Whitewater counsel busy making moneyWe now know that the...

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April 20, 1996

Whitewater counsel busy making money

We now know that the Whitewater investigations continue because of political motivations to tarnish the Clinton re-election effort.

Is it also possible that the independent counsel, Kenneth W. Starr, has found another goose that has been laying golden eggs at his door step? Mr. Starr, who earns in excess of $1 million per year as a Washington lawyer, continues to represent high-profile clients privately while he supposedly conducts his government duties at an hourly rate that equals $115,000 per year.

He is not on a leave of absence from his private law practice. His independent counsel's office has been conducting investigations since early March, but Mr. Starr has never appeared in the courtroom. How could he, when as a private attorney he recently represented the tobacco industry in a suit heard in New Orleans? The previous week he represented a private client before the U.S. Supreme Court in a labor law case.

I call upon the American Bar Association to investigate the independent counsel. The taxpayers are being taken. No wonder lawyers have such a fine image.

Barry Tevian Whitman

Pikesville

Profits to be made denying health care

Business reporter M. William Salganik's articles on Aetna's $8.9 billion purchase of U.S. Healthcare highlights what is wrong with managed care.

As he points out, U.S. Healthcare is so attractive to Aetna because U.S. Healthcare has the highest operating margin (read profits), and the lowest share of the premium dollar (less than 75 percent) spent on medical care, of any large, publicly traded health maintenance organization.

U.S. Healthcare manages to spend less money on medical care by refusing to cover pre-existing medical conditions, by cherry-picking (offering health insurance to healthy people), by blacklisting (refusing to offer health insurance to sick people) and by refusing to pay for appropriate expensive tests, expensive specialists and lengthy hospital stays.

Last year, the CEO of U.S. Healthcare was paid $3.5 million. He will reap $900 million from Aetna's purchase of his company.

For the CEO of a health care company to be rewarded with millions of dollars while 40 million Americans have no health insurance, while many more millions of Americans are under-insured, and while many of the people paying premiums to U.S. Healthcare can't get authorization for appropriate tests, specialists and hospital stays, is a national disgrace.

Suzanne Cohn

Baltimore

Many users despoil Robert E. Lee Park

Olga Owens' April 3 letter blaming all of the ills of Robert E. Lee Park on mountain bikes completely misses the facts.

I am a 10-year resident who lives within one block of the park and who walks and cycles in the area.

I have witnessed damage caused by hikers, birders and runners who also widen and erode trails by choosing not to wade through the mud puddles. I see people with baby strollers leaving used diapers, numerous dogs leaving their waste and adjacent property owners who cut trees on parkland in order to block access to trails and preserve their preferred view.

I have seen trees left strung with fishing line and hooks, illegally hunted deer left gutted on trails and Ms. Owens' ''pristine'' areas left despoiled from the dumping of car engines, home heating oil tanks, car tires, broken bottles, old sofas, smashed televisions and any other rubbish one can imagine.

Now, part of what many had assumed was parkland is up for auction to the highest bidder, presumably for 30 homesites. If Robert E. Lee park is damaged, there are many people who share the blame. It is a small park in an urban area with a large and diverse group of users.

H

Blaming all of its problems on cyclists is pure fantasy.

Douglas Swanson

Baltimore

The writer is past president, Lake Falls Association.

Show the president more respect

I was pleased, recently, to see President Clinton throw out the first ball at the Orioles home opener. I was also pleased that, for the most part, he was greated by polite, even enthusiastic, applause. I was not pleased, however, to hear the smattering of boos mixed in with the applause.

As the president is a liberal, I assume that those booing were not liberal. I don't think it would be too great a leap to assume it was conservatives doing the booing. I find this curious.

Am I wrong, or have conservatives in this country been complaining a lot lately about the lack of respect being shown for our country and its symbols? If somewhere in America a kid doesn't stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, conservative forces are brought to bear faster than a heat-seeking missile.

Yet the president of the United States can be booed. I have a clue for you folks. The president isn't a mere symbol, he (and maybe someday, she) is the holder of an office that is a living embodiment of everything this country stands for.

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