Poker MachinesThis is in response to the editorial "Video...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 09, 1992

Poker Machines

This is in response to the editorial "Video Poker Bluff" in The Sun of Aug. 30.

Why do law enforcement officials fear it would lure mob operators? The machine and pay-offs are here, but state, county and local officials and judges say it isn't a problem by their actions.

So why is law enforcement rowing a boat with one oar, wasting time and tax dollars to get rulings of probation before judgment?

The machines should be legalized with licensing fees based on volume of plays, taking 10 to 25 percent of the gross, doing as the mob does, right off the top.

Also, do as the alcohol and tobacco industries do and put warning stickers on the machines. They wouldn't be effective, but the government would love the money.

Walter Chervitch

Abingdon

Is the Harbor Safe?

I am appalled the way the Baltimore Police continue to lead sheep to the slaughter by proclaiming the safety of the Inner Harbor.

On March 31 at 8 p.m. my friend and I were mugged in one of the most illuminated areas of the harbor. I've lived in the Baltimore area all my life, and I too believed it was safe at the harbor.

In the Aug. 4 Maryland section of The Sun, an article appeared on the front page about a tourist being knifed at the harbor. The article went on to proclaim the harbor was still the safest place in the world.

On the next page of the same section, another article appeared about a robbery and shooting near the harbor.

How can we continue to proclaim the safety of the area? Why don't Baltimore officials tell us the truth, so we can be prepared to protect ourselves?

Michele C. Barnes

Baltimore

Immense Integrity

I began reading George F. Will originally because I confused his byline with that of Garry Wills, the latter being a favorite for years.

But George continued to be read because of the power of his thinking and the clarity and firmness with which he presented ideas, most of which were anathema to me.

Now comes the current presidential campaign and George Will is not only an admirable thinker and writer, but one with an immense integrity, even if his exposition hurts the ones he loves.

I trust that his incisive lobotomy of the Bush administration's outworn political tissue will continue until the patient -- our country -- starts on the road to recovery after the Clinton election.

David E. Sloan

Baltimore

Product Liability Act Lacks 'Fairness'

I suppose I am one of those "witches" evangelist Pat Robertson refers to, although I have not left my husband, killed any children or spontaneously developed a new sexual identity. I do, however, advocate the rights of women, particularly those victimized by dangerous and defective products, such as silicone gel breast implants.

This week the U.S. Senate is to take up the Kasten product liability bill, which would make it more difficult for women who are injured by defective drugs and medical devices to obtain compensation for themselves or for their children who may be harmed as a result.

I am angry about the Senate's potential willingness to let the absurdly named Product Liability Fairness Act move forward. This anti-consumer, anti-victim legislation disparately threatens the health and safety of women.

Over the past three decades, a disproportionate number of women have been maimed by defective drugs and devices. Some of these products, notably the Dalkon Shield but also diethylstilbestrol, have so damaged women that they are unable to conceive, have normal births or even to have marital relations.

All of these products were approved by the Food and Drug Administration or were otherwise marketable. The protection created by the bill for drug and device manufacturers who sell bad products is anything but fair.

Under current laws, it is already very difficult for victims of dangerous products to receive compensation from wrongdoers through the legal system.

As a growing body of independent research reveals, only one victim in 10 ever brings a claim; jurors are already strongly predisposed in favor of corporations, and there has been a big decline in product-related claims since 1985.

The Kasten bill, with support by the White House, is being foisted upon us by interlocking groups of insurance and manufacturers' representatives who pay big money for the privilege of throwing their weight around. . . .

But back to the Kasten bill: No sound reasons have been offered to support a bill that will increase the burden that injured victims already face. When over 37 million Americans -- including many women and children -- have no health insurance, how could Congress even consider enacting a law that would take needed resources away from people who have been injured and require significant medical and hospital care? Who pays for their care then?

Nicole Schultheis

Baltimore

The writer is an attorney.

Debtors Court

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