Wrong BlameThe Rev. Jesse Jackson's attacks on President...


February 25, 1994

Wrong Blame

The Rev. Jesse Jackson's attacks on President Clinton during a recent speech at the National Press Club is unfortunate in that he has wrongly placed the blame for America's continuing problems on the one man most committed to dealing with them.

For whatever his faults, the president is a deeply compassionate man who really cares about the plight of America's downtrodden and dispossessed.

Better for him to have hurled his invective at Sens. Bob Dole and Strom Thurmond or Rep. Newt Gingrich, men whose obstructionist policies have blocked the very reforms Mr. Jackson advocates, rather than at Mr. Clinton.

As a 28-year-old African-American male, I enthusiastically supported Mr. Jackson during his two runs for the presidency in 1984 and 1988.

However, his continued attacks on the president have left me disheartened and led me to question the integrity of Mr. Jackson's motives.

Contrary to what the tone of Mr. Jackson's rhetoric would have us believe, President Clinton is no Ronald Reagan, and he's certainly no George Bush.

By his determination to improve health care, expand opportunities for minorities and combat violent crime, he has done more to restore my faith in the promise of America than any person of this generation.

For Mr. Jackson to continue to attack Mr. Clinton would not only hurt the cause of those he's pledged to support, it would also harm the prospects of success for an administration whose ultimate success is in our collective best interests.

Eric Dale Smith


Ice and Trains

I read with interest your editorial entitled "Ice and the Light Rail System" (Feb. 11). As has been noted recently, we are a nation which has been smart enough to place a man on the moon and develop nuclear weapons which could virtually destroy the world, but we cannot move a light rail system from Cockeysville to Glen Burnie in a winter storm.

Fortunately or not, I can speak from a vivid memory of the streetcar era in Baltimore and how that fixed-rail system, with overhead trolley lines, operated during blizzards of all magnitudes. This writer does not recall any trolley car being inoperable because of ice on the trolley wires.

Perhaps it was because each car contained two trolleys, and the one trolley was fitted with an attachment which would clear the overhead lines of ice.

True, there were snow delays in the old streetcar system because of stalled vehicles in the tracks, and this was one of the arguments used in 1947 for converting the fixed rail system to motor buses.

The motor buses and trackless trolleys could bypass stalled motor vehicles and traffic would flow more freely. Also, the old transit company had special cars which cleared the tracks of snow accumulation, so that there were few delays because of snow on the rails.

Although this writer is not trained in the engineering sciences, it would be interesting to know if the engineers of the new light rail system examined the history of how overhead trolley lines were cleared of ice for the best part of a century by our local street railway system.

Perhaps the new light rail system could install auxiliary trolleys which would be activated in the event of an ice storm emergency. It is certain that the taxpayers, and the users of the light rail, did not believe that this was intended only as a fair weather system.

Herbert E. Witz


Essential Smoking

On the one hand our beloved Gov. William Donald Schaefer is telling us not to smoke, and on the other he is relying on the cigarette tax to pay for more unnecessary social programs. Who do you think will pay future costs of these hand-out programs if smoking is stopped or decreased because of tax increases?

The non-smoker will pay the full costs. This in my mind is true justice.

Bob Thompson


Political Vendetta

On Feb. 4, The Sun ran a short Associated Press wire story alleging that political maverick Lyndon LaRouche was convicted deliberately defaulting on $30 million in loans taken from supporters. This is wildly inaccurate.

During the trial of Mr. LaRouche and six associates, Judge Albert Bryan -- hardly a friend of the defendants -- was forced to officially reprimand the prosecutors for using that out-of-the-blue figure when the actual amount in disputed funds was $294,000.

The true figure, then, is far less than the unpaid campaign debts of, say, ex-presidential candidate Gary Hart and literally less than 1 percent of the sum cited in the story.

The immediate point is that by exaggerating the size of the alleged offense, The Sun is obscuring something that would otherwise be undeniable: This is pure political vendetta.

David McVey


Old Smoggers

The California car mandate is as ridiculous here as it is in Southern California.

A drive in sunny Los Angeles is a trip down memory lane, if ever there was one. Because of the mild, dry climate, there are an enormous number of old cars on the roads. Nostalgic to see, nauseating to follow.

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