Justice program funds are threatenedI read with great...

LETTERS

April 27, 1996

Justice program funds are threatened

I read with great interest your recent article on how Arizonans are getting computerized legal assistance -- not only because of the innovative nature of the programs but also because I sit on the board of directors of the organization that provided the funds to test the usefulness of this approach.

The State Justice Institute, created by Congress to award grants to improve the quality of justice in state courts nationwide, granted the money to demonstrate and evaluate both the Quick Court kiosk and the Self-Service Center.

Despite its long record of supporting breakthroughs such as the Arizona programs, SJI finds itself in an annual battle to retain its congressional funding (about $13 million a year). By drawing public attention to SJI's good works, The Sun may help Congress keep alive the only part of the federal government dedicated to bringing justice to the American people with greater speed and simplicity.

Sandra A. O'Connor

Towson

Conservation devices to save water, power

I am in agreement with the suggestion and logic of the letter, ''American hotels need to conserve water,'' by E. Standish Bradford Jr. (The Sun, April 16).

This past summer while in Australia and New Zealand, we saw two devices that achieved conservation of water and of electricity.

In hotels and public restrooms, the flush tanks in the toilets have two levers or knobs: one of these is marked for half a flush, and is obviously meant to be used for flushing after using the facilities for urination. As one can imagine, this saves enormous quantities of water per toilet each day.

Our hotel rooms also had a clever energy-saving device: the lights and air conditioning in the rooms can be switched on only after inserting your room card into a slot near the door. The card is atting off the electricity in the room. Upon your return, the power can be resumed by inserting the card again. Obviously, there is no needless consumption of electricity by lights burning or the air conditioner cooling an empty room during the time that you are out taking in the sights.

I believe that these devices should be easy to install, relatively inexpensive and definitely cost-effective.

Resources such as water and electricity, though plentiful in our blessed land, are not inexhaustible and limitless. A voluntary effort for installation of these and similar devices will add immeasurably to conservation of precious resources.

ijay Abhyankar

Bel Air

Legislators want to hide 'free lunches'

Oh, what insight we get into the ethical consciences of our legistors from the April 7 article, ''Lobbyists pick up $400,000 tab to entertain politicians.'' It seems that some legislators find the requirement to report their attendance at lobbyists' functions inconvenient and unnecessary.

What these legislators deem harmless, I brand conflicts of interest. Isn't that what you call taking ''free lunches'' from those you regulate? I would prefer that such practices be made illegal, but, for now, the reporting requirement is useful for defining the scope of these misdeeds.

How else would we have learned which special interests spent a whopping $400,000 to court the good favor of our legislators?

John Haus

Baltimore

Are questions sex harassment?

A corollary to "don't ask ther ask or tell? And why should asking or telling not be considered to be sexual harassment?

Philip Myers

St. Margarets

Stockholder revolt the cure for CEO greed

The public and the media are outraged at some CEO compensation packages, such as Robert Allen's of AT&T, where tens of millions of dollars are awarded to one individual for corporate performance that is poor at best.

To add insult to injury, AT&T's elimination of 40,000 jobs was necessitated by this same CEO's earlier decisions.

Occasionally, board members suggest that it's necessary to pay their friends and fellow CEOs huge sums in order to attract and retain talent. Evidence from other industrialized nations, and common sense, suggest the contrary.

There are many brilliant, ambitious and highly-effective young executives who are eager to assume CEO responsibilities for a paltry million or two.

The stricture is in the structure. The fact is that corporate ownership is large and diluted, and the board of directors (who make compensation decisions) are usually selected by the CEO, not by the shareholders.

The greed, arrogance and inequity, however, may be creating a backlash that will produce change.

To protest Robert Allen's compensation, and others like it, a number of pension funds have recently decided to withhold their votes for directors, and voters are now beginning to question the tax deductibility of Marie Antoinette-like sums paid to mediocre employees.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Schmoke doesn't talk about bureaucrats

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