Letters To The Editor


September 04, 2002

Tax on tickets should aid those who are injured

The Sun recently ran an article outlining Maryland House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr.'s proposal to fund the Hagerstown Shock Trauma Center by imposing a surcharge on traffic tickets, an idea that appears to be gaining momentum with legislators ("Trauma surgeons' payment discussed," Aug. 23).

A similar plan has been proposed the past two years as part of legislation sponsored by state Sen. Delores G. Kelley and Del. Jacob J. Mohorovic Jr. Their bill would fund critically needed services for the 6,000 Marylanders who suffer a traumatic brain injury each year through a traffic ticket surcharge. The proposal has gained support with the help of brain injury survivors and their families who have worked hard to educate legislators about the dire need for alternatives to costly institutional care for persons suffering head injuries.

But all this effort may come to naught if legislators are convinced that paying trauma surgeons is a more deserving cause than the needs of young adults who spend their lives in taxpayer-supported nursing homes and state psychiatric hospitals because there are no other choices for them.

Ironically, it is the trauma center physicians who help keep these individuals alive, only to have them sentenced to life in a back ward.

Surely both trauma physicians and survivors of brain injuries deserve better. In a state as rich as Maryland it seems unconscionable, even in a tight budget year, that adequate funding can't be found for the trauma center and for trauma victims.

Lori Doyle


The writer is vice president of the board of the Brain Injury Association of Maryland Inc.

Md. leaders should clash over spending

The Sun reported that the governor believes Comptroller William Donald Schaefer "used his position on the Board of Public Works to demean officials who come before the board and as a platform to attack the administration's agenda" ("Governor endorses Willis over Schaefer," Aug. 24).

We all know that Mr. Schaefer can be acerbic and downright mean-spirited. We also know that he doesn't suffer fools lightly.

When Mr. Schaefer was mayor of Baltimore and then governor of Maryland, we all groaned at his antics. But we recognized that they were part of a complex man who was and still is driven to do his best for all of the people.

As for the accusation that Mr. Schaefer used his position on the board to attack the governor's agenda, I say, hooray for Mr. Schaefer.

Mr. Glendening squandered the state's surplus on political pork barrel projects and led the state into a deficit.

The comptroller is responsible for the state's fiscal solvency. Mr. Glendening is showing his legendary petulance by whining about Mr. Schaefer actually doing the job he was elected to do.

Frederick J. Koenig


Drought rules, virus advice may conflict

One of the water-use restrictions the governor imposed is to permit the use of hand-held watering devices on gardens, shrubs, trees and landscaping only between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.("Governor tightens water limits for Central Maryland, Shore," Aug. 28).

But because of another potential crisis, the spread of the West Nile virus from other parts of the country, officials are advising Maryland residents to avoid exposure to mosquitoes, especially at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most prevalent.

Restricting the hours of hand-held watering appears to be a relatively insignificant way to deal with our water shortage.

And it may increase Marylanders' risk of West Nile virus, by sending them out during peak mosquito hours to water their shrubs.

Berryl A. Speert


An attack on Iraq would be unlawful

I agree totally with The Sun's editorial "Consulting on Iraq" (Aug. 28). As it says, "If the White House decides America should go it alone, the president needs to have Congress and the country behind him."

However, I believe strongly that this is not enough. If America should go it alone, without the agreement of the United Nations and the full collaboration of our allies, America would be an aggressor and would violate international law.

And, in an age of weapons of mass destruction, lawlessness is the greatest danger to people everywhere.

Walter Ehrlich


More inclusive Israel is real key to peace

Ultimately, the violence in the Middle East, and even that of Sept. 11, can be traced to a perceived wrong: The fact that the Palestinians want to have what was once theirs.

This desire will never be completely satisfied given that Israel has been given the right to exist.

So where is a solution? I offer this: The U.S. government should state that it supports Israel because it is one of the few democracies in the region (and thus an ally).

But democracy to me means a form of government that represents the people. Israel's form of government is a democracy only for people of one faith, and to me that runs counter to what our government should be supporting.

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