NAACP's initiative is swelling the ranks of registered...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 24, 2000

NAACP's initiative is swelling the ranks of registered voters

The Sun's Sept. 15 headline said that the "NAACP's voter registration campaign fails to back claim of more than 3 million" voters registered since last year. But the article failed to attribute this claim to a particular person or group of persons.

The Sun said, "branch presidents nationwide said they lack accurate [registration] counts," but no branch president was quoted in the story as having said that.

There is not a single offering of fact or a quote in the story that supports The Sun's assertion that we failed to register as many people as we say we have.

Since July 1999, the NAACP has been engaged in a major national voter registration, voter turnout campaign.

Our Voter Empowerment Project most recently evidenced itself in a successful voter registration and get-out-the-vote initiative in Selma, Ala.

Preliminary numbers show an 18 percent increase in voter turnout in the Sept. 12 runoff election for mayor of Selma.

We know that our efforts contributed to the increase in the voter turnout that resulted in the election of Selma's first black mayor. The Sun failed to report that story.

The Selma Times-Joumal reported incumbent Selma Mayor Joe Smitherman as saying "the power of national organizations like the NAACP were too much to overcome" (Sept. 13).

The newspaper also said, "Having the NAACP sponsor a barrage of `Get Your Vote On' advertisements also helped."

Apparently The Selma Times-Joumal has a different reporting standard than does The Sun.

The Sun, in this case, seems to be following the old adage about not letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

Where is H.L. Mencken when we need him?

Kweisi Mfume, Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of the NAACP.

Votes for Nader will build a progressive movement

A vote for Ralph Nader is not a vote for Texas Gov. George W. Bush; it's a vote for building a strong progressive movement in the United States.

It is a vote for placing the Green Party permanently on the ballot and making it eligible for millions of dollars in federal campaign funds during the next election.

It is a vote to empower all citizens to participate in government at all levels and to free government from the overwhelming influence of corporate interests.

Under the Clinton-Gore administration, we've had unprecedented prosperity, yet in 1999, 34.5 million Americans were below the poverty line.

Corporations have grown, yet the number of children living in working-poor families has increased from 4.3 million in 1989 to 5.8 million in 1998.

Jobs continue to be exported overseas and according to the U.S. Census Bureau 44.3 million Americans were without health insurance coverage in 1998.

Why should we believe that electing Mr. Gore will change any of this?

Personally, I am willing to suffer through four years of Mr. Bush if it means my vote will strengthen the Green Party.

Now is the time to begin to build a real alternative to the corporate-financed politics of the day.

I challenge all Democrats to vote your conscience. Don't waste your vote on Mr. Gore. Vote for Mr. Nader. Vote for change.

Larry Schugam, Baltimore

Bush's prescription plan offers more choice, costs less

Even by Al Gore's estimate, the cost of his prescription drug program will be much higher than Texas Gov. George W. Bush's plan ("The great divide on prescription drugs," editorial, Sept. 10).

And most of what I've read suggests that the cost of Mr. Gore's program will be much higher than he has calculated.

Mr. Gore's program of prescription drugs for our seniors also would not take effect until 2002. What are our most needy seniors going to do until that time?

Mr. Bush's program will give our most needy seniors prescription drugs in 2001.

Mr. Bush gives us choices, Mr. Gore gives us no choices -- but instead a socialized, big-government program.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Thomas C. Rothenhoefer, Catonsville

Provide seniors their drugs through the Medicare system

The Sun's editorial about the differences in Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush's plans for helping seniors get prescription drugs hit the nail on the head: "Seniors want a drug program that's simple to understand and to use. Showing your Medicare card at any drugstore is about a simple as you can get" ("The great divide on prescription drugs," Sept. 10).

But somebody has to pay for the medicine. I suggest that each Medicare card-holder pay up to $25 for each prescription.

Medicare would pick up the rest of the cost.

Philip R. Grossman, Baltimore.

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