Do we have to be the world's police force?I believe former...

the Forum

December 14, 1992

Do we have to be the world's police force?

I believe former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev when he said: "Bush told me not to believe anything he says during the presidential campaign."

I think this also applies to what the president is saying about involving us in Somalia.

During a recent appearance on "Good Morning America," Sen. Hank Brown stated: "This is not primarily a humanitarian program, for a short term. The United Nations expects a military action -- a combat role from our men."

I only hope our next president will reject Mr. Bush's "new world order" that has not been defined to the American people.

So far, it looks like U.S. forces will be engaged in battle in selected areas where our security interests are not at risk. Also, where neighboring countries involved are excused from participation.

Where has there been a mandate that we pay the price to police the world?

Jay Baylor

Baltimore

Elected board

An elected school board for the state of Maryland could and should become a reality.

The Evening Sun in its editorials has chronicled the changes the Maryland school board has made regarding testing and, most recently, compulsory community service as a high school graduation requirement. You have remained unbiased in reporting the changes made by the Maryland Board of Education.

However, I urge the voters of Maryland to consider a change from a school board appointed by the governor to one elected by the people. The present board has been unresponsive not only to the citizens but to professional educators.

For example, 22 out of 24 local school superintendents opposed compulsory community service. Further, 24 local boards of education, the Maryland Association of Student Councils, the Maryland State Teachers Association and the PTA also opposed this concept. Yet the State Board of Education under the leadership of Nancy Grasmick went ahead and brought forth the concept of community service.

An elected school board would at least be accountable to the voters. At present, the appointed board -- which includes some members with no background in education and beholden to no one except the governor -- has proven that the desires of the citizens of Maryland and professional educators mean little.

John A. Micklos

Baltimore

The rude king of keno

On Dec. 2, I attended a meeting of the Board of Public Works, which consists of the governor, the comptroller and the treasurer of Maryland.

The reason was to testify in opposition to the new keno game being proposed by the Maryland State Lottery Commission, called "Quick Draw."

I was under the impression that the purpose of this meeting was to allow citizens to testify in favor of or in opposition to this proposal. What I saw instead was an arrogant man act in a hostile manner toward everyone opposed to keno. That man was the governor of Maryland, William Donald Schaefer.

Governor Schaefer has a reputation, well deserved, that it's his way or no way at all.

The people who testified treated the board with respect and presented their facts in an effort to have the board reconsider its vote. What we got were hostile, flippant remarks by the governor.

We tried to convey the down side of this game. He was no more interested in what we were saying than the man in the moon. He has been convinced that this game is going to raise $50 million for the general fund and ease the budgetary problems in Maryland.

We face these problems, not so much because of federal budget cuts, but by mismanagement of state finances by the present administration.

Governor Schaefer was elected in 1986, where he inherited a $400 million surplus. Within five years, we were $500 million in the red, a turnaround of nearly $1 billion. Does that look like the record of a good executive?

Because of this abysmal fiscal irresponsibility, he has been sold a bill of goods by the Maryland State Lottery Commission to get this keno game in place.

There was a 12-member panel that was supposed to examine this game and make a recommendation to the governor either pro or con. The panel's finding was not to implement keno. Against this recommendation, keno is going on line Jan. 4. Why was the panel's recommendation ignored?

The Maryland State Lottery Commission has said it can raise $50 million the first year with Quick Draw. The Department of Fiscal Services has already said the projection is too high.

I tend to agree with Lt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg: This game is just a "sucker's game" and will not raise the money projected. If the game is a failure, the taxpayers of Maryland will be obligated to pay off the $49 million contract to GTECH.

These are the points that we attempted to get across to the governor, but they fell on deaf ears because his mind was already made up.

The meeting was a waste of our time. The meeting was a show for the TV cameras but could have just as easily been held in some back room, where the outcome would have been the same.

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