Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 15, 2006

Ehrlich must act to save drug plan

We at the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative, a coalition of more than 1,100 religious, community, labor, health care and business groups from across Maryland working to achieve quality, affordable health care for all, are very disappointed that the federal government rejected Maryland's request for a waiver to implement the state's new pharmacy discount program ("Prescription panned," editorial, Oct. 8, and "U.S. rejects Md. Plan to give uninsured a drug discount," Oct. 5).

In 2005, the General Assembly passed and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. signed a bill that created this program intended to provide substantial prescription drug discounts to about 37,000 lower-income Marylanders.

Now we have written a letter to Mr. Ehrlich demanding that he take immediate steps to reverse this outrageous decision by the Bush administration.

We are asking that Mr. Ehrlich's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene immediately appeal the denial of Maryland's request.

More important, we are asking Mr. Ehrlich himself to call President Bush to insist that the president intervene on Maryland's behalf.

Mr. Ehrlich has claimed that his close relationship with Mr. Bush allows him to make sure Maryland is treated well by the federal government.

We hope that the governor cares enough about helping tens of thousands of Marylanders afford their prescription drugs to use this relationship on behalf of this potentially lifesaving program.

Vincent DeMarco

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

Bush has bought us bloody mess in Iraq

Two articles in Wednesday's Sun captured the dilemma America faces in Iraq.

One noted that according to Johns Hopkins University researchers, more than 650,000 Iraqis have died during the war - with gunshots, air strikes and car bombs being the chief causes of death since the American invasion in March 2003 ("654,000 deaths tied to Iraq war," Oct. 11).

At the same time, conservative columnist Cal Thomas, in "The case for maintaining GOP majority" (Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 11), quotes author Mark Steyn to buttress his support for the war in Iraq: "Being seen not to run - or, if you prefer, being seen to show `resolve' - should be the indispensable objective of U.S. foreign policy."

So apparently retreat is not an option.

This brings to mind the "Pottery Barn" metaphor used by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in his early warnings about invading Iraq: "If you break it, you've bought it."

Iraq is "broken," and now America must "buy" it.

Arthur Laupus

Columbia

Iraqis' deaths belie commitment to life

Reading of the estimated "654,000 deaths tied to Iraq war" (Oct. 11), I sure am glad we have a "pro-life" president.

Mark L. Szczybor

Baltimore

Taxpayers deserve access to the polls

As taxpaying residents of Maryland, we should be able to vote at polling places - and it is our elected officials' responsibility to see that we can ("Duncan to vote absentee," Oct. 11).

There is no reason we should have to use an absentee ballot unless a polling place is physically unavailable to us.

Elections come at predetermined times - the election boards should know that and be prepared.

If our officials are unable to make this happen, perhaps they shouldn't be in office.

And identification should be a requirement for voting.

What reason is there for not having it, when it is needed even to get on an airplane?

Anne Hackney

Parkton

Why can't CitiStat find the light poles?

On the front page of the Maryland section of Tuesday's Sun, I learned that Mayor Martin O'Malley wants to extend his CitiStat program to the state level, lauding the program for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of city operations by auditing city agencies weekly ("Agency audit plan vowed," Oct. 10).

But on Page 2B in the same section, I learned that 10 light poles on Sinclair Lane had been cut down and stolen months ago and city officials didn't know about it, despite repeated calls from at least one resident since May ("10 light poles cut down on Sinclair Lane," Oct. 10).

So much for CitiStat's efficiency.

Dave Daughters

Gambrills

City Republicans not so hard to find

In response to Jean Marbella's column "On the trail of the rare, elusive, city Republican" (Oct. 10), I would like to inform her that one of the easiest ways to find a Baltimore City Republican would be to type "Baltimore City Republican" into Google - the Web site baltimorecitygop.org will pop up.

If Ms. Marbella had e-mailed us, or even left a simple message, I would have been very happy to have invited her to our booth last weekend at the Fells Point Fun Festival where we were handing out information about our candidates, giving away T-shirts and bumper stickers, signing up volunteers and registering new voters.

She clearly would have been surprised at the enthusiastic response we received from the festivalgoers.

Duane Shelton

Baltimore

The writer is first vice president of the Baltimore City Republican Party.

It's the Democrats who dodged blame

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