Rep. Gilchrest, others should push for vote on campaign...


July 02, 1999

Rep. Gilchrest, others should push for vote on campaign reform

I am disappointed that Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest still hasn't signed the discharge petition that seeks to bring about a fair and early vote on the bipartisan Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform bill. With 202 signers, the petition is now only 16 short of the 218 supporters it needs.

Although Mr. Gilchrest co-sponsored the bill, he has yet to take the critical step of signing the discharge petition.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Whip Tom DeLay apparently remain determined to delay action on campaign finance reform. Now they are trying to bury the bill in committee with yet another set of hearings.

Last year, the House debated campaign finance reform for more than 50 hours over 14 days, and since 1995 it has held at least 11 hearings on this issue.

No member lacks information. These hearings have only one purpose: to delay reform as long as possible.

Representative Gilchrest can help end this delay, and ensure that the Shays-Meehan bill is not derailed by partisan politics, by signing the discharge petition. His constituents are counting on him.

Richard L. Elliott


The Sun's article "Firms affected by legislation open wallets for GOP" (June 24) reported, "corporations interested in bills before Congress are some of the biggest donors to this years Republican congressional dinner. The biggest fund-raisers are lobbyists and lawmakers, who personally pushed the $1,500-per-plate tickets."

With prospects bleak for even watered-down campaign reform legislation in this Congress, increasing public cynicism in our political process seems justified.

Public confidence would be immeasurably boosted if a law were enacted prohibiting any member of Congress from voting on legislation on which he or she, or, more significantly, any contributor to their campaign has a financial interest.

A midsummer's day pipe dream?

Herman Katkow


Councilman O'Malley isn't `new leadership'

Barry Rascovar's Opinion Commentary column "Electing a white mayor is not out of the question" (June 27) cites a poll indicating that black voters want "new leadership, not a return to the past" as a positive sign for Martin O'Malley's mayoral prospects. I disagree.

As a City Council member, Mr. O'Malley has to be seen as part of the problem.

After all, he was instrumental in securing millions in tax breaks to the rich backers of a high-rise hotel, which the community doesn't want, while he failed to support a nonprofit auto insurance proposal that could have saved every city driver hundreds of dollars a year.

This is "new leadership"?

If the voters want real change, it would seem that Robert Kaufman is the one candidate who is not in the pocket of the power elite and addresses the concerns of average Baltimoreans, black and white.

Yet Mr. Rascovar curiously fails to mention him among white candidates.

Richard A. Pretl


Sun shouldn't focus on trivial misdeeds

As the filing deadline for the fall election approaches, the campaign is beginning to accelerate, but The Sun cannot resist wasting our time or its print on a trivial game of "gotcha."

The Sun devoted several inches of its June 25 Maryland section to educating the public on Carl Stokes' failure to pay a speeding ticket on time ("License suspension called mix-up," June 25).

Worse, another headline in the same section declares, "Warrant issued for Julius Henson's arrest." For what? Murder, rape, robbery, fraud? No. For failing to appear in court on a housing violation.

At best, The Sun has shown that these gentlemen suffer from the same human failings as most citizens.

At worst, The Sun has insulted its readership and shown citizens who might be tempted to enter the political arena just what they can expect from Baltimore's only daily newspaper.

Andre R. Weitzman


Pakistani infiltrators must withdraw from India

The Sun's recent articles about events on the Indian subcontinent ("India renews calls for troop pullout," June 28, and "India, Pakistan talking quietly as Kashmir fighting continues," June 29) have left some gaps in the story.

They give the inaccurate impression that India and Pakistan have again started warring over the province of Kashmir. But the fact is that India has merely been trying to drive Pakistani infiltrators from its territory.

In February, India and Pakistan signed the historic "Lahore Declaration," in which they agreed to develop peaceful relations and greater economic cooperation. But it now appears that Pakistan may have been preparing aggression while the agreement was being signed.

The United States and the international community have supported India's position on this issue and have asked Pakistan to withdraw its troops immediately. For peace to return to the subcontinent, Pakistan must do so without delay.

Pradeep Ganguly

Ellicott City

Other Serbians share guilt for ravaging Kosovo

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