In regard to your editorial, "Bush Ups the Ante on Israel" (March 22), I fail to understand your statement that continued construction of settlements on the West Bank is an obstacle to peace.
Was it an obstacle to peace in 1948 when the Palestinians could have had a Palestinian state? Was it an obstacle to peace from 1948 to 1967 when the West Bank was under the control of Jordan?
Why is it an obstacle to peace that 100,000 Israelis live in an area where there are a million and a half Palestinians? The Palestinian population is growing much faster in the territories than is the increase in the Jewish population. If 450,000 Arabs can live in Israel, why can't a couple of hundred thousand Israelis live in the territories?
Israel has a greater legal claim to the disputed territories than the Palestinians, but, in any event, this is a matter for direct negotiations between the parties. President Bush is wrong -- and so are you.
Alleck A. Resnick
Insurance: What citizens really need
Your timely March 25 editorial relating to the Department of Licensing and Regulation and the Insurance Division raises an interesting issue concerning the concept of creating a special-funded, independent insurance department.
While providing additional funds for fraud prevention may benefit the citizens of Maryland, it is possible to provide additional resources for fraud prevention without increasing the cost to the citizens of Maryland via a special surcharge to insurance companies.
Since the insurance commissioner approves rate increases based upon increased costs, it is most likely that the cost of the new surcharge would be passed on to insured Marylanders.
During five of my last 19 years as an employee of the Department of Licensing and Regulation, I have witnessed the great strides Secretary William Fogle has made in bringing the department into the modern age of computer technology and efficiency.
Five short years ago, there were no personal computers in the Insurance Division; today there is in excess of one computer/CRT terminal for every two employees.
The law specifies that the secretary of Licensing and Regulation provide for budget and personnel matters for all units within the department.
This provision allows the insurance commissioner to concentrate important insurance issues affecting Maryland citizens and to take full advantage of centralized services provided by the Department of Licensing and Regulation, i.e budget, computer, print shop and personnel functions.
The secretary's intended responsibility is to prioritize needs within his department and to allocate the necessary resources to allow each unit to carry out its mandate.
In meeting this mandate within the Insurance Division, Mr. Fogle has transferred funds into the division for the last three years; he has approved major reorganizations which included the appointment of three new associate insurance commissioners; he has approved the implementation of a new complaint tracking system; he has requested and received additional actuarial resources for the division; in spite of financially difficult times, he has recently appointed additional insurance examiners for the purpose of safeguarding Maryland citizens.
The best interest of Maryland citizens would be served by allowing Commissioner John Donaho to concentrate on regulating the insurance industry in which he has been involved and allowing Mr. Fogle to manage the centralized administrative activities of the Department of Licensing & Regulation.
The writer is director of fiscal services, Department of Licensing & Regulation.
Recently the quantity of negative commentary about teachers and public education has reached an all-time high. This distresses me as both a teacher and a parent. During the 19 years that I have taught in Baltimore County. I have worked hard to provide a caring, knowledgeable and positive role model for my students and have seen the vast majority of my colleagues do the same.
We do a largely thankless job and are blamed by the public for many problems over which we have no control. We willingly give countless hours of uncompensated time, spend large percentages of our salaries on supplemental classroom materials and take to our hearts the joys and sorrows of dealing with the diverse group of children we see each day.
When I chose a teaching career I believed that there were very few jobs more important than educating children. I knew that society would not be rewarding my choice with a big salary or high prestige. But I did think that my job would be respected, because teachers are entrusted with what we claim is most precious to us: our children.
Those who continue their generic attacks on education are obviously ill-informed. It is also doubtful that their motivation is to help improve education. Those who truly care about kids are already there on the front lines.
Angela T. Leitzer