Allowing lawsuits may limit access to health care I...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 11, 2001

Allowing lawsuits may limit access to health care

I take strong exception to the claim that allowing lawsuits under a patient's bill of rights is the best way to ensure patients get the health care coverage they need. Such lawsuits will dramatically increase health care costs and force more people to lose their health care coverage.

Resist `dumbing down' of America's workforce

It's ironic to suggest that the minimum level of education for admission to a United Association [plumbers' union] apprenticeship program should be waived in an article published the day before many school systems began classes ("Union plumbing for new members," Sept. 3).

There is no conspiracy among the trade unions in requiring apprentices to have a high school diploma or GED. The vocational education unions provide costs money, like everything else, and this money can't be spent on remedial math and reading classes.

Furthermore, public safety can be jeopardized when these jobs are performed below standards.

Relaxing education standards in this area would be the path of least resistance to ease the shortage of these skilled workers. But for once let's resist the "dumbing down" of the American workforce.

Lisa Donegan

Catonsville

Legal status for Mexicans means better pay, conditions

Mexico's President Vicente Fox is right: All Mexican workers in the United States should be able to gain legal status ("Fox asks U.S. to improve plight of Mexican workers," Sept. 6).

Not only would they provide needed labor but employers would then have to pay a competitive wage and provide reasonable working and living conditions as well as health care and other benefits. This could be beneficial to everyone involved, except the employers who have been avoiding these labor costs for years.

At the same time, if with legal status we are able to enforce reasonable wage and working conditions, we should also expect that our rules on trucks are observed.

Phyllis Sachs

Baltimore

Speculation on UM death only adds to family's pain

I am very disappointed to see the wide range of speculation and misrepresentation regarding the death of Alexander Klochkoff ("Police probe death at UM," Sept. 6).

There have been no confirmed reports of how Mr. Klochkoff died and therefore it is ridiculous and disrespectful to assume that "he gets beat up and left for dead." This comment is completely unfounded and based only on rumors and speculation that only add further pain to the victim's family and friends.

It is also absurd to say that "the worst thing that unusually goes on [in Rush Week] is forced drinking." This idea is completely untrue.

People need to stop their rush to judgment and wait for the truth to come out.

Jonathan Gandolfo

College Park

Red-light cameras make everyone safer

I am a walker and I have seen many accidents because of people running a red light. I think the people who are crying about the red-light cameras are the ones breaking the laws ("Red-light cameras are defended," Sept. 6).

Red-light cameras are not an invasion of people's rights. I think all stoplights should have a camera.

How would people like to get a phone call saying that a loved one was killed by someone running a red light and no one knows who did it? Well, with the cameras, we will know.

Thomas Earthmover Puskar

Dundalk

Protesters want fair trade and a healthy world

Robert Reno builds his column on the false premise that those in the movement against multinational corporate excesses are "foes of globalization" ("`Globalization' foes set for next mindless rally," Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 29).

On the contrary, the core of the movement is not against the evolving global market. It is concerned with the negative side effects of the way it is evolving.

Because there are many negative side effects, there are many justifications for protesting. Mr. Reno misinterprets the diversity of the movement as "unfocused."

But the movement is concerned about the market externalities associated with globalization. Externalities are imperfections in the pricing of goods and services in the so-called free market system.

For example, the price of a product will be cheaper if the environment is not protected or people are mistreated in making it. Quality of workers' lives and protection of the environment are external to the price, unless they are forced into it.

The movement is concerned with the modern version of colonialism and works toward an even global playing field.

Jim George

Baltimore

An incorrect and oversimplified premise - that the protesters are against the inevitable rise of a technology-driven global economy - gives Robert Reno and other critics of the modern protest movement much to talk about. But using this language misses the point.

Globalization may in fact be inevitable, or even desirable. However, the major industrial powers of the world are attempting to shape the new world economy in a fashion that many see as unnecessarily destructive to the lifestyles of billions of people, most of them in the Third World.

Long before "the Battle in Seattle," the World Bank and International Monetary Fund held meetings in closed-door sessions behind guards and fences, consulting few of the members of the public their global economic policies greatly effect.

Lacking democratic input into the direction of our global economy, how else has the public ever made its voice heard except through peaceful assembly and, if necessary, protest?

Nicholas Goffeney

Baltimore

What the protesters are saying is that a worldwide gathering of labor, environmentalists and human rights activists oppose globalization by the mega-corporations, which are prone to exploit and foul the world's resources and overtake local and regional economic infrastructures.

The dissenters ask for fair trade, not free trade. They ask for a healthy planet.

If we would only listen, maybe no one would have to shout.

Michael P. Panopoulos

Timonium

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