Light for allIt now is 11:30 a.m., and I have just been...

the Forum

August 24, 1994

Light for all

It now is 11:30 a.m., and I have just been driving on the highway between Parole and St. Margarets. And didn't it rain!

I shall cast my votes for those candidates for governor, state Senate and House of Delegates who promise to have enacted a law requiring drivers to turn on lights if windshield wipers are in use.

In fact, I would prefer it to be mandatory that lights be on any time of day; this would take care of dawn and dusk.

I understand there are countries where the vehicular laws require that lights be on whenever the vehicle is in use.

Philip Myers

St. Margarets

Tough talk

Does Helen Bentley actually believe, deep down in her heart and soul, that increasing prison space, doubling up inmates in XTC cells built for one and denying parole to inmates will make a bit of difference on the streets of Baltimore and the rest of Maryland?

If she does, then I would just feel sorry for her naivete.

But my guess is this: Mrs. Bentley, and every other "tough" politician in Washington and around the country, knows very well that prisons and no parole aren't the real answers to crime today.

But as long as Americans continue to believe the "tough talk" that politicians, Republicans and Democrats spout out in newspapers and on the evening news, the prisons will keep on being built and, soon after, filled.

We can't lock our failings away in a prison cell. Just as a criminal is responsible for his/her actions, we as Americans are equally responsible for allowing politicians to build a police state that only looks at the symptoms (crimes) and ignores the disease (poverty and ignorance).)

I pray a reasonable voice makes itself heard before our cities resemble the scenery of the apocalyptic film "Escape From New York." We can do so much better.

Scott L. Paynter

Baltimore

Smoking ad

It's perfectly clear that newspapers make money from advertising, but I take particular offense at another full-page ad regarding non-smoker Marta Kramer and her benevolent view of smokers, in which she includes her mother. I'm really touched!

I am also a non-smoker. Cigarette smoke not only annoys me, it makes me physically sick. I don't allow anyone to smoke around me. If you want to smoke, go outside, but don't pollute my air.

Not all smokers are reasonable or polite. We were at a football game recently at Memorial Stadium. Two guys four rows in front of us had to be told four times not to, and they kept trying to get away with smoking.

Sorry, guys, not when I'm around.

These are the people who need to be regulated because they are either too stupid, too stubborn or too childish to do it themselves. It was obvious that they were bothering the people around them, and they could not have cared less.

I called the tobacco killers' 800 number and told them my views. I am sure they won't put those in their survey.

Maria Alvarez

Ellicott City

Facing up to challenge of crime

Crime becomes a more elusive challenge as each day passes. Meanwhile, it becomes more grizzly and horrific in nature.

Whatever measures are used to shore up the dike seem to break down quickly. Now there is a grandson being held suspect in the brutal beating death of the elderly couple in Guilford. We should all weep.

Now we also have Helen Bentley's idea of "two strikes and you're out." Sounds like just what we need, but can we afford the financial cost? It's sad when finances outweigh human lives in importance, but that's the point we seem to have reached.

One partial solution to try: Enforce the laws we already have. Instead of a new "two or three strikes and you're out" law, why not have truth in sentencing? It's our parole system that needs reform. How ridiculous to give someone a life sentence and have them back on the streets in seven years or less.

The sentence rendered should be the sentence served -- no parole, no appeals. I'm not alone in this idea, but no one seems to explore its possibilities.

Sure, it will take building new prisons and no one wants prisons nearby, etc. But it can't be more expensive than the heavily porked bill before Congress now.

Starting deterrence programs, which should begin in kindergarten and be taught as part of school curriculum throughout the 12 years, would start the process working

from the other end.

The seeds of crime start in early childhood. When will we get the drift?

Ellen P. Young

Lutherville

Baseball strike

Most of us are not aware that baseball owners are immune from our nation's fair-competition laws.

As a result, they are able to deny franchises to cities that deserve them. As a cartel, they have blackmailed cities for tax breaks and they control TV coverage.

The time for Congress to strip the owners of a privilege they are not entitled to is now.

Our fearless leaders should give the fans a break. No group of businessmen are privileged to enjoy a monopoly -- except the dictators of our national pastime. It is a shame that our politicians feel that expediency outweighs principle.

Joseph Lerner

Baltimore

Everyone complains about the business people who will lose money during the baseball strike. The press really plays this up.

How about the untold story of the people who will make more money during this strike -- video sales and rentals, theaters and other tourist attractions?

Nobody mentions these people.

Philip A. Thayer

Baltimore

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