Half the Montgomery and Prince George's citizens interviewed last weekend named the problems of drunken driving when they were asked what issue Maryland legislators should give priority to during the 1982 session of the General Assembly. Here are some of the answers reporter Virginia Mansfield and photographer Charles K. Crockett got when they questioned shoppers at Prince George's Plaza Shopping Center and Montgomery Mall.
Ethel Nugent, Hyattsville: "The most important issue is jobs for young people to keep them off the streets."
Leon Forbes, Takoma Park: "In the last month or so drunk driving has really been a big issue, but I read where they sentenced a 54-year-old man to a year in jail and there was no accident involved. I think there should be stiffer laws for drunken drivers that go out and maim a person, but not for driving while you're drunk."
Helen Zouzoulias: "Drunk driving is the most important because I don't like to see people drunk and drive; it's dangerous. I don't think any issue is as important as drunk driving."
Kim Wood, New Carrollton: "One thing I know: the drunks on the roads cause all the problems. And jobs are hard to find too. I have two refugees from Vietnam in my house and I can't find a job for them. They've been here two months already and they can't find a job."
Alex Starzewski, Potomac: "There are so many important issues that need to be dealt with. I think there should be a mandatory sentence for violent crimes against women, like rape, because it not only destroys the life of the woman, but also the lives of her family."
Miles Frazier, Gaithersburg: "The most important issue should have to do with senior citizens. The present law says [that] to be exempt from the property taxes after the age of 65, you have to make a certain income. If you made that income, you wouldn't be able to live. I'm a retired school teacher and I can tell you that to live in Montgomery County and pay property taxes is very difficult."
Anthony Bellamy, Silver Spring: "Drunk driving that causes a lot of death. I had a friend named Alan, [and he] and his father were in a car accident in '81 and were in the hospital for six weeks. The guy that hit them was drunk."
Kim Burroughs, Cheverly: "I think they should be more careful about who they sell handguns to. There's been too many crimes and killing with handguns. Also they shouldn't have so much trouble in public schools. I think that after someone is suspended three times they should be kicked out -- you know, put in a home somewhere -- because they make things bad for everyone else."
Pat Nucci, College Park: "Definitely not drunk driving. The budget concerns are more important. Instead of having surpluses all the time they should put more money into road repair and education, especially for young people. The University of Maryland needs money like crazy."
Kitty Cammisa, Rockville: "I'm frightened of drunk driving. I know it's easier for kids to buy beer now and that adds to it. I have been in the car and seen people drunk and driving and it scares me to death. I think it has gotten much worse over the years and I tell my own kids to watch out for it."