Residency flap shows Clarence Blount isn't Senate's...

Letters to the Editor

September 06, 1998

Residency flap shows Clarence Blount isn't Senate's conscience

I do not know Sen. Clarence W. Blount. His legislative record may be superlative. However, if he is the "conscience of the Maryland Senate" it should be the "guilty conscience."

How can he maintain with a straight face while giving that Copley Road address as his residence?

Isn't a residence a place where a married man and his wife reside together? He doesn't need a phone at the Copley Road location? Why does he need one at his Pikesville "home"?

Mr. Blount was quoted in The Sun as saying, "The issue is where does my opponent [state Del. Frank Boston] get the money" to finance the investigation about him.

No, the real issue is Mr. Blount's trying to circumvent the residency requirements regarding running for office. Should Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke be allowed to live in Annapolis if he rented a room in Baltimore? Would it be all right for Gov. Parris N. Glendening to have a house in Virginia as long as he had a crash pad in Maryland?

I don't know Mr. Boston either, but just as The Sun should be commended for bringing to light the misdeeds of Larry Young, so should Mr. Boston regarding Senator Blount.

Instead of being vilified by various members of the Maryland Senate for pursuing this matter, Mr. Boston should be praised for his persistence in bringing this matter to light.

Ethics is ethics is ethics -- and maybe this is why the public is so jaded to the ethical behavior of our elected officials.

Samuel A. Arnoff

Baltimore

Britain shouldn't overreact to N. Ireland violence

Having recently returned from a tour of the six counties in the north of Ireland, I feel compelled to express my views in light of the recent events there.

I condemn those responsible for the Omagh bombing.

Although the current peace agreements have been rocked with the recent bombing, and there is and should be justified anger against the splinter group that carried out this bombing, to use this anger to curtail what few civil liberties the Irish people have is to propagate the seeds of future injustice.

More repressive measures will not help build the peace process.

The draconian legislation that Prime Minister Tony Blair wants to pass is overreaction to an act of violence by what Mr. Blair referred to as a "small, wholly unsupported, wholly unrepresentative group of extremists."

The proposed law would allow someone to be convicted on the word of a senior member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The RUC is one of the most discredited police forces in Western Europe.

The British troops should be recalled, the RUC disbanded and a police force representative of the community established. Unless conflict resolution is implemented with dialogue, the Good Friday agreement is worthless.

To quote from Martin Luther King Jr., "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." I encourage people to write their representatives and share their thoughts and concerns so that peace with justice and equality in Ireland can be achieved.

C. Scott McCullion

Ocean City

Would rather be in debt to Visa than to the IRS

I read Bill Atkinson's report ("IRS credit-card plan called 'insane,' " Aug. 30) with some confusion. He reported that critics of the newly announced IRS plan to offer citizens the opportunity to pay their taxes using credit cards may have "hidden problems."

Perhaps I am missing something, but I believe the critics are a bit short-sighted. They are concerned about consumers being driven further into debt. I guess they feel that if you owe the Internal Revenue Service money, it isn't really being in debt. What is it then?

A citizen with a bill due to the IRS is simply opting to pay with a more convenient or advantageous form of payment or by simply transferring the debt from one creditor to another. I would rather have Visa or Mastercard after me than the IRS.

The credit card companies cannot seize my wages or my bank account. The IRS can and will. Keep in mind that a desperate taxpayer has always had the option of making a cash advance from his credit card to pay these same taxes.

I support the movement of the government into the 20th century now that we are almost into the 21st. I urge Visa and Mastercard to join the rest of the world as well. They continue to believe that consumers do not know about the "secret" discount fees they charge all merchants, and their reluctance to accommodate government transactions with some more meaningful pricing structure.

The "convenience fee" is silly. Audiotex is already charging a fee of $30 for some transactions more than $1,000, not because it feels it is good business but because its anachronistic contract with the credit card companies demand it.

IRS desperately wants to offer the credit card option, and unfortunately, Audiotex is the only game in town right now.

Paul J. Forte

Glen Burnie

He wagged his finger at us and lied through his teeth

It's time for me to confess: Yes, I voted twice for a president who, it is now revealed, was a fool, a liar and a scoundrel.

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