MVA tries dirty tricks to get your moneyIt recently came...


December 14, 1997

MVA tries dirty tricks to get your money

It recently came to my attention that the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has a program in place by which it can sell personal information it has on record about any citizen who is registered with the MVA.

It also has a call-in procedure where any citizen, provided he knows about the selling of this information by the MVA, can answer a few questions over the phone and not allow the MVA to continue this procedure.

I called the MVA (after some difficulty obtaining the unpublished phone number: 888-682-3772) and followed the automated procedure to discontinue this attack on my privacy. After answering all the questions, I was informed by the system that I should only do this during business hours. Unbelievable!

I do not understand why the MVA did not learn from the America Online debacle. AOL tried to do something similar, but as soon as its subscribers learned of this underhandedness, they revolted. AOL, fearing a loss of revenue when subscribers would quit rather than be subjected to this chicanery, immediately ceased the practice.

Unfortunately, I and fellow Marylanders do not have that choice when it comes to the MVA. This is clearly another case of a government organization abusing powers and failing to inform the public because it knows that reasonable citizens won't stand for it.

I guess all the vehicle "taxes" we pay are not enough for this bloated organization.

David Hemmerle

Severna Park

Money for euthanasia, but not for rescue

I read with interest your article of Dec. 1, "SPCA seeking donations for wildlife rescue facility." Where do citizens seek donations or help for wildlife rescue? In our experience, it is not the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Recently, my husband and I called the SPCA for information and help in spaying/neutering five feral cats living in our backyard. We were told, "Since the cats are more than eight to 10 weeks old, adoption is unlikely so the humane thing to do is have them put to sleep. That cost is free."

I explained we were willing to pay the neutering fees but was told that was only the beginning of what we would have to pay per cat to have them neutered. They were kind enough to refer us to an agency which could provide the neutering certificates for a fee of $20 to $35 and the names of some veterinarians to call, but they also quickly added that "most vets won't work with feral cats."

After many phone calls to veterinarians, animal control and numerous so-called animal rights organizations, none were willing to discount the necessary charges for shots, exams and office visit fees, OR fees, etc. The bottom line: It would cost approximately $125 per cat (with certificate) for spaying/neutering or zero for euthanasia.

I, too, truly care for our wildlife and know for a fact that the probability of additional kittens in the spring is far greater than the possibility of an oil spill in the Chesapeake Bay which the National Oiled Wildlife Response Team could not handle.

So now where do we go for donations? The SPCA will continue its "false" appeal for government grants, corporate gifts and private donations, which it will probably receive. After exhausting every avenue we were offered, we will receive nothing, except for the humane service of free euthanasia.

S. Tucker

Severna Park

Gambling does not help the schools

So, the only way the horse racing industry and some members of the General Assembly can garner support for gambling expansion is to link slot machine revenue to education? How pathetic.

Their timing seems odd considering that The Sun just published an article on the Harvard Medical Center report. The study showed that gambling disorders among American adults have increased by more than 50 percent in the past 20 years, reaching levels close to such social problems as drug abuse. They estimate that in 1997, 4.6 million to 11.1 million adolescents and 5.4 million to 9.6 million adults experienced gambling problems.

From "You Bet Your Life: The Dangerous Repercussions of America's Gambling Addiction" by Ronald A. Reno: "Gambling proponents in government frequently justify their stance by noting that a significant portion of the proceeds are earmarked for education. However, they fail to mention that many gambling-reliant states have been left scrambling for education funding after projected gambling revenues have fallen short and the fact that diverting gambling funds often yields little, if any, net gain in funding.

"Former California schools superintendent Bill Honig told Fortune magazine the gambling money simply replaced other forms of revenue, providing no net benefit to the state's education system. 'The public is now reluctant to pass education bond issues because they think we're floating in gambling money.' The magazine reported a similar scenario in Florida."

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