Alcohol is a dangerous drug, tooIf it is true that...

the Forum

August 25, 1993

Alcohol is a dangerous drug, too

If it is true that language not only expresses perceptions but shapes perception, a small change in language on the part of your reporting and editing staffs might help the public understand more thoroughly the nature of one of our society's entrenched problems.

In an Aug. 18 account of the deaths of three promising young men in an automobile accident, the reporter said, "Laboratory tests to determine whether alcohol or drugs were used were incomplete . . ."

Accurate perception requires one more word: "alcohol or other drugs."

All of us need to get deep into our consciousness the fact that alcohol is a drug. It is a legal drug, but it is the drug most abused in contemporary society.

The term "drug" carries a certain stigma. This stigma belongs to alcohol as well as to other drugs used for recreation.

Eleanor B. Webb


Who elected her?

Who elected Del. Leslie Hutchinson of Essex anyway? I sure didn't. How can an elected official manage my laws when she can't manage her own life? Why is it that a woman of her age has just moved out on her own? These questions, along with a host of others, need to be answered.

I'm a voting, concerned person, just about the same age as Ms. Hutchinson, who feels that she is abusing her position as an elected official. After reading the July 14 article by Larry Carson, I felt compelled to put my anger to pen and paper.

Is Ms. Hutchinson above the law -- just because she is a delegate? Her license has been suspended -- yet she still drives her own car.

If she were an ordinary citizen like me, she would be in jail. Ms. Hutchinson uses her position as a delegate to generate business for her Events Extraordinaire venture.

When has it become accepted practice to use your title -- one which the people have given her and the people can take away -- to elicit money from the people you work with and the people who elected you?

I'm a struggling student trying to make ends meet. I work 60 to 80 hours a week just to keep my apartment and my independence. As a female, I am appalled that in her defense she states, "I messed up on the date." Doesn't she have a calendar?

Patricia Davis


Canadian club

Would you attend Canadian Football League games in Maryland if Baltimore is not awarded an NFL franchise?

Bill Franch


Lanny Davis responds

Frank A. DeFilippo's column (Other Voices, Aug. 19) about me was incorrect in several respects.

1. I have never declared "anybody but Steinberg" in the governor's race. Quite the contrary.

I like Lt. Gov. Mickey Steinberg very much. While I have never heard from him regarding his gubernatorial candidacy, I have much admiration for his career in public service.

2. As a commentator for WAMU-FM in Washington, I remain neutral in the governor's race. I have not been a former "sponsor" of Parris Glendening, although I have done many commentaries for WAMU praising his record as Prince George's county executive.

3. Regarding the recent event for Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke at my home, anyone who has listened to my commentaries would know that one of my central themes has been that Montgomery and Baltimore need to work closer together in the legislature, and not allow themselves to be pitted as adversaries.

The event for Mayor Schmoke at my home was consistent with this theme. In my invitation letters, I indicated that I remained neutral in the governor's race, but was providing the mayor a forum in the hope of encouraging better dialogue between the two jurisdictions.

4. Mayor Schmoke did not come off as uninformed or ill-prepared. I asked those in the audience to "unload" their concerns and frustrations from Montgomery County's perspective, and they did. Many felt the mayor did very well under these circumstances and were grateful for his willingness to listen.

By the way, Mr. DeFilippo also got his facts wrong about the attendance of the press. When I received press inquiries about whether they could attend, I checked with Mayor Schmoke's representative, and was told that it was fine to open the event to any press person who wished to attend.

5. I am not a partner in the polling firm of Potomac Survey Research, though I was many years ago. Nor did I see, much less circulate, any polling results from that firm showing Mayor Schmoke ahead in Montgomery County. In fact, the Sun article I wrote on Mr. Schmoke stated that polling data showed Mr. Glendening ahead in Montgomery.

6. Finally, apart from his lack of knowledge about the nature of my relationship with Ted Venetoulis over the years, Mr. DeFilippo's assertions that he and I are "bitter enemies" is completely false. We have had and still have our differences over a business transaction.

The well-known DeFilippo style -- in which innuendo, cheap shots and rumor are substituted for good reporting and accuracy -- was too much for Ted Venetoulis and me when Mr. DeFilippo worked for us on the Montgomery County Business Record.

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