Government's Gone Too Far in Banning Smoking
I think the ban against smoking in public places should not be passed. I am not a smoker but I do think that smokers have rights. Most restaurants have non-smoking areas. If non-smokers not like second-hand smoke, they can sit in that area. The state of Maryland would lose money to other businesses out-of-state because people would go out of state to work or have dinner without worrying about the law.
Second-hand smoke is deadly, but there has to come a point where it is not the government's decision on our actions. For example, there are many elderly people living in nursing homes who have smoked for most of their lives. Their lives revolve
around having a cigarette and for now that is the one thing they live for.
I do not think the government should take that away from them. I think Gov. Parris Glendening is taking his office too far in making our decisions. I think this law should not be passed.
The writer is a fourth-grader at Bodkin Elementary School.
As chairman of the Anne Arundel County House delegation subcommittee that recommended a compromise proposal to alter our county school board selection process, I would like to amplify staff writer Carol Bowers' March 5 article regarding the subcommittee recommendations.
While the subcommittee recommended, as a compromise, adoption of the legislative proposal to create a nominating commission to screen candidates and require the governor to make appointments from a list of three names submitted by the commission, it did so recognizing that its recommendation was not a panacea, but an antidote for the serious circumvention problem that has plagued the selection process in recent years.
There has been justifiable, widespread public dissatisfaction with the current process because our two most recent former county executives, in concert with former Gov. William Donald Schaefer, slapped the public in the face by overlooking the School Board Nominating Convention's recommendations in favor of their own preferred school board selections.
The school board nominating commission bill recommended by the subcommittee would sever this circumvention problem and, I hope, restore a measure of public interest and confidence in the selection process.
John R. Leopold
The writer is a state delegate representing Legislative District 31.
'Mr. Al's' Gifts
Pasadena Elementary is a treasure hidden away in Anne Arundel County. This treasure chest overflows with caring individuals who always go beyond the call of duty.
The best of the best gems, Alvin Talley, will be going to another school in the county. Mr. Al's title is not teacher, but should be. By example, he has taught our children many important lessons -- to be courteous, to share, to care, to be yourself, to always work hard, to do the best you can at all times and to enjoy whatever you are doing. . . .
I am sorry Mr. Talley is leaving our school, but I am ecstatic that other children in Anne Arundel will experience his lessons. After all, a true treasure is meant to be shared.
Rape of Our Nest Egg
For the last four decades, I have been a Democrat who opts to support various Republican candidates who appeal to my senses (i.e., Spiro). I have finally neared the pinnacle that many hard-working, middle-class individuals strive to achieve . . . ahh, retirement!
But I have fears, and perhaps a little anger, that the Social Security to which I and my employers have contributed may be in trouble. Why at this late juncture am I just learning of the weakening financial structure of my golden age retirement fund? . . . I wish to advise the Congress, the president and the public that survival is at stake for those of us who are threatened by the siphoning off of "our" Social Security to which we have given and given throughout our adult lives. We have not agreed to Social Security as a catchall welfare program. I'm positive that most of us who have been part of the working force . . . have strong feelings concerning the rape of our nest egg. Perhaps, to some, this may appear arrogant and/or self-serving, but we have worked hard all our lives and Social Security is not an award, but an investment for those who have invested.
Given the dynamic of the evolving global economy, with multi-national corporations loyal to no nation and accountable only to their own interests, the fundamental issues in the coming years will be job security and declining wages.
There are people who defraud and abuse the present "welfare" system. It also should be said that there is a large segment of the population who work long, hard hours at low wages, which are declining in real dollars each year. In an economy with a built-in factor of unemployment, their jobs are subject to the whims of the "free market" and the Federal Reserve Board.
Something is wrong when the U.S. government subsidizes tobacco companies and agri-business, bails out the savings and loans and wealthy investors in the Mexican economy, maintains a War Department budget greater than the military expenditures of the rest of the world combined, while working people who often hold two or more jobs cannot afford to pay rent or feed their families without the stigma of going on welfare.
Something is wrong when chief executive officers of multi-national corporations pay themselves millions in salaries and bonuses while laying off hundreds of employees to cut costs. . . .
The balanced budget amendment was a cop-out. The government must retain the ability to borrow and shift funds to invest in worthwhile projects. For instance, military expenditures and talent could be re-directed to rebuilding cities, providing
jobs and economic stimulus to depressed areas.
RE Lee Lears