Has Bill Clinton's knee taught him anything?Knowing how...

SATURDAY MAIL BOX

March 29, 1997

Has Bill Clinton's knee taught him anything?

Knowing how much Bill Clinton enjoys experiencing the ''stories'' of the American people, do you think his recent injury gave him some insight into health care for the American people?

I wonder if he had to remain at Gregg Norman's home awaiting authorization before heading to the emergency room? Once there, I wonder if he had to wait for Hillary Clinton to locate an orthopedic surgeon in their health plan book? Only if this was his experience will I believe he truly understands health care.

Then again, maybe not. After all, he did have a three-day stay, didn't he?

Donna Mackell

Baltimore

Government tells us when to go to bed

I think the reason for Baltimore's population loss is much deeper than the perception of crime or poor schools. What I've seen since 1990 is constant apathy on the part of the leadership to make Baltimore a better city for people who live here. A perfect example is the recent after-hours task force that was initiated to examine Baltimore's night-time social possibilities. It was supposed to be a grass-roots effort to make our leaders realize we have virtually nothing to do in this city, and that Baltimore needs to step up to ''real city'' status and change some of its constricting laws concerning entertainment.

On a recent trip to New York, I wound up going out with a group of people that included a 40-year-old Wall Street stock broker whose income was in the six-digit range. We went out to eat, then he took us to his favorite bar, only two blocks from his house, in the midst of a residential area. We stayed there until 4 a.m., just as one can in any bar in New York or Washington.

The stock broker is not a drug dealer, or likely to cause a problem by being rowdy when leaving the bar, and he sure doesn't want the government telling him he should be home and in bed by 2 a.m. on a Saturday night. Even if he could work in Baltimore, would he want to live here? Probably not, and in that lies the answer to Baltimore's problems.

The task force concluded that after-hours entertainment should be considered for the entire city, yet the powers that be came back with the same tired answer -- it should be only for the Inner Harbor and the tourists.

Then people in Fells Point or West Baltimore said, ''If we can't have it, then the Harbor can't have it.'' So, we go back to status quo and remain a city on the verge of being exciting, but just not willing to take the chance.

Some of our leaders think casinos are the answer. Wake up, Baltimore.

Lonnie Fisher

Baltimore

Abortion answer depends on question

This is in response to the March 19 "rejoinder" by Jim Althoff.

When Mr. Althoff and his kind are willing to voluntarily adopt or take and raise the "children" who are not late-term aborted, he and they will gain more credence with the rest of us. But of course, he's not going to do that. Maybe he should be forced to.

As to his allegation that 70 percent of those polled find late-term, partial-birth abortions to be abominable, I can only say that if you don't explain what is actually done -- and/or why -- then of course you're going to get a largely negative response.

But once people know that most such abortions involve fetuses that are going to die shortly after birth anyway, or never develop into a full human being and are going to cost the taxpayers millions of dollars each to support, the response is quite different.

ack Tishue Jr.

Glen Burnie

An engineer's view on emissions tests

Auto emissions being a technical issue, it's time to hear from an engineer.

Air pollution from automobiles has been reduced because of engineering design changes to the engines, not emission testing. Testing does not reduce emissions, it just checks to see that the design changes are still functional. Because the engines and related equipment typically have a long life, the emissions testing is a joke and a waste of money.

Air pollution from automobiles is being reduced as more and more of the old cars wear out and are replaced with newer models with cleaner engines.

David Heston

Glen Arm

Human health matters more than autos

Recently, the Maryland Senate and House voted to keep the dynamometer vehicle emissions test voluntary, despite solid proof of its reliability.

Currently, 43 percent of motorists required to have their vehicles tested are voluntarily opting for the dynamometer test, and fewer than 100 of the 250,000 dynamometer-tested cars have been damaged.

Moreover, the dynamometer test has been used in a modified form for years by manufacturers to test emissions of new cars.

The dynamometer test is the most easily implemented and reliable method we have for reducing pollution that damages human health. But motorists oppose making the test mandatory because it is intrusive and there is a chance that it will damage their cars.

Might I suggest that these opponents have elevated cars to the status of human beings? And even if cars were as important as people, aren't damaged cars easier and cheaper to fix?

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