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Letters to the editor 11/20

November 20, 2002

The two faces of Roscoe Bartlett



To the editor:


I was grateful to Bob Maginnis for relaying his conversation with Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. Because no group ever stepped forward in Washington County to sponsor a debate and because Bartlett answered few questionnaires, the congressman did not really bother with discussing issues during the recent campaign.

Does anyone consider it ironic that Bartlett, who voted to close Fort Ritchie, now believes that federal agencies are the best tenants for the base and the best solution for its long-term economic use? The problem with federal agencies, especially national security agencies, as pointed out in the article, is that they would place restrictions that might stymie other economic uses. And the problem with 100 percent federal funding, as Role Models pointed out, is that once the contract is gone, so is the tenant. Perhaps this is the best solution after so many years, but it seems full of holes.

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Bartlett's comments on health care indicate that he believes, at least in part, that overutilization of our system is somehow producing 42 million uninsured people, and resulting in double-digit health insurance increases. Bartlett and his brethren seem to have no shame in bringing big government to bear to hold down malpractice insurance premiums, but somehow overlook the success of the government-run Medicare, Medicaid and veterans health programs in delivering health care to many Americans.

Beware of "market-based reforms" that will be offered up by Republicans in Congress to pay off their recent campaign support by the big pharmaceutical and big health insurance companies.

Don DeArmon

Frederick, Md.




Despots are at the door



To the editor:


I have fearfully watched from the sidelines as the cities of Cumberland and Hagerstown passed rental registration ordinances that have total disregard for the privacy rights of tenants. These ordinances allow unwarranted periodic intrusions into renters' homes under the guise of housing code inspections. Now the despot's heel is on my doorstep.

I am a renter in the City of Frederick. The city is currently considering a rental registration ordinance. The ordinance would give government agents the right to periodically enter my apartment to inspect for housing code violations. Most of us know that government agents cannot enter your home unless they have probable cause. This includes police, social workers, and tax assessors. Tenants will no longer enjoy this right under the proposed ordinance.

It is ludicrous that the governments of these Maryland cities would pass laws that trample on the rights of a select group of citizens just because they choose to rent their homes. Why would I have the right to privacy in my home if I made my monthly check out to a mortgage company but not have that right because I make my check out to a landlord? Isn't this a form of discrimination?

The proposed Frederick ordinance would impose an annual fee of $100 per rental unit to fund the inspector positions. That fee will be passed onto me. I am outraged that the City proposes an ordinance that not only takes away my right to privacy in my home, I will have to pay the fee to give up that right!

There is no point to this ordinance. There are housing and liveability codes on the books that cover sub-standard housing. As a tenant I have legal recourse to force my landlord to make needed repairs if he refuses to attend to them. If not satisfied I always have the right to move.

I encourage the renters of Frederick, Cumberland and Hagerstown to take a close look at these rental registration ordinances. It's time to stand up and tell our government officials that they cannot take away our rights just because we rent.

I for one will not allow a government agent to enter my home without a writ that cites probable cause. Should the Frederick City ordinance pass into law I volunteer my apartment for the first inspection. I will then test the constitutionality of this law in the courts as I will be arrested for opposing an unwarranted intrusion into my home by government agents.

Robert J. Miles

Frederick, Md.




Landlords: Sorry if we offended



To the editor:


The Landlords and Property Owners of Washington County would like to offer a sincere apology to any of the city voters who may have been offended in any way by our petitioners on election day. It was not our intention to interfere with citizens' right to vote. We were given permission by the Board of Election supervisors to set up inside the polling places prior to the election.

However, after complaints from city officials, we were asked to set up our tables outside the polling buildings which we did. The conditions were that we were not to discuss the elections and not wear any campaign buttons or T-shirts.

Our petitioners were also instructed to ask voters to sign our petition as they were leaving the polls. Some people asked more information about the petition and some said they were not interested in signing.

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