We're on a collision course with ChinaIt's a wise strategy...

the Forum

March 21, 1994

We're on a collision course with China

It's a wise strategy in diplomacy and most other fields of endeavor to avoid getting on a collision course, especially a public one.

We are playing "chicken" with China over the issue of human rights, and if neither country blinks the economic wreckage could seriously hurt both nations.

China's aging dictators believe that whatever they do to their own people (and to the Tibetans) is an "internal" matter that is none of our business.

They're convinced that our greed and economic self-interest will force us to tolerate their behavior.

The American people, however, have always had a strain of morality, idealism and sense of fair play. These convictions can even overcome our capitalist pragmatism when aroused.

Currently, almost two out of three U.S. voters insist that China improve its human rights record before we renew China's "most favored nation" trade status.

The best solution to this difficult problem is to get off the collision course without compromising our diplomatic, political or moral principles.

Failing that, the U.S. must make it clear, to the Chinese as well as ourselves, that we believe in something besides money.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Cut the junk

Mail delivery costs money. Cutting delivery to four or five days a week would keep postal rates in line with reality. The poor, the elderly, the middle class can't afford the huge increase that is proposed.

So-called nonprofit organizations, bulk mailers and members of Congress get reduced or free postal rates . . . How much longer must we subsidize the rich and famous?

Years ago, when first-class postage cost three cents and we got mail delivery twice a day, cutting back to one delivery a day kept rates in line.

Cutting delivery now to five days a week, or even every other day, would allow a cut in first-class postal rates, not another increase.

Who needs junk mail every day?

John Hayes

Baltimore

Dental board

Regarding Marina Sarris' article "State dental examiners under fire" (March 8), I felt a certain satisfaction in reading that this sanctimonious board has finally come under criticism.

Though I am not a dentist, I have personal knowledge of how this group of dentists appointed to protect the public conducts its business.

The blame and excuses proffered by certain board members as to why more than 100 dentists have been allowed to administer general anesthesia with expired licenses are fabrications.

Members of the board, which convenes one day each month, are more aggressive with advertising infractions than they are with dental incompetence, fraud and criminal misconduct.

Several times a year the board publishes a glossy newsletter that is sent to all licensed dentists in Maryland. This publication lists the names of dentists charged with dental code violations and cites the punishment meted out for each offense.

Other than serving as a public whipping post for dentists, it has few functions. How can the board justify this effort when patients may be losing their teeth because of their dentists' failure to diagnose periodontal disease?

The board should not be allowed to operate in an independent and secretive manner. It should be held accountable to the regulations governing other agencies. The public has a right to have access to board records and to know the background of the board's members.

The board should stop wasting time and resources trying to control matters of free speech and other First Amendment rights and redirect its energy to the important things it is appointed to do. If it cannot do this, it should be abolished.

P. M. Belkov

Baltimore

Hobgoblin

Gov. William Donald Schaefer's tunnel-vision obsession to bring a National Football League team to Baltimore is reminiscent of Ralph Waldo Emerson's observation: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

Donald Kuethe

Annapolis

ASAP

Hurray for the Baltimore CFL Colts!

Julia Yohn Pickett

Baltimore

Safety for light rail riders

To maintain public confidence that our light rail system continues to be safe and secure for our passengers, the Mass Transit Administration wants your readers to know that we have taken immediate action to effectively guard against the regrettable incident reported in Mary H. Brown's March 9 letter to The Evening Sun.

We want to assure Ms. Brown and all readers that customer safety is, in fact, the very highest priority on all MTA service. In spite of the high volume of safe, reliable service we provide to 300,000 customers every day, we are very conscious of how even the most isolated incident can create an enduring negative perception. . . . As major cities go, our transit service ranks near the top in terms of personal safety and security . . . For the most part our school service operates smoothly. Every day, thousands of young people take buses, the Metro or light rail to and from school or jobs. Most do so without incident. However low the statistics, they can never be low enough.

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