Fells Point condom store not offensiveRegarding your...

the Forum

November 10, 1992

Fells Point condom store not offensive

Regarding your editorial "Where can a rubber tree grow?" (Oct. 2), as a resident of Fells Point I am concerned and puzzled about the controversy over the opening of the Rubber Tree, a condom boutique proposed for Broadway.

I have been to one of these boutiques in Washington, D.C. I saw nothing offensive nor degrading about that store. It was set up in a very tasteful, aesthetically pleasing way, as I am sure the one on Broadway would be.

Condoms are and should be a part of everyday life. As a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, I took a course in human sexuality, which reinforced my firm belief in the advantages and necessities of condom use.

The last time I checked, this was a free country. People should be allowed to choose for themselves whether or not they wish to go inside, just as they would choose a TV or radio station. If you don't like it, don't go inside!

Condoms are available everywhere -- why shouldn't there be a store that specializes in selling them? Those who use condoms might find a brand that they can't get in a health center or drug store.

Why don't those who oppose such a shop protest the sale of condoms in drug or grocery stores? They are on display and readily available at those places.

I hardly see how this is comparable to The Block. No sex for money is being exchange here; no prostitutes will flock to Broadway just because there is a store that sells condoms.

I don't see why this has to become a political issue. If the store does well, it means that people see its benefits and advantages. If not, it will close down on its own.

Stop telling me what to do with my body, where to shop and limiting my choices. Tell me what you will do with those people who contract human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted diseases or who have unwanted pregnancies because of the lack of availability of condoms.

Wake up and see the reality of these situations. Until you come up with solutions to these problems, let others make choices for themselves.

Karen M. Hillman

Fells Point

Marching orders

Despite the usual election hype, certain incontrovertible reality is apparent -- both the legislative (both sides of the aisle) and the executive branches have "fiddled while Rome burned." We cannot maintain our standard of living without putting our fiscal house in order.

To the candidates just elected, I would strongly recommend for their support the following:

1. Zero-based budgeting, enforced by line item veto, will ensure accountability of both the legislative and the executive branches.

2. Spending bills must be matched by defined and real revenue sources. "Savings from defense cuts" are not a revenue source and secondly have been promised/spent many times over.

3. Public budget accounting standards and fiduciary standards of accountability for expenditure of public money; most current public budgets would violate Securities and Exchange Commission standards.

4. Capping the growth of entitlements -- extension of entitlement costs out 20 years equals fiscal disaster.

5. For those who can afford it, we must allocate/tax the appropriate costs for entitlements, including Medicare and Social Security, both of which are programs that provide far more benefits to the average recipient than are paid for by those recipients.

6. Gasoline tax of at least 50 cents over five years. Basic energy policy and environmental issues alone mandate such a proposal and the revenue would make substantial inroads on the operating deficits.

7. Health care -- we need to control the unjustified growth of health care costs and the tremendous administration expenses.

8. The hidden subsidies (includes tax breaks/deductions) in our laws need to be addressed. If we are going to subsidize an industry/activity, that subsidy (public cost) should be publicly scrutinized for (a) its appropriateness in the public versus special interest, and (b) its affordability priority in light of our current fiscal condition.

9. Tax breaks should be focused on job creation such as investment tax credits, capital gain relief for original issue/treasury stock investment, etc. We can no longer afford excessive mortgage deductions and second home interest deductions, for example. Should be phased out.

We have major institutional structural economic problems relating to the amount of public and private debt that need to be addressed (combined debt in 1980, $4.1 trillion; in 1992, $14.3 trillion).

Our nation can no longer afford Dr. Feelgood political procrastination in accepting fiscal reality.

The responsibility for a sound fiscal course is the elected candidates; unless they make it their priority, their re-elections will not be mine or many other voters' priority.

E. Alexander Adams

Clarksville

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