State has devoted tobacco settlement to fighting cancer
The Sun's editorial on the use of tobacco settlement funds misleads the public about the governor's involvement in the state cancer initiative ("Tobacco `guilt money' isn't for slush funds," Aug. 14).
The governor and the legislature worked hand-in-hand to make Maryland a shining example of how to best use the tobacco settlement.
I had the privilege of participating in the governor's Task Force to Conquer Cancer in Maryland in 1999, which found we would need a sustained, long-term effort to make a major impact.
Based on our report, the state has allocated more than $100 million per year for the next 10 years for major initiatives on cancer prevention, education, screening, treatment and research, in addition to smoking cessation and crop conversion.
A decade-long commitment is of enormous value in recruiting the best physicians, building programs that will have long-term impact and making research investments to accelerate medical discoveries. Those investments have begun.
In contrast to many states, Maryland has devoted the vast majority of its settlement funds to tobacco-use prevention and health-related issues. Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the General Assembly made that a priority from the beginning. For this, Marylanders can be proud.
Stephen C. Schimpff
The writer is CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center.
State mental health system is crumbling before our eyes
Hats off to Barry Rascovar for keeping Maryland's growing health care crisis in the news ("Md. health care system a ticking time bomb," Opinion
Commentary, Aug. 19).
But with the state's Medicaid deficit now upward of $100 million, and the mental health deficit hovering around $30 million, one has to wonder what it will take to propel the basic necessity of health care back onto the radar screen.
Like a sandcastle on the beach after the tide has gone out, Maryland's community mental health system is crumbling at its foundations.
For those who have devoted their lives to the slow but steady development of our community mental health system, watching the erosion is excruciating.
The writer is executive director of the Mental Health Association of Maryland.
Law shouldn't safeguard deviant sexual preferences
I am not a homophobe or a gay-hater. Yet I oppose a law that protects same-sex preference from discrimination for several reasons.
I believe homosexuality is deviant in our society and represents a very small minority of people in our state. We should not use the government to protect this deviance.
Also, homosexuality is not a civil right. To make it so demeans all other civil rights.
Finally, there are organizations that should be able to deny employment to gays - churches, the Boy Scouts and parochial schools, just to name a few.
Dennis L. Compton
Why strip convention-goers of the right to bear arms?
I'd like to commend the Solomon-like wisdom of Utah's attorney general in allowing GOP convention-goers to carry concealed weapons and only hand them over while Vice President Cheney is in the building ("Utah Republicans allowed to take guns to convention," Aug. 24).
Although one does wonder what dangers lurk in a Utah convention hall - rampaging polygamists?- the clear implication that all the other Republicans in the room are expendable is one with which I'm sure many of us can agree.
Lengthy keynote speakers, beware.
Mary A. Shoemaker
For such a staunch opponent of gun-control legislation, it's peculiar that Vice President Dick Cheney would allow the Secret Service to strip licensed gun-owners of their right to protect themselves at an engagement where he is a speaker.
If someone, be it the vice president or a regular Joe, cannot feel safe in a room full of supposedly responsible gun-toting citizens, how can that person support allowing more people access to guns?
Saul I. Waller
Where's the memorial for fallen civilians?
I have no objection to a downtown memorial to police officers killed in the line of duty ("Slow fund raising forces a smaller police memorial," Aug. 24). Now, how about a memorial to innocent citizens killed by police officers in the line of duty?
And, while we're at it, how about memorials to those brave souls who have stood up against America's innumerable popular but unjust wars?
A. Robert Kaufman
Grievances of both Arabs, Israelis must be redressed
The recent attacks by Palestinian suicide bombers are indeed indefensible.
But the question posed by the writers of the recent letter "Israel can't ignore carnage that cuts through Jerusalem" (Aug. 26) as to whether the world expects Israel "to remain silent in the face of such horror" could be easily and appropriately inverted to this: Should Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip passively accept a humiliating and oppressive system of apartheid?