Too much power is the problemWhy is it that Baltimore Gas...

the Forum

June 03, 1994

Too much power is the problem

Why is it that Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. is not taken to task for double standards?

When the community in the Randallstown townhouse court was besieged with a relentless siren alarm from an unattended home for five or six days, The Evening Sun indicated that BGE "can't shut off power to the house because it might damage appliances."

If you remember Jan. 19, BGE didn't hold that reasoning then when it arbitrarily shut off power several times throughout the day, and throughout the state.

That damaged appliances in my home that were on surge protectors, no less. Just how many others had this happen?

And now we get an advertisement saying that BGE will install a surge protector in our homes for a continuing monthly fee of nearly $6.

What's more, they say that we will be "protected" from up to $10,000 in damages, provided that such damage occurs through this equipment rented from them.

It appears that we aren't the only ones being ripped off here. It now seems the manufacturers of UL-approved surge-protected outlets are also in dutch with the power companies.

Why else would the utility service come up with their own protective device, and then tell us we can only "collect" if we use only their products?

If this isn't a monopolistic practice, there's a new dictionary somewhere.

Daniel W. McAndrew

Bel Air

Needless war

Another Memorial Day come and gone. One more time, we remember the deeds of the unnecessary dead and maimed. As though our remembrances could ever blot out their miserable sufferings.

So we don't recall hospitals and missing limbs and shattered families. No, what we choose to remember are flags and bugles, drums and parades, heroes and medals, speeches and neat cemeteries.

But what we should be remembering, above all, are leaders arrogant and venal, inept and incompetent, untrustworthy and hypocritical, corrupt and corrupting, those who send innocents to slaughter in the name of freedom.

When, in fact, the innocent and ignorant patriots who are crippled and killed are really pawns in the great American game of politics.

Has there ever been an American conflict, since the Civil War, that could not have been avoided by decent and honest leadership? Will we ever learn?

G. A. Geppi

Baltimore

Helped strangers

On May 25, in the middle of the rush hour in the afternoon -- just seconds before the storm broke -- Debbie Volpini rescued our family from our disabled vehicle, dangerously stopped dead on the outer loop of I-695 near the Belair Road exit.

With three small children and a dog in her van, she spotted us holding on to each other while clutching our most important belongings as we moved away from our smoking car, fearful that it might explode.

This fine young lady's selfless action and kindly manner whisked us out of harm's way, comforted us, perfect strangers.

We will not forget the image of her, dressed for summer, dripping from a torrential rain, graciously escorting us out of her van after a ride to a safety shelter.

How fortunate her children are to witness their mother's good deeds toward strangers and to consider them natural.

Who says there aren't decent and civilized people any more?

Oscar and Ruth Freedman

Baltimore

Howling dogs

While I feel sorry for the people in Randallstown's problems with an inconsiderate neighbor leaving his burglar alarm on to harass the neighbors with loud noise, let these people come to my neighborhood.

We have a whole lot of inconsiderate neighborhood people who let their dogs out all night to bark and howl, and I'll bet that they are louder than any burglar alarm.

These people must be deaf. These dogs never let up. It is almost impossible to sleep.

So let these people come to my neighborhood and try to get some sleep.

Philip A. Thayer

Baltimore

Arsenio Hall

Whatever the reasons behind Arsenio Hall's departure from late night television, our popular culture will be worse off without his unique voice and sensibility in our common life.

Arsenio Hall was more than the black voice of late night television, although he certainly took his responsibilities in that role very seriously.

When South Central Los Angeles exploded after the initial Rodney King verdict two years ago, he put the issue front and center, in contrast to Jay Leno and David Letterman, who keep their topical references restricted to the monologue.

And he made it a priority to bring black performers and stars to a broader audience.

But he was more than a spokesman for African-Americans. He was also a voice for political awareness and social inclusiveness. Unique among late night hosts, he talked about things that matter, like crime and violence and the agony of the cities.

He created a public space to talk about race, but not only race. Gay and lesbian stars like Melissa Etheridge and Harvey Fierstein talked abut their real lives on his show, because he didn't gloss over controversial issues the way the other hosts do.

If not for Arsenio, where would Magic Johnson have gone to talk plainly about his HIV status? Where would candidate Bill Clinton have gone to play sax one minute and talk about his vision for the nation the next?

Arsenio was real and Arsenio was relevant. He proved that it's possible to bring together popular culture and social awareness while still making a profit on American television. For that, he will be missed.

Matthew Weinstein

Baltimore

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