Strings AttachedI thought it was interesting and...


April 23, 1995

Strings Attached

I thought it was interesting and informative that your April 12 editorial, "Shame on the Senate," ran on the same day as staff writer William Zorzi's Maryland news section article, "A shopper's guide to legislative seats."

Mr. Zorzi points out that the average cost of a state Senate seat is now approaching $100,000 -- for a job paying $29,000.

Obviously, candidates for the state Senate are seeking more than a modest pay check for their efforts. While a few may be motivated by selfless public service, it should be evident that most state senators are seeking a return greater than their nominal salary.

In your editorial, you mention that Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller led the fight for continuation of Senate scholarships and for weak restraints on the excesses of lobbyists.

Not surprisingly, in Mr. Zorzi's article, readers are told Mr. Miller raised $650,000 for his re-election.

Obviously, those contributing substantial sums to the Miller campaign are expecting more than his gratitude in return. Based on your editorial, it would appear that Mr. Miller is giving his supporters good value for their contributions.

The only answer is for the public to wake up to the fact that politicians who are able to raise these substantial sums must then vote in line with their contributors' wishes.

Paul Streckfus


Joy of Medicine

The April 3 column by Tim Baker about legislation instigated by Maryland doctors to control health maintenance organizations right on target. Naturally, if something is working, the legislators will throw a monkey wrench in it.

We belong to an HMO, Columbia Medical, and I can't tell you what a joy it is not to have to wrestle with all that paperwork that comes out of Medicare and the supplementary insurance companies.

We have never had better medical care. When my husband had a serious problem with his eyes, they sent him to the Johns Hopkins Eye Clinic, the best in the country.

When I had an ear problem, they sent me to the best ear, nose and throat specialist in Annapolis. We get annual health examinations, preventive medicine, nutritional information.

So far I have had two primary care physicians. More knowledgeable and caring doctors would be hard to find.

When my 92-year-old mother came up from Florida, I went back to struggling with fee-for-service doctors.

We always had long waits in their offices, their bedside manners were nil, they never explained anything and resented it if you asked questions.

Often they would not accept Medicare, and you had to pay and then get the money back. Sometimes you couldn't get it all back.

AMy mother died in August, and I am still struggling with reams of incomprehensible forms. How an elderly person is supposed to cope with this I don't know.

If our legislators bow to the medical lobby and deprive the general public of the only chance for high-quality care at a controlled cost and no paperwork, they will discover why the public is fed up with politicians and in revolt.

Joyce Morris



The April 1 article about Dr. Robert Gordon of Johns Hopkins University and the book, "The Bell Curve" by Herrnstein and Murray, produced the expected incoherent response from Samuel L. Banks (Letters, April 15).

Apparently lacking the mathematical sophistication necessary to appreciate the overwhelming statistical data meticulously assembled in the book, Mr. Banks resorted to the fashionable

but irresponsible charge of racism.

Paul Slepian


What a Guy!

How very gratifying was Neal R. Peirce's superb March 27 essay on Henry Cisneros, secretary of housing and urban development.

Mr. Peirce's penetrating and deserving defense of Mr. Cisneros is truly a lesson in the need for development in history, democracy, the need for character and quality in the conduct of man.

As a real estate developer having much association with HUD, I say Mr. Peirce's insight and description of the man Cisneros, his real character, contribution and purpose are necessary to us all in the realm of human caring and the health of this most vital of government services.

I beg that Mr. Pierce accept my application for membership in his Committee of Common Sense.

Maurice P. Freedlander


Blaming FDR for Current Problems

Thomas V. DiBacco's April 9 Perspective article, "Legacy Under Siege," was basically a shallow and incomplete review of the New Deal and FDR.

Mr. DiBacco and critics of Roosevelt convict him of "providing federally funded relief through jobs, housing and subsidies."

Frankly, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the great dams of the Pacific Northwest and several parts of the Works Progress Administration should not be carelessly characterized as "relief and jobs." These projects, among others, were investments in America's infrastructure and future which have paid handsome dividends in terms of promoting economic growth.

Never before or since the New Deal have there been investments in America that produced such long-term economic benefits.

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