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Volume 16, Issue 49 - December 4 - December 10, 2008
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Letters to the Editor

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Correcting the Succession of City Christmas Trees

Dear Bay Weekly:

We have just read your article on the Annapolis City Dock tree [Dock of the Bay: How the City Gets Its Christmas Tree,” Nov. 26]. Since it is our tree this year, just wanted to clarify a few things. The tree you show on your site is the tree we donated in 2006. They did not choose our tree in 2007 (and it appeared it was nowhere near the size or the shape of our trees). Watch for our 2008 tree because it is huge and beautifully shaped. We did not get down for the lighting ceremony, but will see it soon. Who knows about other years; we still have more trees.

–Bernie and La Verne Kelm, Pasadena

Santa Bob Delivers for Rude Ranch

Dear Bay Weekly:

Thank you for putting the picture of Santa Bob on the front page of the November 26 paper, and for the wonderful article including us on the inside “Money, Time and Talent: How We Make Our Communities Richer.” We actually got a couple of calls from people interested in volunteering!

–Katherine Rude, Rude Ranch Animal Rescue

Time to Improve Health Care

Dear Bay Weekly:

With Barack Obama’s victory and increased Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, we are at a highly opportune time to return to policies and values that benefit the whole of our citizenry. Our member of Congress, Steny Hoyer, is integrally placed, in position, experience and philosophy, to lead these critical reforms.

While the national financial crisis, terrorism and global climate change often capture public and media attention, we must consider making improvement of our health care system a priority.

Not only do medical expenses cause personal suffering and personal bankruptcies, but the escalating costs of our inadequate health care insurance and delivery structure are putting American businesses at an extreme competitive disadvantage. These costs are driving more companies and jobs overseas.

While current political and financial reality may suggest an incremental approach to changing America’s health care system, Michigan Rep. John Conyers and others promote a bold comprehensive plan: a state and national single-payer system.

The administrative savings and simplicity of a single-payer system, which Physicians for a National Health Program advocates, would allow comprehensive, affordable coverage for all, with no new spending. Costs for 95 percent of citizens would be reduced, and everyone would have permanent coverage, still choosing our own doctors. The program would be publicly funded by closing corporate tax loopholes and by new payroll taxes on businesses that probably would be paying less than they now spend on employee health insurance.

Under the National Health Insurance Act, HR 676, a family of four making $40,000 per year would spend about $2,000 per year for health care coverage. Average annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance were $12,100 in 2007, according to the nonpartisan National Coalition on Health Care.

A single-payer system would restore fairness and affordability to our nation’s health care, and it just might keep American industry competitive in the world economy so that our jobs can stay at home.

–Frank L. Fox, Mechanicsville

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