Bosnia evokes world's debate in the 1930sAs I read about...

the Forum

May 25, 1993

Bosnia evokes world's debate in the 1930s

As I read about and listen to the current debate over ''intervention'' in Bosnia, I imagine that instead of 1993 it is really the 1930s. And instead of discussing military intervention in Bosnia, the debate centers around military intervention in Germany to stop the deaths in the concentration camps.

The arguments were similar to the ones being advanced today concerning intervention in Bosnia. It is not certain what the outcome of the debate would have been in the 1930s, just as it is not certain what the outcome of the debate will be today in Bosnia.

It is quite possible that in either or both instances no intervention would occur and genocide would continue.

Perhaps instead of saying ''Never Again'' we should have said ''Never Again -- but there are exceptions.'' There should be no debate about Bosnia -- we must stop genocide whenever and wherever it occurs.

Arthur Starr


County cable

The Sun published a letter from Charles A. Frainie of Woodlawn April 24 in which he criticized the rates charged and the services provided by Comcast.

Mr. Frainie suggests that these problems stem from the lack of any county oversight of the franchisee, and the fact of "Comcast's monopoly in Baltimore County." At the same time, the writer praised Congress for its action in passing a cable TV re-regulation bill. Mr. Frainie's focus is misdirected.

Whether Congress is to be congratulated for its recent legislative action in this area, the fact is that the current status of the cable industry in this country is a direct result of earlier congressional action.

Nearly 10 years ago, the Cable Act of 1984 stripped local government of the authority to regulate cable TV rates; from then on, those rates began to climb.

Unfortunately, under the new cable act recently passed by Congress, the ability of Baltimore County to regulate cable rates will probably be very limited. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission will apparently retain regulatory jurisdiction over rates for cable programming services, other than basic cable service.

Mr. Frainie also suggests that the lack of competition in Baltimore County is the root of consumers' problems with Comcast. Comcast's franchise in Baltimore County, which was granted in 1973, is not exclusive, and the County Council would welcome competition in the cable field.

However, during the past two years, when council representatives have met with persons having an interest in receiving a franchise, their interest evaporated rapidly upon calculating the costs associated with creating and operating a competitive cable system.

Cancellation of the existing franchise, and thereby eliminating cable service in Baltimore County, hardly seems to be a reasonable alternative to this economic reality.

C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III


The writer is chairman of the Baltimore County Council.

Domestic subsidy

Rep. Ben Cardin's plan to back an "import fee" on "energy intensive primary products," as noted in the Money section, May 13, is quite sad news for consumers.

They will be paying more for the manufactured goods employing these "primary products."

In essence, what the article's subtitle should read, instead of "Amendment could help Bethlehem Steel, Crown Central," is "Cardin asks Maryland taxpayers for additional funds to stem red ink at Bethlehem Steel, Crown Central."

Let's call a spade a spade, however deeply it is hidden in the deck. Cardin is strictly tax and spend.

Richard Frank


Violent America

Please, let the violence in America be stopped.

We have a wonderful country but violence and the threat of violence at every turn makes me almost sick.

When I listen to the TV, I have to leave the room I am so disheartened by the terrible violence on our streets.

Let's all try to get along and forget our differences and look at our similarities.

Please let's bring America back to a peaceful country once again -- a country of which we can be proud and feel safe while walking our streets.

Anna W. Raith


Self-service for administrators

Where's the pork? Your May 7 article, "Summer of Service comes to Baltimore," states that 75 young people will be selected in Baltimore to work between 30 and 40 hours per week. They are to be paid $4.25 per hour and to receive a additional $1,000 toward their education. Sounds like a great opportunity.

If each participant worked the full 40 hours for the seven weeks of the program he or she would receive $2,190. The total paid out to the participants would be $164,250. If Baltimore is getting $500,000 and only $164,250 is going to those who are supposed to benefit from the program, where is the other $335,750 being spent?

The cost of the program appears to be higher than the benefits derived by those it helps.

Dividing the $335,750 by the 75 workers, the administrative cost is $4,476.66 per worker to pay them $2,190 for seven weeks work. An administrative cost of 204 percent?

Who is this ''Summer of Service'' benefiting? Those who need the incentive or those who administer it? If these same numbers are true throughout the country, 1,500 workers will receive $3,285,000 out of the $50 million.

If Eli Segal, director of the White House Office of National Service, is quoted correctly as saying this plan is ''cost effective'' he certainly should re-take a course in economics. Taxpayers cannot afford such ''cost effective'' ways to spend their (not Congress' or the president's) hard-earned money.

Charles D. Connelly


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