Shocking positionAs one who has served several decades...

The Forum

September 07, 1995

Shocking position

As one who has served several decades with Julian Lapides in the Maryland State Senate, I was shocked at the Sunpapers' failure to endorse him for city comptroller.

For all of the years we served together, Senator Lapides was "the conscience of the Senate," resulting in his being the clear choice for chairman of the Ethics Committee.

He also served ably on the very important Budget and Tax Committee and was an outstanding chairman of the joint Budget and Audit Committee. He was truly the "watchdog" of the state's purse strings. All of this experience in fiscal matters makes him superbly qualified to serve as Baltimore's comptroller.

Senator Lapides was also an early sponsor and supporter of the Senate's civil rights legislation -- long before it was the popular thing to do.

If the citizens of Baltimore fail to elect Jack Lapides as their comptroller, they will have missed the opportunity to put into this office a candidate of unquestioned integrity with superb fiscal skills and with the proven ability to serve all of the people of Baltimore.

James Clark Jr.

Ellicott City

Math humor

A hearty "Thank you'' (excuse me, Rex) is once again in order to The Baltimore Sun. While reading the article by Edward N. Wolff (Perspective, Sept. 3), I had a ''hoot."

The concept of ''hoot'' used here is measurable, audible laughter, e.g. laughed until I cried, uproaring, belly-quaking laughter.

Once again, cooked statistics are being stated as facts.

Mr. Wolff states that ''New research, based on data from federal surveys, shows that between 1983 and 1989, the top 20 percent of wealth holders received 99 percent of the total gain in marketable wealth, while the bottom 80 percent of the population got only 1 percent.''

Which federal surveys? What was the sample size of those surveys? How were the sample weights derived? What was the variance of the survey results? I had to get to paragraph 19 before he defined his term ''wealth."

Quoting Mr. Wolff, ''The concept of wealth used here . . . does not include automobiles . . .'' What a convenient definition to support an obviously biased point of view.

This definition plays with the numbers. From the perspective of a statistical analyst I would point out that the percentage of ''wealth'' in terms of automobile ownership by the top 1 percent nasty, filthy, rich is immeasurably small. However, for most people this is not true.

By Mr. Wolff's figures, ''the average American family's wealth adds up to a comparatively meager $52,000." Now I understand that I cannot sell my automobile for the price that I paid for it. But Mr. Wolff is categorically incorrect to assert that this asset is worth $0.00, which his definition of wealth states. I could probably sell the vehicle for 50 percent of the purchase price on the private market today.

My point is that this cavalier (or, worse, deliberate) disallowing of such assets skews the data for the weighted records in the unnamed surveys. There is never a dull moment when reading The Sun.

Albert Thomas Holt


Postal workers

Sometimes an event occurs that is so marvelous, as many people as possible need to know about it. Therefore, it is my pleasure to relate my story.

I am a civil servant in the Charles L. Benton Building at 417 E. Fayette Street. Friday, Sept. 1, I received my paycheck and wrote my bills as I do every other Friday.

Unfortunately, when I posted my bills, I also dropped my paycheck in the mailbox. Horrors! I knew if I waited until 5 p.m. or so I could catch the mail collector, but at that time I need to be picking up my child from day care.

So I called the Post Office. A wonderful woman (whom I found out later was Joanne Rowlins) took my plight to heart and requested that a mail carrier come down to my office and retrieve the mail so that I could ''have my paycheck for the holiday weekend."

Ten minutes later, James Cook showed up, got the mail and took it back to the main Post Office. He, as well, was a pleasure to meet.

I then walked up the street to the Post Office where Officer Stull assured me that I wasn't the first to mail my paycheck and that I certainly wouldn't be the last. He rang Collections, where they were expecting the call.

Soon thereafter, with a minimum of paperwork and a check of my ID, James Cook placed my paycheck in my hand. Time elapsed: 22 minutes.

So I don't care what anyone says about the postal workers, I think they are a terrific bunch of public servants.

Bronwyn Kauffman


Fine educators overcame many hurdles

The article, ''Gifted, black -- they were paid to study elsewhere," (Aug. 14) by Mike Bowler, was fantastic. It was a long time coming.

The experiences of black educators prior to desegregation of graduate schools in Maryland were hard and draining. Those educators were certainly role models for me, as were many others not mentioned in the article.

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