It's time to legislate for general interestYour March 8...


March 25, 1996

It's time to legislate for general interest

Your March 8 editorial, ''Let's lower auto insurance rates,'' was right on the money. So is the Glendening administration in trying to reform this situation.

Frankly, I don't find myself in agreement with The Sun or the governor too often, but I am happy to be able to do so this time.

It is long past time that legislators paid attention to the wishes and needs of the population. They should be more concerned with the general welfare of all of the people in the state and less concerned with the welfare of doctors, lawyers and insurance companies.

Your second editorial, ''Port treading water,'' is again right on target. This time, however, the governor apparently is not.

The maintaining of a fully viable port facility should be of major concern to legislators. It is difficult to understand why it is not. If, as you say, this local industry contributes 87,000 jobs, it is very important.

The environment is important, too, but there must be a way to resolve the two concerns. Sometimes industry crosses the line in failing to consider environmental matters.

In recent years, however, it is frequently the environmentalists who have had tunnel vision and considered only their own narrow point of view.

Legislators must realize that the times are changing. Lobbyists are becoming increasingly unpopular and rightly so.

It might be a very good idea for legislators to pay less attention to special interests and more to the general interest.

Stephen H. Bartlett


Blacks in county had better scores

Many Baltimore County teachers were baffled by the ad hominem attack by the NAACP on Superintendent Anthony Marchione. The organization blamed him for the poor performance of black county students on recent Maryland performance tests. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Had the NAACP bothered checking, they would have found that black students in Baltimore County performed 1 to 10 percentage points better than black students statewide in all 18 categories for grades 3, 5 and 8.

For example, black males in grade 3 had a 20.4 percent satisfactory rate in math versus the state average for black males of 17.9 percent. Baltimore County black females were 43.7 percent satisfactory in grade 8 writing skills while the state average for the same group was 33.4 percent.

On the other hand, results were mixed -- some better, some worse -- for county Asian and white students when compared to their state counterparts. Percentile rankings statewide show wide disparities among the races. Asians outscored whites and whites outscored blacks.

Let's look at what makes some students more successful than others. Enough with pointed fingers and power plays. They don't help anyone.

David G. O'Neill


Enough to enforce existing gun laws

The writer of a March 13 article, "Anti-gun policy pulls 814 firearms off city streets this year," may have intended to gather support for the governor's gun bill. However, when considered in a rational manner without the emotion of political hype, just the opposite becomes glaringly apparent.

The good police were enforcing existing laws that have been in effect since 1969 but have been shamefully unenforced up until now. The resulting inexorable runaway increase in crime was cleverly but unconscionably covered up by constant emotional calls for yet more laws.

Whether we citizens buy one or 100 guns per month is totally irrelevant, for these are not the guns used in criminal activity. Except for an insignificant percentage of guns privately traded between collectors and hobbyists, all handguns are purchased through federally licensed dealers involving a system completely controlled by the state police.

You should quite properly ask why weren't these laws enforced when enacted and how did all these guns get on the street illegally and in the wrong hands in the first place?

Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier is, for whatever reason, doing exactly the right thing in arresting those who violate the law and confiscating their weapons. The overwhelming number of thoughtful, law-abiding citizens applaud Mr. Frazier's actions. Keep up the good work and don't indulge in any of the governor's Hand Gun Control Inc. snake oil.

Donald K. Tag

Havre de Grace

The port needs taller tunnels, too

I agree with the March 8 editorial concerning the depth of the channel into Baltimore. You would have been even more to the point if you had at least mentioned a second problem plaguing our beleaguered port: the low clearances in the Mount Royal and Harpers Ferry tunnels that prevent rail shipments of double-stacked containers westward from the Port of Baltimore.

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