Billboards fuel acceptance of harmful goodsI am writing in...

the Forum

November 25, 1992

Billboards fuel acceptance of harmful goods

I am writing in response to Sylvia Fulwood and Barbara C. Ferguson's article "A plague of billboards" (Other Voices, Nov. 18).

Alcohol and tobacco billboards create a culture of passive acceptance of alcohol and tobacco addiction.

They tell us that alcohol and tobacco abuse is an acceptable and desirable part of life, and they tell our children that, despite what they see on the street corner, if they want to be successful like the beautiful models on the billboards, they must smoke and drink.

Stopping alcohol and tobacco advertising on billboards will not stop addiction. But it is a first step to unraveling the culture of passive acceptance.

Without such advertisements, our children will not be lied to on a daily basis by the alcohol and tobacco companies.

Our children will finally start understanding that alcohol is an addictive drug that impairs one's ability, rather than enhances it as portrayed by the beautiful model on the billboard playing basketball with a drink in his hand.

Getting rid of these advertisements will be one of the first pieces of good news Baltimore has heard in a long time.

Doug Wilson

Baltimore

Nixon papers

A federal appeals court has decided that the U.S. government (which means you and me: the U.S. taxpayers) should compensate Richard Nixon for the seizure of his personal papers -- compensation that may run into the millions of dollars.

I say give 'em back. Rather than spend one more penny on this crook I would advocate the return of all the papers to Nixon.

The Watergate investigation and hearings already cost me and the rest of the country enough. As far as I'm concerned, Nixon and his cronies robbed me of something important, though less tangible, than money: my trust in government.

This year record numbers of citizens went to the polls to vote for president -- people who had never voted as well as people who had not voted for years.

I bet if the lapsed voters were surveyed, many would cite Watergate as the time and reason they stopped voting.

We've entered a new era of citizen trust in government. If we pay off Nixon -- a man who would be in jail but for the misguided mercy of Gerald Ford -- we break that faith.

So give the papers back. Now.

S.A. Kalinich

Arnold

Not No. 1

The American Public Health Association recently reported that the U.S. ranked 19th in the world in infant mortality, 28th in infants of low birth weight, 15th in maternal mortality and ninth in life expectancy.

Now that the election is over, why don't the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" folks get together to reverse the federal spending priorities and environmental factors that have led to the deplorable conditions which result in such shameful statistics?

America will never be No. 1 until we are No. 1 in life expectancy and in taking care of our mothers and children.

A. Robert Kaufman

Baltimore

'Proper education'

I enjoyed Mona Charen's article on Chelsea Clinton ("Leave The Poor Girl Alone!" Other Voices, Nov. 17) and I agreed with Ms. Charen completely except for one statement.

At the end of her otherwise well-written, well-researched article, Ms. Charen stated that Chelsea "will probably have to attend public schools and thus be robbed of a proper education."

I know first-hand that public schools, especially in Baltimore County, do not "rob" students of a "proper education" but indeed provide the greatest educational opportunity possible.

The Baltimore County gifted and talented curriculum is far ahead of the curriculum offered at any local private schools and even the curriculum in other Maryland school systems.

In some cases, students who have been in the middle school gifted and talented program who attend private high schools are forced to retake courses, usually in foreign language and mathematics, that they successfully completed in middle school.

Not only are public high schools far ahead of private schools, the middle schools are ahead also.

Many freshman coming into a public high school gifted and talented program from a private high school do not take gifted and talented math or must take two math courses in one year because their private schools did not offer the prerequisite courses.

These students experience the same disadvantage in foreign languages -- the majority of freshman coming from public schools have already taken two years of foreign language courses while many local private middle schools do not even offer foreign languages.

In addition, public schools can afford a much larger amount of supplies, which results in a better and more interesting education for all.

Ms. Charen seems to feel that Chelsea is being condemned to attend public schools. But most public school students that I know are very glad that their parents did not "condemn" them to private schools.

Leah C. Schaefer

Baltimore

The writer is a student at Perry Hall High School in Baltimore County.

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