Editor: What is all the hype about? Why are people just awakening to the need to protect themselves during sexual intercourse? Even that is no solution to AIDS.
The medical profession has been educating people for years to the dangers of contracting the HIV virus through sexual intercourse. Magic Johnson's recent confession to testing positive for the virus has been grievous, but not tragic.
The real tragedy is that it has taken this long to awaken America to its ill behavior that has lead to the spread of AIDS.
Magic Johnson's crusade for safer sex and AIDS education is not the answer to the problem. The solution is abstinence until marriage and a reverence for God.
Editor: As Liz Bowie pointed out in her two articles on ''green'' products (Nov. 18), there's a lot of hype to watch out for.
A good case in point is recycled paper. While many people realize that recycling won't work unless there is a market for the end-products, most paper being sold today as ''recycled'' is made up of a combination of virgin paper and manufacturing scraps.
These scraps have always been thrown back in the pulper. They have never been a part of the waste stream. However, now that there is more concern for the environment, many mills are putting a recycled label on the same products they've been selling for years -- and jacking up the price.
The concerned consumer needs to look for papers that contain significant amount of post-consumer waste -- that is, paper that has been printed on, used for its end purpose, collected and sent back to the mill for de-inking and recycling. Truly recycled products are available, but they need to be sought out.
Industry will respond to an informed and vocal public. As consumers and citizens, we need to let industry and government know that we will not be duped by marketers trying to cash in on our concern for the environment.
The writer is president of Atlantic Recycled Paper Company.
Editor: Free at last!
Ukraine overwhelmingly voted for independence. A large and important European nation, situated wholly in Europe, she is turning from Moscow, to which she was tied by force for more than 300 years.
Ukraine is returning to the European house where she belongs. This is a joyful victory for democracy.
All countries would act prudently by welcoming Ukraine and giving her full diplomatic recognition. President Bush's Nov. 27 statement supporting Ukraine's independence gives hope that this will follow.
Ukrainian-Americans rejoice. They join their fellow brethren in thankful prayers that true liberty and freedom has at last come to their old homeland.
$ Wolodymyr C. Sushko.
Editor: Mario Cuomo may be the one to turn things around.
But too often those who appear to be leaders and statesmen become politicians once elected and we're in trouble again.
! Harriet C. Small.
Real Estate Market
Editor: Recently, the Consumer Federation of America released a study which that organization characterized as "the first major assessment of residential real estate sales by a consumer group." It was reported in the real estate section of The Sun on Nov. 17 ("No discounts offered on real estate commissions").
The CFA study contains no new information and is merely a conglomeration of re-hashed, unproven impressions which have no bearing on the realities of the marketplace or the quality and levels of service provided throughout the United States by real estate professionals.
The real estate industry currently operates in an environment that is perhaps the closest to a perfectly competitive market that one will find. Prices are set by the market. Agent and broker compensation is set by the market. In fact, less experienced agents generally receive smaller split shares from brokers than their more experienced counterparts, unless they are producing at a very high level.
In point of fact, real estate is an industry in which practitioners are paid solely on their ability to produce results. No sale means no commission. It is in the agent's and broker's best interest to ensure that all parties to a transaction come away from the table feeling good about the property transfer. There is no percentage in ill will.
Buyers and sellers have an array of marketplace options. They can use full service brokers, discount brokers, buyers' brokers or no brokers. While we obviously feel that there is a clear value in using the services of a real estate professional in the home-buying and selling process, consumers are free to choose the method they use to market or purchase property.
America's real estate industry has been effectively and ethically serving consumers on an organized basis for more than 130 years. We can be proud that this industry began here in Baltimore and the public can be assured that the industry will continue to ensure continued access to homeownership.
% William M. Hesson Jr.