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Letters to the editor - 4/21/03

April 21, 2003

Marylanders deserve lower phone rates



To the editor:


The Maryland Public Service commissioners recently gave Verizon the green light to enter Maryland's long distance telephone market. It's time, "high time," for them to finish the job by lowering rates competitors pay to offer local phone service to consumers and small businesses.

These rates, called the UNE-P in telecommunications parlance, have been lowered in many other states and the results are encouraging. Lower UNE-P rates have led to significant savings for consumers and small businesses while the new competitors have begun to grow, meaning more jobs in an otherwise stagnant economy.

But in Maryland, that is not the case. There is absolutely no competition in our local phone industry, and if there were phone competition, consumers would know it. Prices would drop, companies' advertising choices for new and improved services would fill the airwaves and newspapers, and people would start saving money.

I don't think Marylanders ought to have to pay inflated rates for their phone service, and I hope PSC Commissioner Cathy Riley and a majority of her colleagues set a rate low enough to spur competition.

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I encourage Commissioner Riley and other PSC commissioners to side with justice, and the best interests of the people.

It would certainly set a positive precedent here in Maryland that we aren't going to let this state stand still and allow the rest of the region pass us by economically.

Maureen O'Connor
Executive Director
Maryland Coalition for Local Telephone Competition
Baltimore




Freedom a privilege, it is not a right



To the editor:


On 9/11 several thousand innocent people were killed in an act of cold blooded murder and it appears to me that the only ones who care any longer are the survivors and the families and loved ones. We Americans expressed our disbelief and were shocked that this happened in our country. But few went into a rage and few expressed their anger and wanted our government to take action and get these killers.

But now it is a different story and we have rallies and demonstrations against the war with Saddam Hussein and his regime of murderers. Too many are forgetting that this war is against his faction and not his country and not his people. Our military and the coalition forces will win this war and the Iraqi people will be free and their country will be free and then these citizens will enjoy the same freedom that you now enjoy.

How many 9/11s or Pearl Harbors does it take before you remain focused on reality? Or will you carry a sign in protest if the fight starts here or will you turn your back like Toni Smith from Manhattenville College because this was her right. She should have to face Pfc. Jessica Lynch and explain to her her rights.

Too many think, believe or assume that their freedom is their right. But they do not realize that this freedom is a privilege given to you by the veterans who fought for it and died for it on the battlefields of war.

These veterans also gave you freedom of speech and freedom of the press and when our military Iraq War veterans come back home, I urge each of you to welcome them and carry a torch for freedom - not a sign in protest - and celebrate the freedom of the Iraqi people.

Milton E. "Milt" Rider
Hagerstown

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