Due to an editing error, a word was dropped from a letter...


January 30, 1995

Due to an editing error, a word was dropped from a letter to the editor from Ronald E. Alper that was published yesterday . It should have read: "Mr. Walker is right: The Stalinist Romanian regime Mr. Codrescu lived under did deaden that nation's spirit."

+ The Sun regrets the errors.

Codrescu's Point

I had to re-read Andrei Codrescu's Dec. 26 column to make sure Ron Walker (letter, Jan. 9) and I had read the same one.

Perhaps Mr. Walker is not familiar with Mr. Codrescu's dry wit and his tendency toward satire, irony and exaggeration to make a point.


Does Mr. Walker really believe that Mr. Codrescu was applauding the fact that the paranoia which developed under Stalinist Romania led to the family value of keeping one's mouth shut?

Does he also genuinely believe that were there more snitching, the drug problem would immediately be solved?

Any long-time reader of Mr. Codrescu's columns (and admirer of Amy Salganik's thoughtful accompanying drawings) recognizes that the man revels in the freedoms, excitement and occasional zaniness this country offers.

His point is that if everyone begins snitching on each other, much of that freedom and excitement may be extinguished. People become afraid to speak out for what they believe for fear that someone will report them.

Mr. Codrescu is merely saying that perhaps we as a nation should take a step back and consider the potential consequences of laws that promote turning in friends, neighbors and relatives.

No reasonable person would disagree with Mr. Walker's point that society ought to obey its laws.

Mr. Codrescu and others are simply saying that perhaps more thought ought to be given to the consequences of enacting certain laws.

While the "snitch" laws may satisfy some short-term problem, they may ultimately destroy some of the rights upon which this country was founded.

Mr. Walker is right: the Stalinist Romanian regime under which Mr. Codrescu did deaden that nation's spirit.

Does Mr. Walker also seek to deaden America's spirit by creating a system where everyone is constantly worried that the next guy might turn them in?

I hope not.

Ronald E. Alper


Election Judges

I think a thorough review of election practices in Maryland would be an excellent outcome of Ellen Sauerbrey's challenge.

In defense of election judges, however, I would like to describe my own experience as a Republican judge in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County over the past five years.

I know that it is extremely difficult to find competent people who are willing to serve as election judges.

In the months preceding the primary, the newspapers in Anne Arundel County ran pleas from the Elections Board asking people to step forward and serve as judges.

After the primary the pleas continued; for some judges who served in the primary, one experience was enough.

Being an election judge is not an easy job. We report for duty at 6 a.m. to begin setting up the polling place.

When the doors open an hour later, there are usually dozens of people in line, and many of them are inpatient because they don't want to be late for work.

Many voters have no idea where their registration cards are. Quite a few don't know where their precinct is. Some are so frail because of age or illness that they require special help from the judges.

Ideally, an election judge should possess an abundance of physical stamina to endure the long day.

The ideal judge also needs excellent eyesight, superb hearing, a clear handwriting, a devotion to detail and the patience of Job. It's a tall order.

I have been fortunate, I think, because the judges with whom I've served have been, without exception, disciplined and careful.

They've also been much older than I, retirees in their sixties and seventies. Younger people are not available; they are at work.

Uniform training of judges and uniform procedures probably would help.

But the public should be aware that elections boards do not have a vast army of workers from whom to choose.

In many cases they do the best they can with the resources they have.

Sally K. Craig


Importance of Auto Lights

May I call your attention to the important issue that is related to the use of headlights during the day?

On foggy or rainy days it is very important to have the headlights on.

This will prevent the accidental "bumping," when a car is bent on leaving a parking spot or turning right at the intersections or passing another car.

Nowadays, when a car is light colored, such as beige or gray, it's important that the lights are on. Otherwise the driver of another car may drive onto the unlighted car, causing an accident.

In its January/February issue, Maryland Motorist stresses the importance of having the car lights on during adverse weather conditions, especially foggy or darkened skies.

Lydia S. Waters


Relative Changes

Michael Dresser's Jan. 1 examination of the potential end of telecommunications monopolies misses an important point, namely that the end may come to business customers only.

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