Light Rail honor system breeds crimeRegarding light rail...

the Forum

June 23, 1994

Light Rail honor system breeds crime

Regarding light rail crime and specifically in reference to the calls for elimination of the "honor" system from residents and businesses adversely affected by crime, Diana Rosborough, a Mass Transit Administration spokeswoman, says that:

"We believe the honor system works. It is the only system that is used on the light rails in the country."

Let me ask Ms. Rosborough, if the honor system works, why doesn't the MTA use it on the subway or the bus system, neither of which have proven to create the increased crime created by light rail?

The honor system would save time loading a bus if the driver simply assumed that everyone boarding had a bus pass, and he didn't need to see it or an exact change fare.

Similarly, it would provide easier access to subway stations and eliminate the cost of checking fares upon entry.

Surely people who ride the Metro from downtown to Owings Mills Mall or take the bus to Security Mall are as worthy of using the "honor" system as those who ride light rail to Caldor's in Glen Burnie.

Surely these malls would support such a change, since after all: "The honor systems works."

The MTA needs to face fact. The only reason we have the "honor" system on light rail is that a more rational, secure system like that provided for the bus or metro would have cost lots more money.

If the MTA isn't willing to convert the subway and buses to the "honor" system, then the public must demand of our representatives in the state legislature that the MTA convert the light rail stations to a secured-entry, required-payment system before everyone (but a criminal) is afraid to use it, and it turns into the William Donald Schaefer Memorial White Elephant.

Anita Heygster

Pasadena

Radical fringe

In urging the support of the national Republican Party for the candidacy of Ollie North in Virginia, columnist Mona Charen ("Ollie's our man," June 13) has placed herself among the radical fringe of the conservative movement -- and not even the intelligent radical fringe.

Ollie North behaved like a con man who lied to Congress, showed disdain and contempt for the Constitution of the United States and whose conviction in a court of law was overturned on the smallest of legal technicalities.

Yet Ms. Charen writes that Virginia Republicans should "get behind him completely."

How could any Republican of intelligence, integrity, common sense, taste or conscience vote to send this individual to serve in the American institution (Congress) which he blatantly ridicules, to help create the laws of the land (which he previously broke)?

Laura Puls

Forest Hill

School change

Though not a resident of Baltimore, I have for many years, through chairmanship of the Board of Education Community Mobilization Board and formerly as chairman of the Committee for Equity in Education, been aware of the situation in many of the schools.

That is why I read with great consternation the "call of six City Councilmen to remove EAI" from its role in the school system.

Why? First, while I offer no scientific evidence, it is clear from my visits that the EAI-managed schools have a different spirit than others which are seen as the old way.

Second, things are so bad in many schools that new approaches must be given a chance. The old way is clearly not working.

Third, since the Baltimore City schools are subsidized by state-wide revenues, it is necessary to the credibility of those funding it that the system be open to experimentation.

Finally, there is a moral question to be asked. For whose sake are the schools being run, the teacher or the students?

I understand that many teachers feel discomforted and insecure with the new ways.

But they of all people, the most involved in the future of Baltimore, should enthusiastically embrace all efforts to change.

Everyone I have ever talked to says that above all, change is what is needed most.

The mayor and superintendent of schools should be supported in their courageous efforts to save the schools through appropriate reform efforts.

Rabbi Martin Siegel

Columbia

Physicians are responsible for patients

As a practicing family physician and as president of the 1,200-member Maryland Academy of Family Physicians, I wish to point out several inaccurate generalizations made by Janet Selway in the article "Expanded role sought for nurse practitioners" (June 14).

Nurse practitioners are not better than physicians in helping people cope with their lives and their illnesses.

Family physicians are patient advocates, strongly believing in the doctor/patient relationship. They work to establish partnerships with their patients in an effort to have patients become a part of the decision-making process.

Family physicians are trained to provide continuous, comprehensive care for families.

During their three-year residency training, family physicians learn that there is an art to taking care of families, and they must be able to practice this art using the clinical skills they learned in medical school.

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