Not This Policy
Editor: Many of the environmental problems facing our country and our state relate to meeting our energy needs. Our relentless search for oil leads to destruction of wilderness when we drill and transport crude oil, and the use of oil is a major contributor to air and water pollution (one-third of the polluting nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay comes from acid rain, which in turn is composed largely of auto fuel emissions).
If we change course to a conservation-oriented policy, we can make many gains with little sacrifice. By simply increasing automobile fuel efficiency to limits within our current technological capacity, we could conserve far more oil than we would gain from new oil exploration -- and we would be substantially decreasing energy-related air and water pollution.
Conservation makes economic sense, too. Studies and experience have shown that conservation industries generate more jobs than energy-producing industries. And there's certainly a wealth of new technologies to explore and develop.
Yet, legislation pending before the Senate would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore areas to oil exploration, in addition to decreasing environmental regulation of power plants and hydropower projects. And it does not call for an increase in auto fuel efficiency.
I would hope that we could rely on Senators Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes to do everything possible to oppose this bill, and strive for legislation that redirects our energy focus. I want nothing more than to see America forge an energy policy -- but not this one.
Editor: Your front pages lately have carried the bad news -- we're spiraling faster and faster, nose-over-tail, out of control into endless cutbacks that will have far-reaching effects on every aspect of our lives. Public health and safety, education, resources for those in need, all are bearing the brunt of reduced spending while at the same time taxpayers dig in their heels and monitor the lips of politicians for signs of the insidious "T-word."
What an interesting contrast between the front-page despair and one short item on the back page of your Sept. 26 issue -- "Senate, by slim margin, votes to retain B-2 program." Here we can discover one reason that our federal tax dollars are being diverted from local needs. We learn that the Air Force has "already bought" 15 of these stealth bombers, at $2 billion each, and is pushing for another 60.
Editor: Tough times call for imaginative people who can implement creative solutions.
I believe the ''Maryland You are Beautiful'' program shows the resourcefulness we need more of today. It's a program which flourishes by spotlighting Maryland's exemplary citizens by not using any state funds. Because the program has been such a huge success, it is difficult for the public to believe that our projects are not supported with State funds.
The ''Maryland You are Beautiful'' program sponsors statewide recognition projects honoring every facet of Maryland's population -- volunteers, students, senior citizens, state employees and parents, to name a few. Every one of these projects is non-profit and non-budgeted. The funds used to run them are raised in the community from the private sector. I know because I raise these resources myself.
Generous businesses including printers, caterers, graphic artists, restaurants, hotels and florists, among others, are the life's blood of our program. We also raise funds through the sale of merchandise. The funds we raise from these sales go directly into the statewide citizen projects we sponsor. It's a simple concept and it's one that works.
As for me, I am a full-time career volunteer and I have been one for 16 years. I don't get paid for this, I do it because I care.
Our program highlights what makes Maryland America's best -- its people.
MA This program is a perfect example for all programs to follow.
Floraine B. Applefeld.
The writer is director of the ''Maryland You are Beautiful'' program.
Sexual Harassment at Work
Editor: One would think going to work in your family's business, with your father as president, that one would not be exposed to sexual harassment at work. Who would dare? And if they did, one's father would get rid of the louse, wouldn't he?
Well, in the late 1970s I was sexually harassed by an employee of my family firm; he even put it in writing. I was indignant and of course spoke up. My job was protected, but the perpetrator of the harassment stayed on and the insidiousness of the situation continued. He wouldn't train me anymore, we couldn't go to conferences together, allegedly because his wife would mind it if we did.
My experience pales in comparison to the many incidents I know about that have occurred in Baltimore and elsewhere. The Anita Hill testimony against Clarence Thomas illustrates for all of us the lose-lose situation an individual puts herself in by talking about the harassment issue.