The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland on April 21, 1980 · 12
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The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland · 12

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Baltimore, Maryland
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Monday, April 21, 1980
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12
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THE 'S SUK" A 12 BALTIMORE, MONDAY, APRIL 21, 1980 DONALD H. PATTERSON, President and Publisher PAUL A. BANKER, Managing Editor J.R.L STERNE, Editorial Page Editor Mr. Reagan, Seriously Letters to the Editor Now that the Republican Party is taking Ronald Teagan seriously, it is time for Mr. Reagan to take the i 'epublican Party seriously. For the better part of two 'hcades, the GOP frontrunner has been battling with .'.niable fury against "the Republican Establishment." Using .a Westerner and a neo-conservative populist, f 'r. Reagan was predictably uncomfortable with the 1 wyers, bankers and industrialists of the East and the u.per Midwest. Traditional and internationalist, they ntrolled the party, with the exception of the Goldwa-i r interregnum, in all the years from Landon to Ford. !: was a period of Democratic dominance, of a shifting OP center of gravity to the South and West and of ris- ii t neo-conservative sentiment factors that worked i . Mr. Reagan's benefit. The result is the almost certain nomination of a can-i! late many moderate Republicans regarded as ludi- i ous not so long ago. Indeed the Reagan trend is so s rong that many progressive party leaders, including Maryland's Senator Charles Mathias, are going along l,. stead of going into the trenches. Some have a vice 1" csidential dream in the eye. But for the most part, t 3 GOP Establishment is in the process of concluding t it the Reagan alternative is preferable to the Carter . 'ernative, and is beginning a reassessment of Mr. I agan's record as governor and as a rightwing ideo-! :ue on the mashed potato circuit. To be successful, however, the politics of accommo-f' tion have to work both ways. Last week, in Philadel-I ..ta, Mr. Reagan stood before the faithful in a crowded hotel ballroom and delivered one-liners that convulsed but did not conciliate. He seemed like an old trouper, which he is, who just could not get used to the fact that his part had changed. There he was, flailing at Dwight Eisenhower's warning against the military-industrial complex; and against Richard Nixon's opened door to mainland China; and against Gerald Ford's response to OPEC. He slammed away at detente, and SALT, and the Panama Canal treaties as through these policy initiatives were not Republican in origin. Obviously, it is ridiculous for a politician on the threshold of the GOP nomination to oppose the establishment of the very party that is going to make him its standard-bearer. Instead he should use the party's large resources to develop the kind of ticket, platform and campaign team that can win in November. There are many Republican intellectuals and doers who could bring to the Reagan candidacy a breadth of vision and experience that is so obviously lacking. Just because outsider Jimmy Carter kept his base narrow is no argument for outsider Reagan to do the same. Republicans see a chance to win not only the White House but the Senate, and they are eager for reconciliation. Here lies Mr. Reagan's opportunity, provided he can break away from his rightwing corner. He needs a progressive running mate. He needs to set up platform task forces to address foreign and domestic questions sensibly and without demagoguery. Mostly, he has to take his own party seriously, and adjust to the fact that it is about to bestow on him its greatest prize. Malpractice and Arbitration There is trouble in the Maryland Health Claims Ar-l 'ration Office, the agency established in 1976 to cope th a growing flood of malpractice claims against I ' ysicians. To date, claims have been processed at a i iddeningly slow pace, and there are more than 300 ' settled cases somewhere in the pipeline. But despite ttements by some plaintiffs' attorneys to the con-try, it is too early to write off the agency as a failure. ' .till could be made to work. But no time should be wasted in making much-)ded changes. Serious hardships often are visited on 'intiffs some disabled who must cool their heels .' months or years before their claims against physics are settled. While some physicians also suffer aety because of long waits, time is usually on their 2; the longer the delay, the greater the chance that intiffs who sometimes are impecunious -will ac-)t smaller settlements. But the suggestion by malpractice lawyer Marvin "lin of Baltimore that "the whole system is sinking to the sea," seems exaggerated. The real problem ap-aars to be that the arbitration agency has far more ases than ever was anticipated. To add to the difficul-;es, the agency's work was halted for two years while he courts decided whether it had a right to exist. Reform clearly is needed in the agency's system of choosing the arbitration panels which decide cases. Many doctors and lawyers are reluctant to serve because the per diem allowance ($60) is so low. And in some parts of the state, it is difficult to find doctors and lawyers who do not have, social or professional connections with the litigants. It might be better to replace the current system of volunteer panels with salaried arbitrators, who would be similar to administrative law judges. There also is a problem with the current five-year statute of limitations which prevents aggrieved patients from bringing claims against physicians if injuries occurred more than five years earlier. The fact that these difficulties have not been dealt with yet by the governor and the legislature indicates that the agency is less than a noisily squeaking wheel. This is ironic, since doctors were such vocal supporters of the original malpractice arbitration legislation. At the moment, the most urgent need is for additional staff to reduce the backlog. Then the governor and legislature should initiate studies on what longer-term changes are in order. This is the time for the state medical society to speak up. The group says it desires an equitable system for resolving malpractice claims. If it is sincere, the doctors' group should take the lead in lobbying for meaningful changes in the arbitration process. Howard's Unused Classrooms Howard county grew so rapidly during the 1970s iat it now appears to have built more public schools han it needed. Larger anticipated enrollments articularly at the elementary level -are not materializing. In fact the school administration has recorded decline of 205 pupils in the past year, which is not an stounding figure. Educators nevertheless expect the lowdown to continue in the years ahead. Some reasons re the decline in the birth rate, smaller families and igher housing costs, which attract more older couples without children. When Howard county adopted its general education ilans some years ago, it decided that with government upport an elementary school would be the center of ;very neighborhood. But six of those schools-three in Columbia, two in Ellicott City and one each in Water-oo and Jessup have fallen below the prescribed mini-num level of 450 pupils. So the Howard County School 3oard must decide either to consolidate or close the schools, or convert them to other uses. The county board seems better prepared for this task than other metropolitan jurisdictions faced earlier with similar problems. Dr. Thomas Goedeke, superintendent of Howard schools, will begin by naming three task forces to study not just the under-utilized six schools, but nine other neighboring schools as well. These nine are schools that could be affected by whatever changes are made in the other six. We offer Dr. Goedeke and the school board a piece of advice. A majority of the representatives on each . study group is required to come from community and parent organizations, but public participation should not end here. Homeowners often fear their community schools, once closed, will wind up as boarded eyesores or will be used in some distasteful way by another government agency. Dr. Goedeke and the board wisely wish to avoid this. But they should hold hearings so that all views are aired and explanations given to the communities affected by closings. Otherwise the studies to determine which schools are closed or consolidated could produce more controversy than they prevent. You may be getting tired of reading the headline on this piece, Reader. We know Kirk Scharfenberg is. "Mush from the Wimp" is on its way to becoming one of the most famous headlines of our time. It may not be in the class of Variety's 1929 "Wall St. Lays an Egg" but it has already moved ahead of the New York Daily New's 1975 "Ford to City: Drop Dead." Last Friday Peter Jay mentioned "Mush . . ." in passing, in an essay on the meaning of the word wimp. The Tuesday before that Garry Wills quoted it casually on the page opposite. The Washington Post devoted an editorial to it and Time magazine devoted an article to it. The story: After President Carter issued his latest anti-inflation plan a . few weeks ago, Boston Globe editorial writer Kirk Scharfenberg (he covered the Shore for The Sun back in the Sixties) wrote a balanced and fair assessment of it with this headline: "All Must Share the Burden." . Then, just kidding around, he rased "All Must . . ." and substituted .4.MMush . to give his colleagues a Mush from the Wimp laugh. He didn't intend it, but it got in the paper that way. The gag-headline is as old as the horseshoe-shaped copy desk, where stories were edited on paper, with pencil, and all editors looked into the faces of each other and their chief in Notes Comment the slot of the horseshoe. Never a day or night went by on any paper large enough to have a copy desk that a couple of outrageous headlines were not put on stories. These headlines were usually sexual, blasphemous, morbid or slanderous. They were the best headlines but they never got into the paper. One thing every copy desk chief watches for is the double entendre. In those days, there were slot men who could barely spell, who didn't know a verb from a decimal, but who, by God, would spot and delete with a thick black pencil any headline with the least bit of innuendo or impropriety. These days, there. are no thick black editing pencils, no stories on paper at most large papers. At sepa- rate desks, we write and edit on electronic machines, hooked up to computers, and ribald and coarse pretend-headlines are becoming a thing of the past. Why? Because today's "slot man" can't oversee everything that goes into the computer. So the the possibility of jokes getting into print is great. So most papers have a strict rule against them. So shed a tear for a vanishing art form. P.S. The Post says that on Judgment Day editorial writers will fry in hell not for their gags but for writing year in and year out all those soggy, balanced, dull editorials for which "All Must Share the Burden" is a perfect headline, and the Post is right, but that's another story. Theo Lippman, Jr. k Special Interests , Editor: In response to R. M. Pfef. fer's letter citing the failure of "our" government to properly act in and for the interests of the American public, using the current attack against the Federal Trade Commission as an example, I most heartedly agree! If we really stop and think about the trends of this country, we must recognize that the big business special interests are at the root of the problems with which we are plagued today. Using the clouds of falsehoods and half-truths, these special interests, for the benefit of the few, are succeeding in hood-winking us into believing that our fellow humans are the fault of our problems. And too many of us have ceased to sit down and think for ourselves. Special interests have, indeed, killed our "free enterprise" and are trying to destroy our democratic republic ... and we are allowing it to happen. We have all felt the effects of the oil companies using us to reap millions of unjust and unholy profits, without regard to American or any other national interests. We are being attacked by the Business Roundtable, the National Manufacturers Association and other special interests while "our" government refuses to provide even basic protection to the people. Congress blames the president, the president blames the Congress, the Democrats blame the Republicans, the Republicans blame the Democrats ... WE are to blame! We have allowed this to happen. Regrettably, our problems shall continue until WE, you and me, act together to rid ourselves of this inhuman element and philosophy ... the greedy dollar. Mr. Pfeffer called it "monopoly capitalism." It is also known as "democracy by economics." Whatever it is called, its interests are not of the American people. The choice is ours. The future is ours IF we choose wisely. Doug J. Schmenner. Baltimore. On Dictatorships Editor: In answer to the letter by Leon Peace Ried in The Sun April 3, 1 agree with what he says about people leaving countries like Cuba, Cambodia, Vietnam, Soviet Union, Chile, to mention just a few, because they can't live under the terrible dictatorships in those countries. However, he only mentions the fascist leaders as those who are capable of torturing, maiming and murdering the peoples who oppose them. Mr. Ried ignores all the evils of a Communist dictatorship and the thousands and thousands of people who fill the prisons forever without any hope of ever being free again in those countries under the worst dictatorship, the Communist. Mr. Ried suggests that people who flee from a Communist dictatorship are welcome in the U.S. while people who come from Chile or other fascist countries are menaced and sent back to their countries. Well, maybe the main purpose of these peoples is to organize forces for who knows which The City's 'Quaint Ways Editor: Mr. C. Fraser Smith's articles in The Sun, while tantalizingly revealing, prove the system works. Baltimore is on the go and as long as no one is lining his or her pockets, its citizens are happy and tacitly go along with it. Besides, we trust our mayor, implicitly. Frank Novak. Baltimore. Editor. Your great expose in re the city government and how it operates might be very revealing to those who have been living in Upper Transylvania for the past 20 years. ' What is of interest is the proof positive once again that in order to accomplish anything worthwhile, as downtown Baltimore certainly has done in the past five years, one has to operate in very quaint and extra-systematic ways. If everything downtown had been done according to Hoyle, we would still be importing bananas through Pratt street. The only problem involved is that It takes a superhuman staff not to succumb to the temptations of the till. When you have monetary accountability coupled with a huge cash flow flies come from as far away as Peoria. In short, you never get anything done and the city slowly goes down the drain while you sit and watch the accountsor you revitalize and renovate and hope that the bottom line excuses the detours. It can be hoped that your fine newspaper will not penalize the players too many yards before they score. S. C. Hartman. Ellicott City. Editor: C. Fraser Smith's series which began running from April 13 is good reading. For some time, I have thought that "Benton's" calculus represents "the greatest happiness for the least number of people." Donald Matthews. Baltimore. cause. Refugees who come from Communist infernos are persecuted if they try to organize against communism. Any dictatorship is evil whether it is from the right or from the left. But, the real danger to the free world now comes from the advancing Communist forces who are determined to take over the free world including the U.S.A. Why, then, should we waste time in a decadent fascism, hated by everybody, instead of being alert against the Communist forces who are moving ahead? ' Ana L. Queral Mossburg. Towson. Mail Service Editor: The way the postal system is going, why not put out a stamp, honoring P.T. Barnum? W. Crenshaw. Baltimore. Homosexuals Editor: While reading a recent Sun article, entitled "Homosexual challenges security clearance revocation," I became extremely annoyed. It seems that Mr. Preston has had a great injustice placed in his lap. The article stated that he (Mr. Preston) held an SCI clearance for 12 years; doesn't that count for anything? I would imagine that your work attitude and job performance had to be rated excellent in order to obtain such a clearance. Whether Mr. Preston is an admitted homosexual or not shouldn't be the basis for this suit; but instead, whether he is a competent, responsible and reliable worker seems more important at this time. The position that the Army is taking is ridiculous. Mr. Preston stated he "had become accustomed to taking orders," that he trusted the Army enough to tell the truth and now they use that honesty against him and disrupt his entire life. What a man or woman does outside of his job, as long as it does not jeopardize our country, should be their own affair and not to be controlled by the Army, Department of Defense or the Pentagon. I can think of a lot more important issues the Department of the Army should concern itself with other than a man's sexual activities. If the due process of law can be capriciously ignored by the military, and a person has to hide andor be ashamed of his personal life, this country is in more trouble than I ever imagined-and not because of some foreign country but because of our own folly. If we would all grow up and look not only at what we don't like about a person but look at what that person's abilities are and what he has to offer as an individual, regardless of his personal life, we would find that homosexuals are people just like the rest of us and they, along with everybody else, good and bad, make up this United States. . . Mrs. Angela D. Johnson. Baltimore. Caribbean Aid Editor. The Sun's series on Caribbean countries confirms my own recent experience while visiting the Netherland Antilles capital, Willem-stad, in Curacao. As a genuine friend of the U.S., that parliamentary democracy evinces less interest in our display of ferocious naval task forces than in social and economic aid. I came away convinced, moreover, that those islands need more than money. They need to learn competencies: agricultural, health, scientific, educational you name them. We could send our very best consultants and teachers to help them to learn the skills and processes by which the Antilleans might solve their diverse problems their way. Such aid would be appreciated, I think, and beneficial to a democratic neighbor long after the last aircraft carrier-U.S. or Soviet-had been scuttled in some brackish backwater. Richard Franklin. " Baltimore. 4 Fells Point Just as It Is :!':;SS: x-4 Iltilll Editor. In answer to many letters regarding the Fells Point area: Fells Point people are a NOW people, and there is no way to "make" Fells Point into a small city of the past or into another "Old Town," Georgetown, Alexandria or whatever! It is what it is a combination of the old and the new and any daytime visit will show you the oldtimers and the newcomers working hard to clean it up and fix its fallen areas into another beautiful part of Baltimore. The evenings are filled with bustle from suburbanites and locals imbibing in the nocturnal fruits of a waterfront area. Bars and restaurants are full to the brim. Let that be, if that's what's happening, because there are also hundreds of us quietly working, painting, writing, walking, talking, enjoying that beautiful neighborhood-and loving it. , Let's accentuate the good points of Fells Point. There are so many. Some have been here for years, others are new. That's great! It's a terrific place to live and work! Maria Cavalcos. Baltimore. 1 V f

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