Baltimore benefited from Schaefer's ruleI have trouble...

the Forum

February 04, 1994

Baltimore benefited from Schaefer's rule

I have trouble following the logic of Chris Scitti's Jan. 19 letter, which blames Gov. William Donald Schaefer for the decline of Maryland.

He says that Mr. Schaefer did for the state what he did as mayor of Baltimore City. At the same time, he says that Mr. Schaefer is responsible for a loss of jobs.

Does Mr. Scitti believe that we'd be better off without Harborplace, the Convention Center and the Aquarium?

Mr. Scitti goes on to blame the decline of Baltimore on a "tax-and-spend philosophy." Does he believe that we would have halted the decline if the city had cut the police, fire and education budgets to match the suburban tax rates?

I suppose that if I would point to other cities that faced similar declines, he'd blame it on other tax and spend philosophers. Yet the more fiscally conservative center cities -- Cleveland for instance -- have suffered about as much.

A much greater cause of our cities' decline has been the maldistribution of metropolitan resources brought on by an inability to annex suburbs. The power to change that was taken out of the mayor's hands 24 years before Mr. Schaefer took office.

The fact is that as mayor, William Donald Schaefer did a better job of turning Baltimore's fortunes around than any other mayor, here or elsewhere. If other mayors have left their cities in better condition, it's because they've had an easier task of it.

Paul O'Brien


Clinton health plan copies socialism, fascism

In the American Revolution, we fought against taxation without representation. American government was uniquely designed, learning from European mistakes, to provide a democracy which promoted justice and liberty while protecting individual freedom and initiative.

Aside from exalting a particular nation and race, the primary element of fascism is a centralized autocratic government. This includes a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition.

We fought against fascism in World War II, repudiating this political philosophy. But in 1993, although 57 percent voted against William Jefferson Clinton and his radical political platform, he still became our president.

The State of the Union speech is another Clinton menu without the prices. The price for universal health care coverage is not just horrendous in terms of dollars, but in loss of personal choice and quality of care.

Mr. Clinton is bent on transferring huge amounts of power and control to a federal bureaucracy. His brand of universal coverage is highly socialistic; this approach has already failed in Canada, Sweden and England.

It failed because it is flawed in principle, not just in its administration. Researchers have also concluded that it closely resembles a Fascist-totalitarian model (Italy, World War II).

To compile health care prices for his menu, we are talking about an ultimate payroll tax of 10 to 12 percent. Should we pay for the health care of 50,000 drug addicts in Baltimore City, the gay and lesbian community, etc.? No.

Our government and economy must be structured in a way which rewards responsible living and initiative and is consistent with our freedom as Americans.

Thomas H. Mehnert


Pay the piper

Other Voices writer C.W. Gusewelle complains about the abuse the poor cigarette smoker is expected to endure from anti-tobacco zealots ("These punitive taxes are created for your own good," Jan. 19).

I say, too bad. While we all shuffle off this mortal coil at some point, some things give us a lot of trouble in the going. This is particularly true of cigarette smokers, who pass through suffering from cancer, emphysema, heart and circulatory problems, etc. -- all directly traceable to smoking.

Those of us who have smoked and quit, and who don't look back at the smoking days with any particular fondness, say "too bad." You were warned. If you choose not to take heed, then pay the price in increased taxes and higher life insurance premiums.

This has nothing to do with entitlements and everything to do with the concept that there are no free lunches.

James V. McCoy


Where credit is due

In their article on the legal battle between Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg and Theodore G. Venetoulis (Jan. 28), writers Patrick Gilbert and William F. Zorzi Jr. state, "Mr. Venetoulis managed former California Gov. Jerry Brown's upset victory over Jimmy Carter in Maryland's 1976 Democratic presidential primary."

Well, maybe, but not quite. . .

In 1976, Ted was Baltimore county executive and I was the volunteer public relations director for the first Baltimore County Fair. The director of the fair was one of Ted's top aides, now-Rev. P. David Hutchinson, the brother of later County Executive Donald P. Hutchinson.

It was David and not Ted who actually ran the 1976 Brown campaign here.

I was present at the meeting in Towson when Ted decided to send David and two others as emissaries to California to induce the governor into the race.

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