Key annexation would initiate a long process The Key...

LETTERS

September 17, 2000

Key annexation would initiate a long process

The Key Property annexation is much more than a financial decision ("Village delays Key vote," Sept. 7).

It's a long-term commitment from the Columbia Association (CA) to the prospective residents of Emerson and to the current residents of Columbia.

Before your CA Council representative votes on the issue, ask him or her the following:

How does this addition fit into his or her vision of Columbia?

How will the annexation contribute to Columbia in non-financial ways?

What additional steps will CA need to integrate the new neighborhood into Columbia, even though it's three miles away?

How will CA staff manage this major project and continue to focus on current needs while adjusting to a new president?

How will CA prioritize resources for the rest of Columbia while building facilities in Laurel?

How many additional employees does CA plan to hire to support the development of the Key Property while it maintains the rest of Columbia?

If your representatives can answer all of these questions credibly, then encourage them to support the annexation process.

Otherwise, tell them that it's not right for Columbia and that we shouldn't do it, even if it does make money.

Ultimately this decision should be about quality of life in Columbia, not financial projections.

Cabell Greenwood

River Hill

More arrests won't stop drug-related crime

Baltimore police Commissioner Edward T. Norris' recent letter was obviously well-intentioned, and I wish him the greatest success in what must be one of the toughest jobs in the country ("Why the city's murder rate is so high," Sept. 5).

But, with all due respect, I believe he is wrong if he thinks that "arresting individuals engaged in low-level narcotics transactions" leading to "higher-level drug traffickers" will somehow decrease Baltimore's homicide rate.

This country has been fighting and losing the so-called "war on drugs," using billions of dollars on interdiction and incarceration, for more than 30 years.

Until our leaders are willing to take the risk of acknowledging this failure, attempts to rein in drug-related crime are doomed to fail.

Illicit drugs should be treated as an economic, public health and social issue.

Drugs should be decriminalized, regulated and taxed -- whatever it takes to remove the staggering economic incentive to sell them.

Let's also devote the funds previously used for interdiction and incarceration to drug treatment and education.

In the short run, drug use may increase, but in the long run (just as with cigarettes and liquor) use, along with drug-related crime, will decrease.

Ronald E. Alper

Columbia

Glad to see Dr. Laura reached the airwaves

I would like to thank WMAR-TV for its decision to air the Dr. Laura Schlessinger show. It is comforting to know that a small minority of dissenters will not be allowed to decide what viewers should and should not listen to.

I have listened to Dr. Laura for years and never heard her treat any group of people unfairly.

She verbalizes what her listeners believe and, in my case, have always believed: Intact families are important to our stability, and children's welfare is of paramount importance.

I have to question the motivation of anyone who would question the logic of these beliefs.

Many thousands of TV channels, radio stations and sponsors are supporting Dr. Laura, and we, the majority, as silent as we usually are, are grateful.

The minority, special-interest groups have freedom of speech but no right to try to take it from others.

Barbara Floyd

Columbia

Market-based reforms won't help health care

Jonathan Weisman's front page article "Gore, Bush try worn remedies for health care" (Aug. 29) is correct in one sense: Market-based plans would benefit basically those "who are already buying insurance without subsidy."

So what use are they?

The fact of the matter is that a socialized plan has never been put into practice or tried. Hence, it cannot possibly be "worn."

The universal health coverage plan the Clintons proposed in 1993 only failed because millions of HMO-lobbyist dollars were against it. Corporate "votes" (using dollars) trumped the people's -- as is usual in this country.

On the other hand, private or market plans have already been tried in numerous venues and always found wanting.

It is clear that the "worn" health care plans are those that are dependent on private competition or a market-based solution.

We already know, from past experience, that competition will soon vanish and consumers will be gouged and left to scrabble for themselves.

We deserve better than another "free enterprise" charade that only serves to enrich the corporations, insurance companies and their lobbyists and political parasites.

Philip A. Stahl

Columbia

Coverage should reflect the real Gov. Bush

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