Citizen lawmakers can make difference in legislative...

Letters to the Editor

August 16, 1998

Citizen lawmakers can make difference in legislative ethics

The editorial series regarding legislative ethics contained several useful suggestions for reform.

The most essential reform cannot be achieved by legislation and regulation but by a change in the political and public mind-set. We need to return to the concept of the citizen-legislator and escape the current situation where public office is often seen as a steppingstone to afflluence rather than true public service.

While the sorry spectacle of the Larry Young case may represent an extreme, there were other recent incidents where legislators seemed to be feathering their own nests. Former Sen. John Pica and former Del. Gerald Curran appeared to be pushing the ethical envelope and voluntarily left office after exposure.

The spectacle of Robert Neall nearly achieving the revolving door triple crown of legislator to lobbyist to legislator-lobbyist gave a bipartisan flavor to ethical obtrusity.

But does the electorate care? Is it bothered by sellouts to special interests, sweetheart pension deals for a few insiders and elected officials who place their interests above those of the public? Is the public's political apathy permanent, or would a broader participation trigger an avalanche of much needed reform?

Arthur Downs

Severna Park

Foreign-trained U.S. doctor finding it tough to compete

I read the article "Tide turning for doctors from abroad" (Aug. 8) with mixed feelings.

Being a foreign-trained doctor but a U.S. citizen who went abroad to study medicine, I found that pursuing the career in medicine is very tough indeed. For the fourth year in a row, I am trying to enter the residency in Baltimore to no avail.

Baltimore hospitals seem to accept mostly non-U.S. citizens, hoping they will disappear after finishing their program. I am faced with hostility from the domestic doctors and the foreign ones.

For many years, I tried to obtain clinical experience in hospitals because this this is one of the requirements demanded of me. Again, without success.

The protectionist policy of the local medical establishment has created this bizarre situation and, therefore, is to be blamed for it.

Adam Zynge


Civil War re-enactments show the costs of conflict

In a letter to the editor ("Spielberg war realism is needed to illustrate carnage of Civil War," Aug. 8), Robert M. McDonough proposes that Steven Spielberg produce a movie about the Civil War in the same manner that he has with "Saving Private Ryan." I would like to second Mr. McDonough's proposal.

While I have not yet seen the most recent Spielberg movie, I very much admire his work and look forward to seeing his latest effort.

This is not my reason for issuing this response, any more than it was Mr. McDonough's purpose to encourage Mr. Spielberg's future endeavors. I would like to set the record straight concerning Mr. McDonough's central point.

Mr. McDonough seems to be convinced that those who re-enact events and lifestyles of the Civil War are somehow glorifying war. It is unfortunate that some might see it as glorification of death and destruction. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Despite the best efforts of those involved, the public sometimes gets a false impression of what they are seeing.

None of the re-enactors I have encountered want war to be glorified. To the contrary, many have experienced war and its ghastly results first-hand. The vast majority have studied the War Between the States and are more aware than most of its cost.

It is with this knowledge that the Civil War re-enactor is armed. Both civilian and military reenactors want the public to understand the costs the war exacted from the country. Most of all, they do not want the public to forget, as the public is wont to do when not reminded.

Donald Steven Smith


Harford Catholics gains are Northeast Balt.'s losses

The article on the growth of Harford County's Catholic population leaves me with a feeling of profound sadness ("Harford Catholic parishes expand," Aug. 9).

It is an exciting time of growth for Harford County, of fund-raisers, of young families eager to make long-term commitments. Parishes plan for growth. Schools have waiting lists.

How few years it has been since the same growth, excitement and commitment flourished in Northeast Baltimore, only to fade.

Northeast Baltimore may suffer the problems of boarded buildings, rubble and hopelessness that has happened in East Baltimore, but its Catholic institutions suffer because of the same restlessness, the same belief that life will be better further out that drove people from the city. So we keep raising funds to build the same institutions somewhere else.

Maybe Harford County parishes should look further ahead.

I hear life will be really good in Pennsylvania.

Sandra Reynolds


Taxes better spent on team than schools

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