Sorting out the issues of trust and characterThere has...

The Forum

October 30, 1992

Sorting out the issues of trust and character

There has been much discussion and finger-pointing this election year about candidate credibility.

The accusations include Bill Clinton's "waffling," George Bush's involvement in Irangate, Iraqgate and BNLgate and Ross Perot's penchant for investigating everybody.

Unfortunately the relative seriousness of these charges has been totally ignored.

Clinton's response to questions about pot-smoking and draft-dodging were not direct, complete or as honest as the public expects.

The issue is one of trust or confidence or style. There is less concern about whether these youthful indiscretions prove true.

By contrast, the seriousness of the charges against Bush, while he held the two highest offices in the nation, overwhelms concerns about personal style or student activities.

If Bush did advocate concealing the Iran arms-for-hostage deals, or if he knew money from these deals was going to the contras, or if he continued to help Saddam Hussein build his arsenal with U.S. taxpayer dollars even after warnings from his own agencies, or if his administration interfered with prosecution of the BNL scandal -- then it raises questions not only about trust but possible violation of George Bush's oath of office.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

I am sorry but this "character thing" is not working for George Bush. He is the one who says he will do anything to be re-elected.

Bill Clinton has been an outstanding governor for 12 years. Bush and Ronald Reagan presided over a national debt that quadrupled in 12 years. It went from $1 trillion under President Carter to $4 trillion under Bush-Quayle.

Now Bush is taking credit for winning the Cold War. As a former director of the CIA, he should know that Russia collapsed basically of its own weight.

And we are nearly bankrupt because of fancy toilet seats and general waste and overspending in the Defense Department. Reagan-Bush built up the military and charged it all to our children and grandchildren.

President Bush says that the economy is poised for recovery. He can tell that to the millions of unemployed and to the millions more who are so demoralized they have given up even looking for work.

And he shouldn't bash President Carter. I'd like to go back to a $1 trillion deficit.

Also, of all the living ex-presidents, President Carter seems to be the only one having a meaningful, fruitful retirement. He is building houses for the poor all over the world.

David Armacost

Baltimore

Sex education in Howard County

Regarding your editorial "No comfort on abortion debate" (Oct. 19), I applaud you for helping keep this important health issue in the forefront. However, your editorial contained some misinformation about the Howard County health education curriculum.

You stated that "Howard teens' only exposure to sex education in the public schools occurs during one quarter of a semester in ninth grade." This is not true.

Students in the Howard County public schools receive human sexuality instruction beginning with puberty education in the fifth grade. This unit is taught by specifically trained classroom teachers.

Our students also receive human sexuality instruction in Grades 6, 7 and 8. Middle school youngsters are instructed by certified health educators in each of our 13 middle schools.

The ninth grade unit referred to in your editorial is currently one focus area of the high school health education program. This program will soon undergo change because the Maryland State Department of Education recently passed legislation mandating a one-half credit graduation requirement in health education.

The Howard County public school system also strongly advocates that students abstain from sexual intercourse.

In closing, you stated that "much more needs to be done." I couldn't agree with you more.

Curriculum is only one piece of what needs to be a concerted effort. Of equal importance are the contributions of home, clergy, health organizations and the community.

This collaboration, along with open communication and factual information, may be the best gift we can offer the young people of Howard County.

Mamie J. Perkins

Ellicott City

The writer is supervisor of health education programs for the

Howard County public school system.

Trout trickery on Big Gunpowder River

Once again the state Department of Natural Resources has demonstrated its incredible lack of understanding, sensitivity and equity concerning the needs of the vast majority of trout fishermen in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

Among the changes proposed by the DNR this year is one that would eliminate the last remaining quality section of the Big Gunpowder River as a put-and-take trout fishery. The proposal does not provide for the creation of any new trout fishing opportunities in Baltimore County.

Under pressure from the special interest group Trout Unlimited, DNR wants to add the section of river from Falls Road downstream to York Road to the miles of river already designated as a catch-and-release-only fishery.

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