Important IssuesEditor: Letter writer U.M. Abnyankar...


January 05, 1992

Important Issues

Editor: Letter writer U.M. Abnyankar complains that televising trials in which sex is a central issue are ''sordid and shameful'' and the trials themselves are mere ''electronic versions of grocery store tabloids.''

The Smith trial and the Thomas hearings were not broadcast to provide a cheap thrill or to embarrass viewers. Each of the events displayed another facet of the constant struggle of women to preserve their dignity and rights.

It would be unfair to censor these broadcasts or not to broadcast them at all when so many women throughout this country may be affected by the outcome. People who do not wish to see the events or who do not want their children to see them can simply turn off the TV.

Date rape and sexual harassment are very real, very important issues. It is necessary to be honest and even explicit about them if we are ever going to defeat them.

Alicia Rabins.


Recycling in Baltimore

Editor: In reading John Gormley Jr.'s "Recycler needs to clean up balance sheet" (Dec. 15), one would get the impression that recycling in Baltimore is in great danger of ending up the victim of a company in financial difficulty.

While many of the points made in the article are accurate, I feel that the overall implication of the article tends to lead one down the wrong track. Mid-Atlantic Recycling is one of several recycling companies in the Baltimore region. They do, however, happen to be one of the newest kids on the block. For reasons of their own, Mid-Atlantic made a business decision to price their product at zero. That is to say, they would accept paper from local jurisdictions and various commercial establishments with no tipping fee. Many of the existing recycling facilities in this area questioned how this can be done as they charged some fee for the deposit of paper at their facilities.

The folks at Mid-Atlantic indicated that they felt that they had markets lined up and knew what they were doing. The tone of your article seems to imply that recycling in general is in trouble because of financial difficulties which Mid-Atlantic may be suffering. Mid-Atlantic made a business decision -- for whatever reasons and they will make business decisions to correct this situation if need be.

As a famous economist once said, ''There is no such thing as a free lunch.'' As your article implies, Howard County doesn't have any money for recycling. However, Howard County will have to make a decision whether to pay a tipping fee at the local landfills or incineration facilities or pay a tipping fee of a lesser value to Mid-Atlantic Recycling with the benefit of having the paper go toward a better cause.

Recycling in the metropolitan Baltimore area is in its infancy. Curbside recycling in Baltimore City has only recently started and has yet to begin in Baltimore County. As the recycling process gets going, we are bound to encounter pitfalls along the way. With each few steps forward that we take, surely there will be some steps backward. The folks who run Mid-Atlantic Recycling are astute business people who I am sure will find a way out of their present dilemma. There is certainly room for competition in the market place. There is room for many PTC economic opportunities in the recycling area. If recycling is to succeed at the local levels it will be because economic factors dictate this.

While there is no question to the positive morality of recycling, it -- is the lower tipping fees paid to recycling facilities as opposed to landfills and incinerators that will spur most county and city governments to follow this direction. It is unfortunate to see Mid-Atlantic Recycling have difficulties at this early stage in its corporate history. However, the law of economics will prevail. Supply and demand usually works.

Let us hope that the various municipalities that currently deal with Mid-Atlantic Recycling have the good sense to realize the benefit of what they have gotten involved in and see the economic value in their continued participation in this process.

Howard B. Weisberg.


The writer is chairman, Baltimore City Commission on Recycling and Resource Conservation.

Official Waste

Editor: The Dec. 15 Sunday Sun article concerning waste in the food stamp program should give you a clue as to why the public is so skeptical when the politicians say taxes have to be increased in order to fund programs for the poor.

According to the article, mistakes, lost checks and fraud associated with the food stamp program cost taxpayers $1 billion in 1990. Officials did recover $84 million which means $916 million fell through the cracks. We didn't get much bang for our buck in that program, did we?

I feel certain that a large majority of the people recognize the needs of the poor and want to help. It is very difficult, however, to accept the huge amounts of waste that appear to be inherent in welfare programs.

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