Letters to the editor 12/24

December 24, 2002

United Way's campaign chair thanks volunteers

The the editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in the recently completed Washington County United Way campaign.

Once again a group of dedicated volunteers in our community stepped forward and donated their time and talents to raise funds for the 21 member agencies of our United Way.

The $1.6 million we collected will allow these agencies to continue to provide the services that improve the quality of life for everyone in Washington County.

We believe it is the commitment of local volunteers and the generosity of merchants, businesses, employees and residents that transforms a group of people into a community.


We also believe our local United Way continues to provide a great way for neighbors to help neighbors and helps ensure that the funding goes where the need is the greatest.

A special thanks to Tom Newcomer, who chaired our President's Club effort and Rich Reichenbaugh, who served as Vice Chairman and will chair the campaign in 2003.

I am certain that Rich's call for volunteers and contributors will be met with the same outstanding level of enthusiasm as this year's campaign. Thanks again to everyone who helped make this campaign a success and Washington County a great place to live.

Robert E. Ernst II


2002 United Way Campaign

Sue Santa?

To the editor:

In this day and age, where the threat of a lawsuit guides nearly every action, I feel sorry for Santa. If the song, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," were recorded today, odds are that the next verse would recount how Grandma's family was approached by a personal injury lawyer offering to help them seek punitive damages against Santa.

If the accident happened in Maryland, Santa's liability for punitive damages would be, thankfully, subject to a cap. However, if the Maryland trial bar has its way, we could lose the cap on punitive damages, opening us up to an avalanche of frivolous lawsuits.

Punitive damages are meant to deter dangerous actions of the defendant in the future and award a plaintiff for perceived pain and suffering.

When the new legislature convenes in January and begins to re-analyze Maryland's tort system and our cap on punitive damages, let's hope that they understand the legal and economic damage the state could face with runaway punitive damage awards. Marylanders cannot afford to let our state be abused by some greedy personal injury lawyers aiming to abuse our tort system for their own profit.

Vikki Nelson

Board Member

Maryland Citizens

Against Lawsuit Abuse


If a building has problems, look at tenants

To the editor:

I was a real estate appraiser in Washington County for over 25 years and I can't begin to guess how many apartment buildings I have appraised. I have been out of the business for for more than five years.

I should also say that I do not own apartment buildings here or anywhere else. Nor does my family. I feel this qualifies me to have an opinion that is truly uninfluenced by any interest, associations, livelihood or repercussions.

From my experience, it is my opinion that the overwhelming majority of the problems with the condition(s) of apartments come from and are a result of the tenants.

I can't tell you how many times I have inspected newly renovated buildings only to go back and see them trashed six months later. I am talking serious money for new flooring, drywall, kitchen, wiring, etc. Trashed in no time.

So the landlord takes them to court and the court paints a picture of getting your money. But in most cases the landlord gets nothing.

I have been reading for some time now about the city proposal for inspections. Inspections may be a good thing but let the sword cut both ways. Provide for a truly effective means of making tenants live up to their obligations. And don't tell me that existing laws and existing court enforcement do that.

It is slanted toward making the party with responsibility pay; not who is responsible for the problems but who is a responsible citizen trying to own property for his future.

Kenneth E. Ritter


What's next?

To the editor:

First it was the surplus. Now it's the air. Next...our sons and daughters. Wake up America, we took a wrong turn while you were sleeping.

George Coon


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