Waste on Sludge
Editor: During the period of financial crisis for government at all levels, I was amazed to see the City of Baltimore moving ahead on a sludge disposal process that will add $10 million a year to the taxpayers' burden.
Currently sludge disposal at the Back River Plant in Baltimore County (city-owned) is being handled successfully by three separate contractors. The average cost of disposal is under $40/wet ton. There is no storage of sludge at the plant and odor complaints have been eliminated. These three one-year contracts were extended in 1991 for another year.
Now, the city Board of Estimates has decided to eliminate the current system which is working so well and construct two new high-tech systems to dry the sludge before removal from the site. The city will begin paying over $100/wet ton and will be locked into a method that will inflate each year with the CPI.
This is an added cost initially of over $10 million each year. This so-called privatization is a complete waste of the taxpayers' money. The two non-bid, non-competitive contracts will cost metropolitan taxpayers over $400 million during the 20-year term.
I wonder what odors and emissions to pollute the air will come from cooking sludge?
Where are our priorities when we close libraries and pay this kind of money to experiment with technology? Whatever happened to competitive bidding, in an attempt to get the most for the public dollar?
Robert Oler. Towson.
Japan is No Enemy, It's U.S.
Editor: If you are suffering from the recession and drive a Japanese automobile, you have only yourself to blame.
According to former Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher, billion in U.S. exports equals 20,000 jobs. Considering that Japanese cars constitute 75 percent of the $42 billion deficit, that amounts to 630,000 American jobs lost to Japanese car manufacturers.
Don't blame President Bush, blame yourself.
#W. Walter Farnandis.
Editor: Since Dec. 7, several ''Japan-bashing'' letters and articles have appeared.
Unfortunately, all of them are way off base. Japan is not the enemy; it is the United States. No one is putting a gun to an American's head to buy Japanese or other foreign- made products.
One of the television news commentators said that one out of every three cars sold last year came from Japan. That is a sad indictment of Americans, when the reason given for such purchases was ''quality'' of product.
The American press ridicules the Russians for the quality of their consumer products but ignores the reason some Americans give for purchasing Japanese and other Far Eastern products.
The American consumer is not the only one to be blamed for the trade deficit.
Our corporate executives and board rooms come in for their share of the blame. Instead of working toward product improvement and quality, they shifted operations to foreign countries, shipped products here with an ''American'' label and believed their consciences to be clear.
I include Lee Iacocca in this category. Early in the ball game, he was among the first to have cars manufactured in Japan or
Korea shipped here under the Chrysler name.
Labor unions have done a poor job, too, in educating their members. If an American worker wants to get big bucks for his toil, he must then be willing to pay for the work of other Americans, even if it costs more. Quid pro quo!
Don't blame the president for the current state of the economy, ** when we are the cause of it.
`Richard L. Lelonek. Baltimore.
Hard at Work
Editor: In response to your editorial, ''Needed: Attack on Vacant Houses,'' please note that there are solutions to the problem already hard at work in Baltimore City.
Many parts of the city are currently being improved -- slowly but surely -- by small, community-based non-profit housing corporations which acquire, rehab and resell the unsightly vacants to low- and moderate-income persons.
Tri-Churches Housing is one such small, energetic non-profit, working since 1985 in the Pigtown area of Southwest Baltimore. To date, 15 vacant houses have become owned, lived-in homes as a result of Tri-Churches' hard work. More are under way now.
The public and private corporate sectors could do Baltimore a great service by backing organizations like Tri-Churches which make homes, not boarded shells in Baltimore neighborhoods.
Sister Cornela Sarandria RSM. Baltimore.
The Red Dean
Editor: In his column in The Sun of Jan. 4, Cal Thomas would have us believe that the influence of certain leftist clergymen was ''one of the main reasons communism maintained its grip for so long.''