Republicans gaining on state Democrats, and for good...

Letters to the Editor

March 29, 1998

Republicans gaining on state Democrats, and for good reason

The chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, Peter B. Krauser, claims in his March 22 letter to the editor that The Sun was well off the mark in its reporting of the gains the Republican Party has made in recent years ("GOP adds more voters to rolls," March 15).

Mr. Krauser's numbers regarding registration shows that the Democrats have increased their ranks over the Republicans from 1995 to 1997 by 140,394.

Mr. Krauser must have studied new math in school.

The numbers speak for themselves. The Maryland State Administrative Board of Election Laws' summary of voter registration activity clearly indicates that in January 1995, 1,449,324 Democrats and 695,947 Republicans were on voter rolls. In January 1998, 1,465,934 Democrats and 761,870 Republicans were registered -- a net gain of 49,313 voters for Republicans.

Instead of massaging the numbers, Mr. Krauser should focus on why more Republicans are registering than Democrats. Under Democratic leadership, Maryland has the second-highest state taxes per capita. Maryland also is the third most-dangerous state in the country.

As the de facto head of the Democratic Party, the governor is leading by example, and look at what has happened. Two members of the legislature have quit or resigned because of ethical transgressions, and several more are being investigated. The governor's office has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors.

Republicans clearly have a substantive agenda, and not one devoid of ethical behavior and not the typical tax-and-spend agenda of the Democratic regime. It does not take a genius to figure out that if the party in power isn't doing a good job, people are going to join a party that offers solutions and a better way of life for themselves and their children.

Joyce Lyons Terhes


The writer is chairwoman of the Maryland Republican Party.

Mayor should put the heat where it really is needed

Regarding the March 19 headline in The Sun, "Schmoke puts heat on schools," I would feel much better if the headline could truthfully say "Schmoke puts strong pressure on General Assembly."

Harry E. Bennett Jr.


Legislature should limit state campaign spending

The process of democracy should be decided at the ballot box, not at the cash box. Each citizen's vote should count the same, not be weighted according to campaign contributions.

The Maryland State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People urges the General Assembly to impose restrictions on the maximum allowable campaign contributions in state elections. The idea is eventually to establish a cap on campaign expenditures, which could lead to the NAACP's ultimate goal of public funding for political campaigns.

As an interim step, the Maryland NAACP urges provisions for public-service telecasts and broadcasts by candidates for state office, executive and legislative. Sponsorship by television stations and nonpartisan organizations of candidates' forums and public-issue debates should also be included.

Herbert H. Lindsey


The writer is president of the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP.

Assembly showed courage rejecting a flawed DWI bill

Your March 22 editorial "This was courage?" -- like the misnamed "0.08 bill" considered and rejected again this year by the House Judiciary Committee -- was false and misleading in several respects.

Maryland is not at risk of losing aid for not complying with federal rules. The U.S. House of Representatives has yet to consider such a requirement in Congress. Furthermore, passage of this legislation would not save any lives.

It might worsen the problem by removing law-enforcement resources from legitimate efforts to combat drunken driving. It might require police instead to issue tickets to a new class of criminals in Maryland, namely, social drinkers who are not acting irresponsibly and pose little or no danger to highway safety.

It is already unlawful in Maryland to drive with a blood-alcohol level of 0.07 or above. The bill you question would have criminalized driving at a blood-alcohol level of only 0.06. No other state in the country has such a low threshold.

Maryland is rated one of the toughest states in drunken driving restrictions and enforcement, ranking third lowest in the nation in percentage of alcohol-related highway fatalities.

It's not easy to stand up to the Prohibition agenda that may appear to voters at first blush as such an easy, politically correct, popular campaign in an election year. Those representatives who had the guts to say, "This is going too far," were both courageous and reasonable in desiring to focus Maryland's enforcement efforts against drunken drivers upon those who pose a real hazard on the highways.

Dana Lee Dembrow


The writer represents District 20, Montgomery County, in the Maryland House of Delegates.

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