Government needn't sell sex, Bartlett repliesYour May 29...

LETTERS

June 09, 1996

Government needn't sell sex, Bartlett replies

Your May 29 editorial opposed passage of my amendment to the National Security Authorization bill that would end the taxpayer-subsidized distribution of sexually explicit magazines and videos at Defense Department facilities.

You argued that "military stores don't subsidize these magazines." That is not true. Military stores are built with appropriated tax dollars and sell products and services with no sales tax. Any way you look at it, this is a taxpayer subsidy.

Soldiers have the constitutional right to buy this kind of stuff, and my amendment in no way restricts this right. However, the government has no constitutional obligation to sell it to them.

There are substantial numbers of women serving with honor and distinction in the enlisted and officer ranks of our military and 57 percent of active duty personnel are married. I am surprised The Sun would want the federal government to continue to use hard-earned taxpayers' dollars to subsidize and thereby promote the distribution of this kind of material which demeans women.

The House of Representatives approved my amendment to end this abuse of taxpayer money without debate or opposition. I expect the Senate to follow suit and the president to sign it into law.

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett

Washington

The writer represents Maryland's 6th Congressional District.

Your editorial deriding Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett for his move to remove "girlie magazines" from military bases was way off the mark. I don't know if the writer was ever in the military however, I spent five years in the service, having enlisted at the age of 17 and know first-hand the vulnerability of young men away from home.

The men in our military are supposed to represent this country's finest. And yet we provide them with trash to fill their lonely hours and liquor at extremely low cost. I have seen naive young men destroyed by the accessibility of these trashy magazines, coupled with the plentiful booze. Is it any wonder bases have relationship problems with the local towns and we present a poor image of the U.S. citizen to our foreign hosts? The incident on Okinawa is one of the few which has been picked up by our news media. There are many which are diplomatically settled.

Our military should be providing an environment which encourages young people to improve themselves during their tour rather than provide degrading enticements to pull them down.

No only should the girlie books be dropped, but the accessibility of booze on base, too. However, this old soldier knows that money talks and pornography and alcohol are big bucks.

Ronald J. Proskey

Hanover

'School? Are you kidding?' We shouldn't be

As a mother of school-aged children, I was appalled by your front-page story of May 28 entitled "School? Are you kidding?", about the poor Memorial Day attendance in Baltimore County public schools. The attitudes of teachers, parents and students, and the light-hearted tone of your article, reinforce the impression that education is no longer important to the citizens of this country.

What kind of parents take so little responsibility for their children and their children's education that they would let their child "play hooky" simply because another child was allowed to do so?

What kind of teacher would whine about not being able to "spend the day with our families" and grumble that "regulations" and an "act of God" forced them to be there when so much time has been lost over the winter and our children are performing so poorly on tests and compared to the children of other nations? No, missing five days more of school will not make anyone an "idiot," but the attitude underlying those statements surely will.

Katy Benjamin

Ellicott City

Council allowances aren't legal

A recent letter to the editor raised a legitimate question about Howard County Council expense accounts. As a minimum, some education is warranted although the letter may have been politically initiated.

The charter writers reviewed all of the Maryland Home Rule County Charters, and perhaps a dozen from outside of Maryland. We also talked to the charter writing boards of the Maryland home rule counties. After we completed preparing some four drafts and held scores of hearings of the document, we spent another full year explaining the charter to the citizen/voters of Howard County before it was adopted by voters.

The charter reads: "Compensation: Each member of the council shall be paid for the performance of public duties under this charter, the sum of $3,600 per annum. Such salary shall be in full compensation for all services required by this charter to be performed by the members of the council, but shall not preclude reasonable and necessary expenses as may be provided in the budget."

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