What Mandate?Already in their first days of control of...


January 12, 1995

What Mandate?

Already in their first days of control of Congress, the conservatives have stamped their reign as having "the mandate of the people." They really seem to believe they have a "mandate," but I fail to see where one exists.

If you walked into a room of 10 people and four came up to you and complained about the state of the nation, would you call that a good survey of the opinions of the total population of the room?

No, certainly not. However, it does represent 40 percent of the room.

Let's say 90 people joined you in the room and you asked for a show of hands of those who agreed with your interpretation of the opinions of the first four people.

If 20 of those 100 people raised their hands in agreement, would that be a "mandate"? No, certainly not. It would only represent 20 percent of the population.

Well, the elections that the conservatives are calling their "mandate of the people" is analogous to the scenario above.

Out of the total population of registered voters, just under 40 percent voted. Of those, just barely a majority (or just over half of them) voted for the conservatives.

You can't have a mandate when you don't even have a majority. There is no mandate when only 20 percent is the majority.

I am hopeful that the real mandate of the people will be more clearly proclaimed in 1996. I don't think it is as right-wing conservative as Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Ralph Reed and Bob Dole wish it was.

On the other hand, what were the other 80 people doing while those 20 were determining our government? Getting doughnuts and coffee?

I hope the effects of the sugar and caffeine last until November 1996 and the next election. Then perhaps we'll see something more akin to a "mandate of the people."

Devon Osborne


Back Pain

In a Dec. 26 letter to the editor, Samuel Esterson wrote in response to articles about lower back pain. In his letter he made several false or misleading statements.

Most physical therapists have not had six years of schooling. Most therapists have four years of education.

Physical therapists do not perform spinal manipulation. Physical therapists who perform spinal manipulation are practicing outside their legal scope of practice and are in violation of Maryland law.

Physical therapists are not the best-trained health care professionals to evaluate musculoskeletal disorders, trauma and back pain.

Physical therapists are not permitted to perform many tests that are often necessary to differentiate back problems that they can and should treat from conditions that they shouldn't treat.

Frequently X-ray examination and laboratory blood tests are needed to diagnose cancer, prostate inflammation or bone fractures that can mimic simple back complaints.

A diagnosis is the first step to proper treatment of health problems. Physical therapists provide many important services; however, diagnoses and spinal manipulation are not among them.

Neil B. Cohen


The writer is a chiropractor.

Praising BDC

I was disturbed by the recent coverage of the Baltimore Development Corporation and Honora Freeman that appeared in your paper. The articles were very negative with little mention of BDC's successes.

Over the years, Charles Center Inner Harbor Management Corporation merged with the Baltimore Economic Development Corporation and Market Center Development Corporation to become BDC.

While BDC has assumed the responsibilities of all three, the staff has been reduced to less than any one of the predecessor organizations.

In spite of this situation, BDC, under the leadership of Ms. Freeman, has been able to maintain a staff of dedicated professionals that makes a significant difference in Baltimore.

The most recent example is Baltimore's successful bid for the $100 million federal grant. While many who contributed to this success were praised in a recent article in your paper ("Federal Grant Capped Months of Orchestration"), I was surprised to see no mention of BDC, the organization that led the effort to prepare the grant proposal.

Michael Seipp, while executive vice president of BDC, headed the entire effort, assisted by other BDC staff. Mr. Seipp, Michelle Whelley, Larisa Salamacha and others worked countless hours of overtime throughout the summer and fall, orchestrating community involvement, and writing and rewriting the proposal.

The Sun was quick to condemn BDC for its perceived failures, but reluctant to praise its successes.

Edward M. Hord


The writer is a principal in Anshen & Allen, architects and planners.

Special Education Works

The letter from Geoff Smoot Jan. 5 gives no indication where he has gotten his knowledge about special education, particularly the intensities 5 and 6, but he very blithely assumes the students in these placements are ineducable and the "burden" of their attention should be placed to some agency outside the public education system.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

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