone unnoticed. They did not escape the decent and intelligent contestants who avoided further contact with Tyson, realizing his motive was for sex. This supposed lady who had Tyson prosecuted surely must have known this. This woman realized she could make money and jumped at the opportunity to cash in.

Why would one of bare acquaintance with another person rendezvous with him at 2 a.m? She obliged him with her telephone number and accepted this date. I'm of the belief any decent woman would have rejected the offer at that time of the morning.

Milton Parran

Aberdeen

'92, not '69

Gov. Bill Clinton is an honest and decent man who deserves a break. He did, after all, put himself into the draft for the Vietnam War. He did it to maintain his political viability. What's wrong with that? From what I've read only two members of Congress had sons on the battlefields of Operation Desert Storm.

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