Don't try to redirect state funds to fight smoking and...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 06, 2000

Don't try to redirect state funds to fight smoking and cancer

I find myself increasingly disgusted with pork-barrel Annapolis lawmakers who want to destroy Gov. Parris N. Glendening's plan to fight smoking and cancer ("Hungry eyes on tobacco fund," Opinion Commentary, Feb. 27).

My mother died of lung cancer last December because of 50 years of smoking. Seeing her die was one of the most horrible experiences I've had.

I am certainly not alone. Marylanders of all races and ages have seen the agony and suffering caused by smoking.

This year we have a unique chance to see money invested in a sound, effective, tobacco use prevention and cessation program.

The money the governor has allocated for a coordinated program would spare many families from watching their loved ones die a slow and miserable death.

But, from what The Sun reports, lawmakers are doing their best to squander any hope of saving lives by making a big grab for the money.

I find this extremely disrespectful to the victims of tobacco use and their families.

Glenn Schneider

Columbia

In response to The Sun's article "Tobacco money might have to wait" (Feb. 20), I'd note that the tobacco settlement and Gov. Parris N. Glendening's plan to spend $80 million on two groundbreaking programs has afforded Maryland the opportunity to become a national leader in tobacco control as well as cancer prevention and treatment.

As a member of the Governor's Task Force to End Smoking in Maryland, I implore the legislature to enact the task force's recommendations as well as those of the governor's equally important Task Force to Conquer Cancer.

Enacting the governor's plan would enhance our capabilities to make right what the tobacco cartel has done wrong.

To wait yet another year to decide how to spend the tobacco settlement dollars would not only confuse and further politicize the process, but would also cause Maryland to be less proactive in the areas of tobacco and cancer control.

Maryland should once again lead the nation and become a model for how to correctly spend this settlement money.

Margie Weaver

Mt. Airy

The vice president hasn't earned our trust

The Sun's endorsement of Al Gore in Maryland's Democratic primary is a most unbelievable contradiction ("McCain and Gore are our choices on March 7," editorial, Feb. 27).

The editorial rightly states that "Trust and character are central issues in the election of our nation's next president" and "leadership is dependent upon the public trust."

But how can you possibly believe Al Gore fits these criteria? Again and again, he has demonstrated that his word cannot be trusted.

Repeatedly Mr. Gore has told us he has always supported a woman's right to choose, that he has not violated campaign financing laws and that he has been resolute in his opposition to big tobacco, among other fabrications.

He also proclaimed that President Clinton will go down in history as "one of our greatest presidents," Mr. Clinton's lying under oath notwithstanding.

And whenever Bill Bradley points out Mr. Gore's contradictions and duplicity, Mr. Gore accuses Mr. Bradley of negative tactics.

Yet Mr. Gore repeatedly attacks Mr. Bradley and purposely distorts and misrepresents Mr. Bradley's positions.

Yes, this nation desperately needs a president of character who we can trust. But Al Gore is certainly not that person.

Redmond Finney

Upperco

Italian-Americans are too proud to whine

I just had to respond to Barbara Bozzuto's recent letter that wonders why Italian-Americans allow Hollywood to portray us as mobsters and goombahs ("Reject Hollywood's insults to Italian-Americans," Mar. 1).

It's probably because we are a proud group, secure in who we are and what we have accomplished, who believe in the First Amendment and the Constitution which allow such portrayals.

We are unlike other groups who are seeking identity by whining, parading with placards and candles and seeking to be on the 11 o'clock news.

We don't have race and ethnic hustlers who make their living promoting our petty complaints.

We are lawyers, teachers, engineers, artists, musicians and business-people who achieve, guide our children to achieve and ignore those who defame us.

Julius G. Angelucci

Severna Park

It's not smart to make guns more expensive

Regarding John Lott Jr.'s article, "Gun locks will cost, not save, lives in Maryland," (Opinion Commentary, Feb. 25), it's about time somebody put the record straight about the lies told by the gun-grabbers.

Gun control is about disarming certain segments of society in violation of the Constitution. Maryland has already passed racist gun control laws that have denied poor people access to weapons.

Back in 1986, J. Joseph Curran led the charge to ban so-called "Saturday Night Specials," which are nothing more than inexpensive handguns.

Two years later, Maryland's murder rate had increased 20 percent.

If gun control prevented criminals' access to firearms, Washington and Maryland would be the safest places to live in this nation.

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