Dynamometer test fight has stalledThe status of the bills...

Letters

March 16, 1997

Dynamometer test fight has stalled

The status of the bills presently before the House and Senate committees that would save the public from compulsory dynamometer testing this June are in critical danger of failure.

I have been following this issue closely, and feel that the public deserves to know what's going on in Annapolis.

We now have only three weeks remaining in the current session. If Senate Bill 278 and House Bill 760 have not completed their journeys through the Senate and House within the remaining weeks of the session, the bills die and compulsory dyno is the law in Maryland.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening has promised that Maryland will have compulsory dyno by June 1, when the temporary moratorium expires. The governor does not want these bills to progress, and they're not. This is no coincidence.

No excuses, Mr. Glendening. We all understand the pecking order and the buck most definitely stops at his desk.

JoAnna Melton-Richardson

Severna Park

Car collisions down; why is litigation up?

Carroll County lawyer Jay Irwin Block's March 9 letter ("Del. Leopold should investigate PIP abuses"), which seeks to deflect the issue of excessive insurance rates toward the alleged unfair handling of Personal Injury Protection claims by the insurance industry, cannot go unchallenged.

Every citizen should be outraged by the fact that Maryland has the highest litigation rate relative to automobile accident claims in the nation; 65 percent of all auto accidents result in a claimant being represented by an attorney.

It was not surprising that a Baltimore grand jury was impaneled in January to investigate the proliferation of frivolous personal injury lawsuits, despite a drop in motor vehicle collisions.

Motorists who believe that their insurers have not treated them fairly have recourse under existing law to register their complaints with the state Insurance Commissioner and, if his office is not responsive, with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

While some of these claims undoubtedly have merit, many of these cases are the result of fraudulent claims. In the last Maryland election cycle (1990-1994), the largest single contributor to the members of the legislature was the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association.

The lawyers' motivation was not primarily to ensure the reasonable payment of their clients' medical bills. It is time to end this litigation gravy train.

Del. John R. Leopold

Annapolis

The writer is deputy minority whip and represents District 31 in the General Assembly.

Maryland needs to try out slots first

Talk, talk, talk. That's all it seems anyone is willing to do concerning the gambling issue. We have learned about the disadvantages of gambling in Baltimore; the lack of effect on the purse size at the track; the desire of most, if not all, residents to keep it out of Ocean City, and the advantages or disadvantages in other parts of the country.

Now we learn that the Greater Baltimore Committee thinks there might be a tax and employment benefit to the introduction of gambling in Maryland. None of our legislators seem to realize there is a learning curve involved in starting something new. We need to have some actual experience with the subject under study.

Our legislators should be able to craft a bill that would enable us to establish (possibly) two areas in which to get this experience. For example, Cambridge and Western Maryland would have the advantage of low-population density, a need for new employment and an available work force in need of jobs.

There areas would seem easier to learn from than Baltimore or even race tracks. If there is an attraction to gambling, people would need to go to these areas.

Fred Dreyer

Pasadena

Backyard composting would save millions

A March 2 letter to the editor urged Anne Arundel residents to compost their yard wastes and kitchen scraps in their backyards as an alternative to placing them at the curb for recycling.

As recycling coordinator for Anne Arundel County, I found the letter provocative and timely.

Anne Arundel County offers weekly curbside pick-up of yard wastes 10 months out of the year. We currently compost these materials at several regional sites. However, we also encourage homeowners to compost in their own yards.

Backyard composting is among the nation's fastest growing methods for reducing the amount of trash produced by the average household.

In some communities where backyard composting has taken hold, the average household diverts as much as 600 pounds of yard wastes and kitchen scraps from the trash bin to the compost heap. Instead of taking up space in a landfill, these natural materials are used a few months later in rose beds and tomato gardens.

If every household in the county took up backyard composting, we would save $1.3 million worth of landfill space, to say nothing of the value of the compost itself.

Contrary to an earlier letter, the Anne Arundel County Recycling Division has confidence that county residents will take up backyard composting and we are ready to help.

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