Md. cigarette lawsuit reeks of hypocrisyI do not smoke and...

LETTERS

September 01, 1996

Md. cigarette lawsuit reeks of hypocrisy

I do not smoke and never did, except an occasional cigar when someone gave it to me for a celebration such as having a baby, etc.

I think the cigarette companies are getting the shaft, however, when someone can get $250,000, as reported, for smoking and damaging their health. If they did not know cigarettes were harmful, they had their head in the sand for the last 20 years.

I am also surprised that the state is suing on something that it licenses and taxes. I am sure it has cost the state money in health care but it has a special tax on cigarettes and takes in a lot of money on the sale of tobacco.

The growing and selling of tobacco was the backbone of our economy for many years. If the state can collect on a suit such as this, it probably should give back the tax dollars it took in the first place.

There could be a lot of things placed in the category of putting people in the hospital that cost the state money. Automobiles, for one. How about the people we take care of in drug rehabilitation or the ones we encourage to gamble and end up having to be rehabilitated from gambling?

When are we going to use common sense and stop suing and blaming people for things we should not do, but do anyway? This could tie up our court system for years. Also, we were told the last 5 percent tax on cigarettes that the legislature approved was to pay for the money we lost in health care.

W. Ray Huff

Pasadena

The writer is a former state delegate in Legislative District 31.

Schmoke wants money minus strings

When I read Thomas Waldron's August 13 article on the governor's decision not to sign any slot machine bill, I had to laugh that Mayor Kurt Schmoke wants the state to provide the extra funds he needs for Baltimore City schools but objects to sharing control with the state.

Anne Arundel County school system's Board of Education is appointed and thus controlled by the governor, although the school system budget constitutes about 47 percent of the county's budget. How would the mayor like the governor to be the sole power in deciding who spends 47 percent of the city's budget?

On the other hand, while we don't have the state's best schools, Anne Arundel County had only one failing school this year compared to 37 in the city. Maybe the best thing that could happen to the children in the city schools would be to have the state take them over.

The schools couldn't get much worse and state legislators would nTC no longer be able to blame the city for the schools' failure. Maybe it is time for the city's pride to take a back seat to the needs of the children and let the state give it a try.

Anita Heygster

Pasadena

DNR too lenient on undersized crabs

On August 18, my wife and I were crabbing on a public pier in Kent County. While we where there, we noticed several people keeping crabs less than the 5 inches, point to point, as prescribed by law. Some of these crabs were no larger than 3 inches. Just about every time we use a public pier the same thing happens.

Two days later, I called the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to voice my concern over the blatant disregard of the law. I acknowledged that the DNR is understaffed and cannot be everywhere. However, this on-going problem needs to be addressed. The officer explained to me that when persons are caught with illegal crabs, they are forced to dump them back into the water, usually without further punishment. Also, he informed me that you can keep up to 10 undersized crabs per bushel.

I do not understand DNR's position on this. One, if the minimum size is 5 inches, there should not be anything smaller. Two, if a person has a bushel of crabs that are legal, why would anyone want any that are smaller? This does not help the future of the crab population. Come on DNR, get your head out of the mud and do your job.

Richard Thompson

Severn

Pub Date: 9/01/96

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