Cycle safety concerns forgotten?Are members of the...

the Forum

March 25, 1992

Cycle safety concerns forgotten?

Are members of the Maryland legislature really interested in saving lives? If so, why are they trying to eliminate the Maryland motorcycle safety program?

The House Appropriations Sub-Committee has recommended that all funds for the program be eliminated. If the recommendation is approved, the program would cease to exist on June 30.

Does the program cost the state or taxpayers money? No. It operates on "user paid" fees, which consist of a portion of the motorcycle learners' permits, a surcharge added to the motorcycle registration fee and course registration fees. These fees are paid by individuals interested in obtaining a motorcycle license.

The program has conducted over 1,500 rider education courses, trained over 14,500 students and ranks fourth nationally in the number of students trained.

When the state recently passed its mandatory helmet bill, it became eligible for federal incentive grants. These grants, however, come with a stipulation that funds for existing motorcycle safety programs not be reduced.

If the state eliminates the funding for the motorcycle safety program, it probably will no longer be eligible for federal incentive grants.

Bruce D. Mac Lean

Columbia

WIC works

Recently, Lee Hartman, a teacher, wrote of her feelings concerning extravagant spending for congressional luxuries while social services are cut.

As a retired teacher, I too have seen children come to class listless and unable to concentrate because they were not fed properly. Good nutrition begins in the womb. WIC provides the care necessary to produce healthy youngsters.

In 1991, $1 million was appropriated by the legislature for the WIC program. This money has not been included in the budget. As a result, 2,000 people will not be included in the program; babies will continue to be born with low birth weights.

Children who could be helped will instead suffer poor nutrition during early childhood. This can cause permanent physical and mental damage.

On the other hand, if funded, the WIC program results in reduction of anemia among those participating, higher birth weights, and improvement of motor skills and visual skills through better nutrition.

Furthermore, money spent on the WIC program results in future savings. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, every dollar spent prenatally produces $2 to $4 in Medicaid savings after birth. Prenatal care through WIC contributes to healthier babies and saves hospital costs.

In 1990, hospital cost for a healthy baby was $642, compared to $845 to $26,136 for a sick baby, according to the Health Services Cost Review Commission.

Can we afford not to invest in WIC?

Yolanda Graves

Baltimore

No subpoenas

The subpoenaing of Nina Totenberg's and Timothy Phelp's phone records by the Senate committee investigating the leak of Anita Hill's charges against Clarence Thomas disgraces the U.S. Constitution.

How could the Senate justify the subpoena when the journalists did nothing illegal by breaking the story? If this subpoena were approved, it would set an alarming precedent for future news breaks.

With government having the right to search personal records, journalists in the future will be afraid to break stories like Anita Hill's allegations, stories that Americans would never hear about if it weren't for our free press.

Kathy Elms

Ellicott City

Hazard duty

The headline reads, "Bullet-resistant vests OK'd for city police."

What about the teachers? And in light of the recent attempt by three students in Prince George's County to shoot another high-school student in a classroom, what about the students?

Dennis Sirman

Millers

Made in America

In response to Howard Green's March 5 letter in The Forum: I was for 11 years the very satisfied owner of a 1974 Dodge Dart and would like to inform Mr. Green that it definitely was not built in Japan. It was North American all the way.

Mary N. Flerlage

Baltimore

Whose fault county schools are decaying?

Larry Carson reported March 17 that the Essex Elementary School is in deplorable condition and smells bad. His report seems to suggest that Baltimore County Executive Roger Hayden should raise taxes to fund repairs or even build a new school.

Wait a minute! Where have all our tax funds been going for the past 10 years? During those years of prosperity, our tax funds were running a surplus, so lack of funds could not have been the reason Essex Elementary deteriorated to such an appalling level.

Buildings do not fall apart overnight. Time and neglect cause decay. Why have our schools' maintenance been managed so poorly and why has Superintendent Robert Dubel sat by while his schools fall apart? Mr. Dubel has enjoyed an autonomous position throughout his tenure while creating his own empire of power with top-heavy management personnel.

As a taxpayer, I demand an accounting of where maintenance funds have been spent over the last 10 years and why our precious children must spend their school days in buildings which the health department would condemn? Mr. Dubel must be held accountable whether he likes it or not. The school buck stops at his desk . . . and apparently stays there!

Jacqueline Madison

Baltimore

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