Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 14, 2006

Gifts to Fuel Fund won't cure rate woes

City Council President Sheila Dixon's ill-conceived idea for a resolution asking Constellation Energy CEO Mayo A. Shattuck III to donate millions to the Fuel Fund misses the point ("A suggestion for Shattuck gift," May 9).

After those millions have been spent (and paid ultimately, after all, to BGE-Constellation), people would still need to pay their super-sized utility bills.

What Maryland and the rest of our nation needs is an economic system that is not rigged in such a way that makes it difficult for the average working family to afford housing, health care, education and energy.

The trend of letting corporate interests write the laws and "deregulate" markets for short-term profits must be replaced with one that prizes intelligent, forward thinking and ethical stewardship of our tax dollars and public resources.

We already pay a huge chunk of income in taxes - income taxes, FICA, property taxes, sales taxes, taxes on phone service, gas taxes, energy taxes.

Yet we are told there is not enough money to buy books for city schools so we must rely on private donations of used books.

And we must chip in to help pay the utility bills of the needy, when in fact many of us will struggle and perhaps fail to pay our bills if this disastrous rate increase is allowed to go through.

It's really time for the people to look at what we pay out in taxes (and those pesky "fees") and decide if we are getting our money's worth from our elected leaders and legislators - not by listening to what they say they will do but by looking at what they have done.

As long as we keep voting in those financed by "big money" interests, we will reap what we sow.

Kathryn Parke

Baltimore

Preserve access to the Internet

Michael Socolow is right to draw attention to Congress' push to change the Internet, which could give large corporations more say over the messages that come into our homes ("Proposed rule changes would tangle the Web," Opinion Commentary, May 9).

Just look how widespread access to technology and computers, including the Internet, has transformed the music industry.

Instead of a handful of companies deciding who gets recorded and dictating the terms of recording contracts, this democratization of music-making allows many people to produce and sell music on their own.

The Internet has been the great equalizer in many other ways as well. It levels the playing field and allows more widespread creativity.

The proposed rules for Internet access could undo this healthy democratic movement.

Once again, business giants are trying to consolidate their influence and control commerce in the country and around the world.

Americans should be alarmed and should lobby their congressional representatives to continue to allow a level playing field in the use of the Internet.

Brent Flickinger

Baltimore

Tort reform votes a blow to women

Last week, the Senate blocked two bills that would have established caps on medical malpractice awards ("Malpractice award cap dies in Senate," May 9).

Sens. Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski voted against the effort to cut off debate on the legislation.

It is especially disquieting to see how Ms. Mikulski voted, since she purports to be a proponent of women.

The ability of women to find obstetric and gynecological care has been directly and adversely impacted by the medical malpractice crisis, in Maryland and the rest of the country.

Ms. Mikulski may try to claim that her vote was on a procedural issue, but that would be political doublespeak.

It was a vote against doctors, patients and, especially, women.

Dr. Gary Pushkin

Baltimore

Legalizing drugs could clear docket

Regarding the problem of drug felonies dominating the court docket ("No court available," editorial, May 10), the solution is quite simple: End the prohibition against drugs.

Doing so would not increase drug use or increase the number of drug users. Illegal drugs are now readily available on many street corners. No one who is not prone to drug use would commence using once drugs were legalized.

But the homicide rate and other drug-related crimes in this country, and in urban communities in particular, would plummet.

Benjamin B. Johns

Baltimore

Nuclear strike on Iran would be calamitous

As a child of both worlds, I understand the mentality of both the East and the West.

And the public needs to realize that a nuclear strike against Iran would lead to World War III, and that this would be the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it ("Letter gives insight into Iran president," May 10).

Russia and China would take Iran's side and the whole thing would quickly spiral into a worldwide war.

Iran is not going to concede to threats or quietly bow to military action.

If we strike Iran, we will open up a Pandora's box of misery and devastation.

I pray to God to give all leaders on this issue the wisdom and courage to stay on the course to a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of this dispute.

Sehmina Chopra

Salisbury

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