Letters to the editor 2/11

February 11, 2003

Delegation endorses unfair competition

To the editor:

Washington County's state lawmakers love to brand themselves as "political outsiders" who abstain from the power- and money-games of the state capital. But a small item in Thursday's (Feb. 6) Herald-Mail shows that these lawmakers are quickly learning the ways of Annapolis.

According to the county delegation briefs, local lawmakers will push legislation to ban out-of-state liquor store chains from doing business in Washington County. "This is more of a pre-emptive strike," Del. Christopher B. Shank said in describing the bill.

Specifically, it's a strike against residents' wallets.

The legislation, pushed by the county's Restaurant and Beverage Association, is intended to limit competition and prevent out-of-state firms from offering lower prices and a broader selection of products to consumers. Because of the limited competition, association members can charge higher prices and offer fewer choices to customers.

In economic terms, the association is acting to secure increased income that is the result of artificial restrictions on the free market. And in Maryland politics, this is an old and often successful game.


Just last year, state lawmakers passed legislation that prohibits grocery stores, shoppers' clubs, convenience stores and other retailers from selling gasoline at prices below cost.

In that case, an association of gasoline stations successfully worked the Annapolis system to protect association members' interests.

Those interests add up - a nickel on each gallon of gas, a dime on each can of beer, a few dollars a month on a health insurance plan. All of that spare change goes to make certain politically favored businesses wealthier by knocking out their competitors.

It's very disappointing to see that Washington County's delegation has chosen to support groups that seek unfair advantages instead of county consumers.

Thomas A. Firey

Maryland Public Policy Institute

Annapolis, Md.

Hecht only effective at appropriating money

To the editor:

In regard to Bob Maginnis' column on Jan. 22 concerning Sen. Alex Mooney's defeat of Del. Sue Hecht: You stated that you watched Mooney defeat Hecht, the region's most effective state lawmaker.

You are quite right. She was the region's most effective state lawmaker (along with our past governor) when it came to being most liberal with our tax dollars in so many ways that were not practical or reasonable, as the voters have so clearly spoken to in the last election.

With the humongous debt that our state now faces, need I say more?

John Herbst


Great paper

To the editor:

I cannot let the Sunday (Feb. 2) issue of The Herald-Mail pass without comment. When unfolding the paper on Sunday morning I was truly overwhelmed with the front page! The layout was just right, considering the news events of the day before.

The choice of articles for the front page and the headlines selected were excellent. In viewing the entire section I found the same consideration of subject, placement and advertisement throughout.

May I please take this opportunity to congratulate those who put that section together? It was truly a "top drawer" job.

Donald A. Smith


Milk run is over

To the editor:

To our customers and vendors:

I regret to inform you that on Feb. 1, Horst Milk Transfer Inc. ceased operations. I have enjoyed our long relationship with our vendors and customers. However, as with many family-owned businesses, I have found that Lewis was irreplaceable and the company is not the same without him.

After much consultation with my family and my advisors, I have decided to retire and focus my energies on my family and friends. I anticipate that the wind-up of our affairs will take some time, but fully intend to honor all obligations of the corporation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me. I wish you all the very best. Thank you for everything.

Frances Horst


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