Public ServantThe citizens of Baltimore County will lose a...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 09, 1994

Public Servant

The citizens of Baltimore County will lose a superior public servant if they cannot persuade Councilman Donald Mason to change his mind and stand for his council seat in 1994.

Don Mason proved his worth in three short years. He has stood firmly for what is correct in his district and the county.

Downsizing the cost and increasing the efficiency of government, while still maintaining and improving service to the citizens, is what public service is all about.

Don Mason has done his job in the face of opposition to the status quo for the betterment of the county.

We need more Don Masons and we need this Don Mason to reconsider. The county will be the winner.

Ross Z. Pierpont

Baltimore

Risk Selection

On Jan. 25, all of America heard President Clinton say that our health care system was broken and that the health insurers were deciding who qualified for coverage and who didn't. That sounds like risk selection.

Without insurance reform, insurance carriers must select risk or they will be out of business. Even with risk selection, insurers only average 2 to 3 percent profit. Quality group carriers cannot compete in a free market with excess fat.

I would suggest that the large bureaucracy that the president envisions would, over time, become the largest entitlement program ever created in our history.

The insurance industry is advocating reforms to include guaranteed issue, guaranteed renewability, elimination of pre-existing conditions (for those who maintain coverage even if they change employers), reform rating practices and eliminating large differences in rates because of an unfortunate medical condition. Maryland has already passed these reforms (effective July 1, 1994).

President Clinton talked about Mr. Anderson, who lost his job and then discovered that he had a serious medical condition.

Why didn't Mr. Anderson elect to continue his coverage under federal or state continuation laws? Mr. Anderson should have had the right to continue or convert his coverage (in Maryland he would have).

Let me ask some questions: If you lost your job and elected not to pay your homeowner's coverage and you had a fire, should we condemn the insurance industry?

Should we have exclusive government homeowner's alliances to handle the sale of fire insurance? If you couldn't afford to buy groceries, should we have exclusive government grocery alliances?

Absolutely not, the answer is in individual responsibility, and when that isn't enough then the government should step in to help through the crisis only.

President Clinton raises many good points that we can all address and solve together, within private industry, without creating a new government bureaucracy, that if created would strangle our government and all of America.

Dennis B. Mather

Timonium

The writer is president of an insurance agency.

Don't Typecast

Your editorial, "Whitewater Independent Counsel" (Jan. 30), stated, "Robert Fiske has several advantages. He is nearly a generation younger than Mr. Walsh and more likely to stay in charge of a large, young and energetic staff."

Although people who are younger tend to be more energetic than those a generation older, that fact is irrelevant. Some people in their 70s are more energetic than many people a generation younger. Persons should be chosen by their ability and character, not typecast according to their race, sex, religion or age.

Steven C. Hill

Bel Air

Pet Responsibility

I read recently of a group of citizens who are supporting proposed legislation in Maryland to make owners of pets that attack and kill other pets liable for damage suits.

I am sympathetic to their desire to hold the pet owners responsible for the action of their pets. Such legislation, however, if it is seriously considered, should, I believe, contain a couple of other provisions.

First, some jurisdictions have leash laws, and all should. A pet owner who does not obey leash laws and allows their pet to roam freely should not receive compensation if their pet gets into trouble.

The violation of leash laws should be enforced, and that goes for the owner of the attacking animal as well as the one under attack.

Second, there have been studies indicating that millions of our native songbirds are killed each year by free roaming cats.

There are millions of cats in our country, and if each one killed only one songbird a year the destruction would be enormous. The owners of such free roaming pets should be held liable for violating leash laws, as well as for the destruction of native wildlife.

It is illegal for a human being to kill native songbirds; so it should also be illegal for a free roaming pet to do so. Their owners should be held liable.

Consequently, I support the move to hold pet owners responsible for the lethal actions of their pets, but I believe such legislation should be broadened to cover all aspects of such destructive behavior.

We need responsible pet owners for the sake of their own pets, as well as for the well being of other animals.

David H. Pardoe

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