Anti-Smoke BigotsHouse Speaker Casper R. Taylor and Senate...


March 24, 1995

Anti-Smoke Bigots

House Speaker Casper R. Taylor and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. are not "shills for the tobacco industry," as implied in your March 10 editorial.

They are responsible leaders with the integrity and intelligence to examine all facts and ramifications, including the unconstitutional implications of the anti-smoking regulation, and the distressed condition of this state's economy.

The Sun would be well advised to imitate Messrs. Taylor and Miller, rather than to denigrate them.

Studies of statistical risk factors for cancer causation show that the milk/lung cancer risk is 2.1, almost twice the risk from second-hand smoke for persons after 40 years of 24-hour-per-day second-hand smoking exposure.

The Archives of Environmental Health published that "social factors were three to four times more important" as risk factors than environmental tobacco exposure.

Moreover, some studies of second-hand smoke, conveniently never used by the Environmental Protection Agency or by The Sun, showed negative correlations, in other words a reduction in the risk of lung cancer due to second-hand smoke.

Regulation against milk or perfume, both more demonstrably health hazards, would be far more logical.

Considering scientific findings, the fear-smear campaign toward smokers is nothing more than a conspiracy of discrimination comparable to the tactics of the Ku Klux Klan.

Does The Sun have the objectivity to examine the facts and revise its editorial opinion? Or should we conclude that The Sun is a shill for the anti-smoking bigots?

L. Lee Cosby


Bay Health

Reading Clarence Britt's March 11 letter, I was amazed that he could draw the conclusion that "the [Chesapeake] bay is back, and there is no need to reduce the nitrogen [from Blue Plains sewage treatment plant] when we examine the facts."

His statement that "except for oysters, creatures are thriving. The bay's water is cleaner and the nourishing underwater vegetation is abundant," showed only his ignorance.

Apparently Mr. Britt has never been on the bay. Underwater vegetation is slowly returning to some areas, but it has not returned in anything like "abundance."

There are two causes for this -- sediment, which blocks sunlight while suspended in the water and smothers plants and marine life when it settles, and algae, which absorbs light before it reaches the plants . . .

As for creatures thriving, Mr. Britt seems to have missed recent reports about the bay's crab population being hard pressed by overfishing . . .

There are a few bright spots, such as the slow return of bay grasses and the recovery of the rockfish. But these do not indicate a return to health so much as a partial and very limited recovery for the bay.

Mark Woodruff

White Hall


Pauline Elliott wrote (letter, March 14) in support of the sterilization of handicapped women. She tells the story of fellow employees who took advantage of her mentally handicapped sister. She was raped and later became pregnant.

The wrongful act was the rape. Sterilization is in no way a response to this criminal act. One might conclude that except for the possibility of a pregnancy the rape would be tolerated.

I am sure this is not Ms. Elliott's intent. I understand, and she

should also understand, the motivation of those who object to sterilization on moral grounds.

incent Ciletti


Trust Fund

Tom Horton wrote a column on March 4 concerning the proposal by Gov. Parris Glendening to raid the Program Open Space trust fund in order to help defray the administrative cost for switching over from an annual to semi-annual real estate tax payment system in this state.

While I heartily endorse moving to a semi-annual real estate tax payment to lower settlement costs in Maryland, the proposal for funding this change says a lot about the lack of political leadership and integrity today.

The Program Open Space trust fund was created out of the very high transfer taxes in this state to acquire and maintain the open space necessary for current and future generations in Maryland.

However, when just a few years ago the state government was facing a serious budgetary shortfall, then Gov. William Donald Schaefer and the legislature turned to this substantial fund to help cover the shortfall.

In a couple of fell swoops, they took approximately $70 million from the trust fund, reducing it to zero (according to Tom Horton, the figure was $250 million, which is much worse).

This practice is akin to a company raiding its employee retirement fund to cover a current year operating deficit.

It is unforgivable.

One of the reasons that closing costs are so high in Maryland is the high transfer costs that are paid every time a piece of real estate changes hands.

But at least those transfer taxes were to be used for needed

parkland and open space throughout our communities in Maryland.

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