Maryland needs campaign finance reform legislation The...


February 28, 2002

Maryland needs campaign finance reform legislation

The Sun's article "Corporate gifts flow to incumbents" (Feb. 17) uncovered a huge failing in the way the Maryland General Assembly makes our laws. It demonstrated how corporations and other wealthy campaign contributors keep obtaining legislation that favors their interests instead of the public interest.

By steering contributions mainly to the committee chairmen who control the legislative process, special interests get a high return on the funds they invest in campaign contributions. Meanwhile, bills to help the rest of us often get buried.

Fortunately, there is now an opportunity to make our legislature more democratic. Ninety-nine Maryland legislators have co-sponsored twin bills (Senate Bill 471 and House Bill 538) to study even-handed public funding of campaigns for election to the General Assembly.

Those legislators realize that even if they do not unduly favor large contributors, suspicions about all legislators are widespread. Moreover, many legislators are weary of having to spend a great deal of their time soliciting campaign funds.

Maryland citizens who want their legislators to respond to their needs should urge support for these bills.

Robert S. Rochlin

Chevy Chase

Redistricting dices state into unappetizing shapes

I have seen the statement that Baltimore County has been "sliced up like a piece of pie" several times lately in The Sun, and I must say I disagree with the comparison ("Redistricting map slices Balto. Co. `like a piece of pie,'" Feb. 19). A piece of pie sliced in such a manner would be unappealing at best - and no person with the least intelligence or dexterity would slice pie in such an atrocious way.

I find the slice-and-dice our thankfully soon-to-be-gone governor and his committee laid on the table of Maryland citizens to be more of a jigsaw puzzle.

I hope Maryland citizens who do not appreciate such political chicanery will get the puzzle pieced back the way it should be with a victory in the courts.

Steven P. Strohmier


Baltimore should rename its World Trade Center

The state transportation secretary called the idea of renaming the [World Trade Center] tower "reckless and irresponsible" ("Trade center security explored," Feb. 21), and said, "What sense does it make to essentially cower and give in to the threat of terrorism by removing the designation of the building?"

If John D. Porcari thinks renaming the tower is cowering before terrorism, what does he call spending $1.2 million to erect "castle walls" for the building to hide behind?

Regardless of Sept. 11, I think we should change the name. It may have served a purpose when the city was struggling, but I don't think it is necessary now, and I would love to see it named something that made me think, "Baltimore."

Davis Maloy


I read with a great deal of chagrin the comments by Maryland Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari concerning security for the World Trade Center.

The mere suggestion that the USS Constellation, a 148-year-old national treasure and icon of past U.S. military might, be used to shield a relatively insignificant building on the Inner Harbor speaks volumes about the paranoid frenzy that passes for reasoned thought these days on the subject of homeland security.

And the notion that we should draw a line at the name of a building - while at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, hundreds of people a day are forced to take off their shoes and let security screeners rifle their belongings simply because they want to fly somewhere - would be laughable if it was not so offensive.

Tom Judkins


Replace World Trade Center with a harbor subway station

I have a suggestion for Baltimore's World Trade Center: Move everyone who works there into a new office park and tear it down.

Let's make its location the main stop of a complete subway system that would solve the parking problems of the Inner Harbor.

Samuel Hershey


Don't blame Yates alone for her children's deaths

Although Andrea Yates' crime is almost beyond belief, she should not be tried alone ("Texas mother extremely sick, doctor testifies," Feb. 23).

Her husband, family and doctor were aware her condition was worsening with each child she bore, but no one seemed inclined to eliminate the cause of her decline by limiting her births or helping with stress.

M. Kotowski


Loss of port's grain elevator hurts the state's farmers

The Sun's article "Rural hopes stir at port" ("Dec. 13) advised us that the state and Archer Daniels Midland Co. were nearing an accord to repair the remaining grain elevator at the Port of Baltimore. But a Feb. 2 article was headlined "Port losing ADM grain to Virginia."

Since June, when the grain pier at the port collapsed, grain farmers have lost the great advantage of a competitive market. There were two markets, but now there is only one - and it's on the Eastern Shore.

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