Three wishesNow that the hoopla has diminished somewhat...

the Forum

November 16, 1992

Three wishes

Now that the hoopla has diminished somewhat and a new president has been chosen, let me enumerate some of the things I wish had been on the ballot instead of what was:

1. To limit terms of elected officials to 12 years.

2. To limit the time of the campaign to one month with television time purchasable to two hours. We are experiencing severe "overkill" and obscene spending.

3. To give the president a line item veto.

Had I been able to vote for these propositions, I would have come away from the polls feeling that perhaps something would be accomplished during the new administration, instead of the persistent feeling that those newly elected would spend the next terms campaigning for re-election.

Helen P. Voris

Elk Ridge

Voters backed too many local bond issues

One of the main issues of the political campaigns this year was the economy. Politicians, whether running for federal, state or local office, promised to do everything they could to balance the budget.

They said they would put an end to deficit spending and thus help the economy to grow. Anyone who had any kind of political opinion agreed, including the media.

So with the immediate concern of a poor economy at hand, the voters went out and defeated incumbents, who weren't always doing their job, and rewarded others who believe they can do a better job.

The people of this state should be commended for voting in record numbers and contributing to the political process.

With this said, the one result of this election that I can't understand is the Baltimore City and Baltimore County bond issues. Baltimore City approved seven bond issues for $43 million and Baltimore County approved 10 bond issues for $118 million.

Did anyone read these questions before they voted for them? Why should the National Aquarium receive $3.5 million when it is operating with capacity crowds? Why should Baltimore County residents borrow $47.4 million for roads when our gasoline tax just went up again in May?

The bottom line is we have two local governments that don't have any money now borrowing and spending tax revenue they may not have later.

Worse than that, we don't even have a slick politician we can blame those expenditures on. If we can't control our spending, we can't control our elected officials' spending.

While these bond issues may improve the quality of life for some, it is all of us who must make these sacrifices in the future or face living in tax hell.

Although I didn't support Ross Perot, I find myself, the day after the election, wondering why there are not more politicians around pushing his unpopular ideas.

Glenn G. Fewster


Helping children learn to read

Frequently as I drive around Baltimore I see cars with a bumper sticker reading: "If you can read this -- thank your teacher."

It's a great bumper sticker but only half correct. It should read: "If you can read this -- thank your teachers and parents."

This week the American Federation of Teachers, the Baltimore Teachers Union's national organization, released a national poll that showed only 36 percent of America's parents share reading activities with their children after the age of nine.

Children whose parents discussed books and newspapers at home read much better in school than those in homes where there was little or no parental involvement. The study was sponsored by AFT, funded by the Chrysler Corporation and conducted by a Washington polling firm, Peter D. Hart Research.

The study also showed that when parents stop discussing books and stop reading with their children, television viewing increased.

Parents often say one of their favorite activities is reading books to their children when their children are very young. But family reading activities should not end when children begin to read independently. If anything, they should continue and become more varied.

American nine-year-olds are ranked among the best readers in the world when compared to other nations. By the time our children reach the age of 14, however, they have fallen to the middle of the pack. Our students can do better and parents can definitely help.

The week of Nov. 16 is American Education Week, a perfect time for families with school-aged children to read a book together and discuss it at the dinner table, in the car or on a walk through the park.

Ask your children to read you a recipe, an article out of the newspaper or a paper they wrote in school. Perhaps not tomorrow, but some day our children will thank you for your assistance and the time you spent together.

I speak for all teachers when I say we would be happy to share the credit with parents for creating a generation of skilled, avid readers.

Irene B. Dandridge


The writer is president of the Baltimore Teachers Union.

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