Service clubs are alive and fighting drug abuseThe Sun's...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 24, 1999

Service clubs are alive and fighting drug abuse

The Sun's March 31 article "End of the `glory days of service clubs,' " lamented the decline of service organizations. But I'd like to suggest that they are alive and well and working for drug abuse prevention.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy is part of a historic substance abuse prevention alliance of 47 civic, service, fraternal and women's organizations that represent more than 100 million members. In 1997 leaders of these groups signed an agreement calling for more than 1 million hours of volunteer service in mentoring, drug education and local activities that educate and enable America's youth to reject illegal drugs as well as alcohol and tobacco.

The daily efforts of such groups as the VFW, Lions, Moose, Elks, Optimist, Rotary, 100 Black Men, Links, Masons, Jaycees, Knights of Columbus, Boys and Girls Clubs, and others provide one of the best foundations for keeping kids drug-free.

These groups not only supply vast numbers of volunteers to fight drugs in their communities, but support the federal government's new Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign by disseminating critical information.

The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority -- Baltimore's own Alpha Zeta Chapter -- actually started the "Say No to Drugs" Clubs in all the Baltimore City schools and keeps them going year after year.

We commend the service clubs for their community spirit and long-standing commitment to charitable giving. We need everyone to help us prevent drug abuse. Joining one of those fine organizations is an excellent way to contribute to keeping a generation of young people drug free.

Barry R. McCaffrey

Washington

The writer is director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Coverage of rights bill, gay issues is important

On behalf of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, I commend The Sun for its April 1 editorial ("Senate should approve gay rights legislation") urging passage of the Maryland gay rights bills.

I would also like to express our appreciation for the paper's coverage of the bill, from its beginning to its demise on the floor of the Senate.

Your editorial rightly emphasized the bill's connection to widely accepted principles of civil rights and the importance of legislation that would cover the many people who are not yet covered by municipal civil rights ordinances. The Sun correctly characterized the rights secured by the bill as matters both of common sense and of conscience.

At the same time, the editorial appropriately pointed out that the bill's opponents, perhaps because of the weakness of their arguments, had resorted to tactics designed, as you said, "to inflame passions and intolerance."

Particularly in light of such tactics, an accurate depiction of lesbians and gay men, and the issues surrounding them, is crucial to the public's understanding of issues affecting our community.

Cathy Renna

Washington

The writer is director of community relations of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Bombing the Balkans won't fulfill NATO's goals

Given the verdict of history that air power alone cannot accomplish political goals, I find it very unfortunate that NATO is trying to bomb the Yugoslavs into accepting its recipe for Kosovo. After a month of heavy bombing, it is obvious that NATO is no closer to realizing its goals; indeed, since under the cover of the bombing Kosovo has been pretty much cleansed of ethnic Albanians, those goals appear more distant than ever.

Now, the Clinton administration is asking Congress for $6 billion to continue its futile war -- probably more to save face than to accomplish anything positive in the Balkans.

Congress should refuse to vote another cent for the war. Instead, it should instruct NATO to declare a 100-day halt to the bombing, to be accompanied by a serious effort to negotiate a settlement.

This approach would benefit both NATO and Yugoslavia. It would give NATO a way out of a policy of bombing a historic part of Europe back to the stone age. It would give the Yugoslavs a dignified way to say "uncle" and make them responsible for finding an agreement that would save themselves and the rest of the Balkans from senseless destruction.

Herman M. Heyn

Baltimore

Another incentive to stop dog fighting

Kudos to Frank Branchini and the Baltimore County Humane Society for taking the lead against dog fighting in their community ("Humane Society urges crackdown on dog fighting," April 20).

The William Snyder Foundation for Animals will offer a matching reward of $500 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of anyone on charges of dog fighting in Baltimore County either as a participant or spectator. Anyone having such information about dog fighting should call the Baltimore County Police Department at 911.

Lora Junkin

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Foundation for Animals.

City shouldn't be courting Kweisi Mfume for mayor

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