Traffic ControlI read with great interest the article...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 08, 1992

Traffic Control

I read with great interest the article about the Maryland Transportation Authority's experiment with the "TollTag" electronic toll collection system. Such systems have potential utility beyond speed and convenience at toll plazas.

In crowded central cities, such as Manhattan below 57th St. or the District of Columbia's federal area, these devices could be used to charge entrants and thereby reduce congestion and pollution.

These charges can be made to vary with the distance covered, time spent in the area, and the period of the day or week.

Thus, weekend visitors or evening visitors would pay less (if anything) than would prime time users. A sliding scale charge of this sort could also be used to encourage truck deliveries after normal business hours.

A local example of using variable pricing to restructure incentives is Baltimore Gas and Electric's program encouraging consumers to get a variable meter that would charge less for off-peak usage.

Mordechai E. Lando

Baltimore

Grow Up, Littwin

I hope Mike Littwin was only pretending to be as stupid as he sounded in his column in the Nov. 16 Sun, "Time of Endearment."

Surely it cannot have escaped him that the woman wanted her husband, not men in general, to call her "babe."

Objecting to being called "babe" (or "honey" or anything else of that nature) by anyone who has not earned or been given the right to use such an intimate term has more to do with common courtesy than with feminism, but the woman's movement, when it targets the casual use of endearments by strangers or by men in authority, does so because such use is presumptuous, indicates a lack of respect for the woman so addressed and has been known to be a precursor of sexual discrimination or harassment.

Littwin's meanderings on to the supposed backsliding on feminist issues are equally silly and simplistic. Feminism has to do with freedom of choice, not repression of sexuality.

Slit skirts and a liking for iconoclastic DJs are no more a sign of incipient Schlafly-ism than wearing sensible shoes is a sign that one is celibate. Grow up, Mike.

Mary E. Butler

Elkridge

Values

As I reflect on the things I have to be thankful for, high on the list is my life in a religious country -- predominantly Judeo-Christian -- from which we've derived many of our nurturing, tolerant and humane values. Your carping editorial chastising Governor Fordice of Mississippi for describing us as a "Christian nation" hit me like a hard slap. As Rabbi Jacob Neusner recently pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, "We could do worse."

Much of the sting of the slap that I felt was soothed by Theo Lippman's timely rejoinder on the editorial page on Thanksgiving Day alluding to an America mindful of tradition and God's blessings. Our conceptions of God may -- and must -- differ. Yet, the majesty of His creation inspires and unites us and has given force to many of the values we cherish. Without exaggeration, one may say that the Judeo-Christian way is threatened: here at home by heinous crimes like carjacking and child abuse, and world-wide by ethnic cleansing, dictatorship, pestilence and starvation.

Morally, God's creation is in a perilous state, and one doesn't need to be a fundamentalist (which I am not) to recognize it. There is much more risk in a secular crushing of our religious traditions and practices than there is of a fundamentalist takeover.

We need all the wholesome values we can get. Our survival as a people may depend on it.

Franklin W. Littleton

Baltimore

Garrett Students

A five-column headline in the Nov. 17 Sun read, "Yes, students in affluent areas do better on tests." The lead of the article, written by Sherrie Ruhl, states, "There is still a wide disparity [in test scores] between students in wealthier areas and students who live in poorer areas."

Apparently Ms. Ruhl did not carefully peruse the Maryland School Performance Program Report. If she had, she may have noticed that the students in Garrett County performed quite well on the tests, meeting 12 out of the 13 standards. However,

Garrett County is anything but affluent. In fact, in wealth per pupil, there are only four other jurisdictions poorer than Garrett.

In the second paragraph of the misleading article, Ms. Ruhl quoted Harford County school superintendent Ray R. Keech: "Students who live in areas where there are higher

socio-economic standards are going to do better than students who live in poorer areas." This is absolutely incorrect. Garrett County was among the four highest-scoring counties. These students obviously overcame the lower "socio-economic" factors.

Please do not perpetuate the misconception that there is a direct proportion between the wealth of a county and the ability level of its students. I understand that the article concerned only the Baltimore area schools, but the headline and lead paragraph were horribly misleading -- and simply wrong.

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