Voters will punish those who opposed tobacco taxIn The...

April 15, 1999

Voters will punish those who opposed tobacco tax

In The Sun's recent analysis of tobacco tax legislation ("Governor paid for tobacco tax OK," April 12), Republican leaders (and Senate President Mike Miller) wrongly assume that voters will reward the Republicans' opposition to this public health measure to reduce teen smoking. They forget that in last year's election at least four anti-tobacco tax Republican delegates were defeated by pro-tobacco tax Democrats who ran on this issue -- and that Governor Parris Glendening's support for the measure was a key part of his big victory over Ellen Sauerbrey.

Indeed, polls show that an overwhelming majority of Maryland voters, including many Republicans, support increasing the tobacco tax.

Yes, voters in 2002 will remember how the Republicans stood on this issue. They will remember that every Republican senator refused to allow the senate to vote on the tobacco tax, and almost prevented the enactment of any anti-smoking legislation this year.

They will remember that after stating that they wanted the money from the tax to be spent on anti-tobacco measures, only two Republican senators voted for the final bill that included such spending.

And, they will remember that, with a couple of courageous exceptions, the Republicans in the General Assembly did the bidding of the tobacco lobby against the interests of our children.

Vincent DeMarco, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Children's Initiative.

Sun shouldn't change the name of a country

You have every right to edit my letter ("Greece is part of the solution in the Balkans," April 11) but you should not have changed on your own initiative the name I used for our neighbor to the north, "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)" -- the name under which this Balkan state has been officially recognized by the U.N. the U.S. government, Greece, and many other governments around the world -- to Macedonia.

I used the term FYROM three times in my leter and you had no right to change it to "Macedonia" and put my signature under it. Your readers might have been misled into thinking that I used this term.

This may seem a trival issue, but it is a serious matter for Greeks. Negotiations are taking place, under U.N. auspices, to establish the formal name of this republic.

Achitles Paparsenos, Washington, D.C.

The writer is Press Counselor at the Greek Embassy in Washington,

International force needed to stop human rights abuses

I find deeply disturbing the view that the U.S. shouldn't defend foreign refugees except to protect our own national interest. It's blatantly immoral to let Slobodan Milosevic execute his genocidal plot. Our failure to stop the slaughter in Rwanda, which cost 800,000 lives, is an example of such immoral inaction.

But our inept attempts to thwart Milosevic by bombing Yugoslavia aren't an answer. They're tantamount to bombing Baltimore to reduce its crime rate. Instead, Milosevic and his cronies must be personally arrested, convicted, and incarcerated.

To handle such matters, we need a skillful, carefully constructed and widely supported international police force and court system, under U.N. auspices (not NATO's), that would effectively eliminate perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

As the most prosperous and powerful nation in the world, the U.S. must take the lead in organizing and managing such international law enforcement. If our current administration lacks the resolve to do this, let's replace it.

Eugene F. Stluka, Baltimore

Telemarketers must be more respectful

Your article ("Warmest regards from Frostburg," April 1) about Frostburg residents being too nice to be aggressive telemarketers could not have come at a more opportune time. I have been seething about telemarketers and felt I had nowhere to go with my rage. This humorous, but right-on-target, article reinforced my hope that there are still other people who know the difference between civilized commerce and aggressive marketing.

In recent weeks I've had especially invasive phone calls from telemarketers at 6: 15 Friday evening, 9: 30 Saturday morning and 11: 30 Sunday morning. In the not-distant past, any business person would have regarded these times as strictly off-limits out of respect for people's religious sensibilities or the fact that hardworking people may sleep in on weekends.

Do those in the telemarketing industry care that they are doing nothing but offending potential customers?

Kaethe Schick, Ellicott City

Electric deregulation serves private interests best

I would like to compliment the thirteen members of the State Senate and the thirty six members of the House of Delegates who voted against the utility deregulation measure recently passed by the Maryland State Assembly and signed by the Governor.

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