Organ DonorsAlice Steinbach's article in the Nov. 20 Sun...


December 02, 1992

Organ Donors

Alice Steinbach's article in the Nov. 20 Sun, "A New Life Soothes the Pain Over One That Was Lost," was indeed a moving, hard-hitting piece. However, the article failed to emphasize that the only way we can have these heart-warming stories is if people realize the need for organs and donate them upon their death.

The Transplant Resource Center of Maryland acted as a liaison between the Kleckners, the donor family and Ms. Steinbach. Therefore, we were quite upset to learn that there was no mention of the drastic need for organs or the procedures to follow to be an organ or tissue donor.

This is a great disservice to the 28,000 people waiting for organ transplants, of which 2,570 are waiting for hearts, and to the many people who may be interested in donating but simply need to know how to go about it.

And, far more importantly, it's a disservice to the many people who die each year while waiting on the list for a heart to become available for transplant.

An article such as Ms. Steinbach's is useful as a starting point, but it cries out for a follow-up piece. The follow-up needs to include specific information for your readers interested in donating organs and tissues.

Mark R. Reiner


The writer is the executive director of the Transplant Resource Center of Maryland, Inc.

No Secrets

In your Nov. 23 editorial, "No Secrets About AIDS," you say "whoa" to the parents in Howard and Harford counties who are publicly protesting the presentation of the play "Secrets."

I say "whoa" to you! I have not seen the play but you state that "Secrets" tells "how to avoid getting the disease, including through the use of condoms." If this is being presented as a fact rather than fantasy, consider these facts taken from the pamphlet "Quick Facts on Safe Sex:"

The HIV virus is one-twenty-fifth the width of a human sperm. The smallest detectable hole in a condom is one micron. The HIV virus is one-tenth the size of that hole. Researchers studying surgical gloves made out of latex found channels of five microns that penetrated the entire thickness of the glove.

When used as the sole means of contraception, condoms have a standardized failure rate of 15.7 percent over the course of a year.

Cheryl Hoopes


For Statehood

Your Nov. 18 editorial against statehood for the District of Columbia was an insult to your readers.

It gave two reasons for denying D.C. residents voting rights equal to that of other U.S. citizens. The first, "a city is not a state," is such a silly argument for denying D.C. voting rights in the Senate that one can only laugh at the editorial labeling this argument "philosophical."

The Sun displays its ignorance when it describes the district as not being "diverse enough" to be treated as a state. The district is an ethnic melting pot that includes everyone from world leaders to the working people who support them. It has its own unique cultural heritage and deserves to be treated as its own entity.

The second reason that The Sun opposes D.C. statehood is concern that the district would impose a commuter tax on Maryland residents.

As a resident of Baltimore who commutes to a job in Washington, I do not oppose a commuter tax. I benefit from the services provided by the D.C. government.

Just as Baltimore County has a direct interest in Baltimore's providing quality education, public safety and well-maintained roads, Montgomery and Prince George's counties and all of Maryland have an interest in the quality of services in the District of Columbia.

The Sun acknowledges that statehood has been blocked by Republicans who do not want the district to send additional Democrats to Congress. The Sun has effectively allied itself with that position. Please, wake up. We cannot deny people the right to vote because we do not like how they will vote.

We will all benefit from extending D.C. residents the full voting rights of statehood, if only because we will remove from ourselves the injustice of denying them that right.

Louis Eby


Montgomery Woes

Montgomery County's loss of $27 million in state funding of Social Security taxes for local teachers and librarians is the latest example of our county delegation's reaping their own harvest.

How did we get to this position in the first place? The answer is simple: For years the Montgomery delegation has always given in to "statewide interests" in all of its votes. This action has led to the loss of these funds and the loss of our state delegation's credibility.

Our state delegation provided the votes for the tax increase last April, and even boasted about this fact. Remember the press conference with Neal Potter and our delegation, speaking of a new day of cooperation with Baltimore City? In return for providing the votes to pass the largest tax increase in state history, we received additional school construction funds totaling $19 million and a study of more equitable funding formulas for state education dollars.

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