Winner take all election rule is unfairReading the results...

the Forum

March 20, 1992

Winner take all election rule is unfair

Reading the results of the March 3 Maryland primary in the March 5 issue of the Miami Herald, I was amazed to learn that Maryland law gives the Republican Party the right to disenfranchise voters who do not cast their ballots for the winner.

Over 72,000 Maryland citizens voted for Pat Buchanan. That was 30 percent of the people who voted in the Republican primary, yet the Buchanan forces received none of the state's 52 GOP delegates.

No matter how you look at it, those 72,000 voters were denied their right to be represented by delegates who support the person for whom they voted.

In fairness to all Maryland Republicans, it's apparent that the election laws need to be changed before 1996 so that all candidates get a percentage of delegates based on the percentage of Republican votes they receive.

I notice that the winner-take-all policy that the Republicans have is not used by the Democrats.

Lt. Col. Robert C. Metz (Ret.)

Pompano Beach, Fla.

See the problem?

In the 1980s, state employees outpaced private sector wage gains in 46 states. Locals did better in 49 states. In some states, employees' compensation outstripped their private counterparts by an average of 20 percent.

And what about benefits?

Public employees: 3.6 more days in paid holidays; 25 percent more in paid vacation time after one work year. Pension and insurance benefits averaged 28 percent higher.

Even politicians are worried. Seeing their budgets decimated by employee wages and benefits, they are beginning to cut back on warm bodies on payroll and winning out over government worker labor unions by seriously examining the privatization alternative.

After all, wages and benefits currently make up 60 percent of state and local budgets and this is why 31 states raised taxes $29 billion in fiscal 1991-92. Also, they are encountering more and more taxpayer anger, which signals they, the politicians, simply have to get a firm handle on the cost of government or face defeat at the polls.

During the wild 1980s, state and local public employee compensation rose four times faster than that of the private sector worker: $39 billion could have been saved in just the year 1991 had government compensation equaled that in the private area.

In the ''white collar'' sector, government wage increases have doubled those of non-government people. Service employees: 4 1/2 times; and blue collars, more than 50 times that of their private sector cousins. See the runaway tax problem here?

William F. Lickle Jr.

Towson

Helmet law

No matter what side of the aisle you stood on in the motorcycle helmet law debate, it is interesting that for 20 years the boys of Annapolis considered it an individual freedom of choice until this year.

Not until the threat of loss of federal money did this become an argument between saving lives and individual rights.

I wonder how much silver it would take for the governor and the Annapolis gang to sell the Bill of Rights in the name of safety.

Joseph I. McMahon

Sykesville

Monkey business

I was amused by the puzzlement of Beth A. Althoff (The Forum, March 5) concerning the content of Channel 13's 6 p.m. news. How well I remember the lead story of a few years ago about a monkey about to be put to sleep after biting someone. I could understand the concern of the owner and I suspect the monkey was quite upset. But, a lead story? Maybe that's how they got to be No. 1

McNair Taylor

Baltimore

Capitol riddle

Riddle: How many congressmen does it take to bounce a check? Two -- one to overdraw and another dumb one to put up the money! Congress had its own "bank" for over 150 years, checking services for 100 years and overdraft privileges for 40 years. It's been a stupid idea from the beginning. Public servants should be intelligent enough to avoid giving themselves special privileges that are unavailable to their constituents.

The irony is that congressmen were injuring each other. Accounts that pay daily interest on checking accounts are commonly available. How many congressmen received interest on their money in the bank? None.

Then who paid for overdraft abuse? The non-abusers lent their money, interest-free, to the abusers. It's as if two people had a tin box into which their monthly paychecks were deposited. Neither received interest nor was there a penalty if one borrowed from the other. The House of Representatives was stupid and insensitive but no taxpayer money was involved, no laws or administrative rules were broken and no one outside that body was hurt.

We should be angry that neither the Democrat nor Republican leadership cleaned up this mess, but we shouldn't confuse this tempest in a teapot with Watergate, the $500 billion S&L scandal or the Iran-contra deceit.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Balk at cleaner air

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