Poor man's wageLet's see: Alan Keyes made over $200,000 a...

the Forum

May 19, 1992

Poor man's wage

Let's see: Alan Keyes made over $200,000 a year for the last couple of years and now claims he has no assets other than his house, which has a mortgage on it.

That's why he needs $8,500 a month to meet expenses or he'll have to live on the street and sleep in homeless shelters?

Is this the kind of fiscal responsibility we should expect if Senator Keyes were to get his hands on taxpayers' money?

Brian D. Taylor

Baltimore

LA's fuse was lit long before King verdict

Having lived in Los Angeles for the past 10 years (June 1982 through March 1992), I'm having trouble understanding many of the statements I've heard through the media concerning the recent rioting there.

Since the riots ended, I've heard store owners express shock and disgust over the rioting, I've read statements from L.A. leaders who talk about "getting to the root cause of the problem," and I've seen law-abiding, middle-class Angelenos who seem amazed that this happened in their city.

Where have these people been living? The Los Angeles I lived in for 10 years was a large, frenzied, ethnically diverse city sharply divided along economic lines.

Living in West Hollywood, sandwiched between the run-down, predominantly Latino East Hollywood and the wealthy, mostly white Beverly Hills, I saw opulent and excessive displays of wealth only blocks from boarded-up buildings, despair and disillusionment.

The anger bubbling under the surface was often visible at bus stops, in parking lots and on the freeways; witness the increase in random shootings, hate crimes and gangs. To anyone who chose to look, Los Angeles was a city on the edge, ready to explode at the next provocation.

The tension has been building for years and the Rodney King verdict merely provided a reason and an excuse for thousands of the have-nots in Los Angeles to take to the streets to express their rage and, while they were at it, get a little something for themselves.

So although I wasn't surprised in the least by the severity of the riots, I have to admit I find it frightening that a number of Angelenos were completely unaware of what was going on in the streets around them.

Now that the looting and burning has ended, I hope that the events in Los Angeles will give more of us pause to look at the problems in our own cities with clear, open eyes. Perhaps, before we get back to business as usual, we will try to do something about the problems in our inner cities. If not, then we shouldn't act so surprised when inevitable violence and destruction reoccur somewhere else.

Sharon M. Hannon

Glen Burnie

Keyes coverage

I must be paranoid. I have called your offices several times to complain about what seemed to be a conspiracy to ignore Alan Keyes' campaign for U.S. Senate. I guess I was wrong. You suddenly seemed to have "discovered" Mr. Keyes' campaign. Your coverage reflects the contempt in which your editorial staff seems to hold most black conservatives.

Eric Waterman

Baltimore

Cable TV cost

It should come as no surprise that cable TV is losing customers for its premier channels.

In Baltimore County, Comcast Cablevision has priced itself out of the market; every year there is a price increase while the service remains the same. A monopoly can do this since customers have no choice about the basic service. However, the cost to the consumer can be reduced by taking only basic service rather than the deluxe service -- a $10 saving.

I now have the minimum service. I am tired of being told by monopolies they want more money. Some services aren't essential for me.

If I want to rent a movie for my VCR I have choices; there are no monopolies on rentals. I can shop prices and location -- and the public library rents below the cost of private businesses.

The amazing thing is that cable customers have continued to pay the increases for all these years. The best news is that they are weaning themselves from being victimized by a monopoly.

This may bring back competition once vendors realize that continued increases are not acceptable and that consumers will learn that life goes without premium channels. Life even goes on without TV.

Charles D. Connelly

Baltimore

We are 'broke'

Amending the Constitution to require a balanced budget would substitute blind procedure for representative democracy and personal accountability. It's not the U.S. Constitution or our system of government that's "broke." It's you and I and the people we elect.

If we don't vote, or if we only vote for candidates who make us feel good, then we get what we deserve. A better solution is to elect presidents, senators and representatives with the guts to tell their constituents the truth, the judgment to cut spending and raise revenue equitably, and the courage to lead without following the polls.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Newspaper tax

You did not fight hard enough against the tax-gluttons of Annapolis.

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