Mexican BorderThe criticism of Rep. Helen Delich Bentley...


May 30, 1993

Mexican Border

The criticism of Rep. Helen Delich Bentley as expressed in your editorial May 18 is both unfair and unwarranted.

Recently, I stood with U.S. Custom officials at the Mexican border near San Diego as they described how the flow of consumer goods from U.S.-owned Mexican plants has overwhelmed their ability to inspect the trucks for contraband.

At this border crossing, tractor-trailer trucks entering the U.S. were backed up farther than I could see.

The customs official said that if the North American Free Trade Agreement is approved, chaos would result at the border crossings. This in spite of units of the California National Guard being put on active duty at the border in an attempt to stop the drug trade.

I was told that the Mexicans bunch up in groups of several hundred and rush the border. U.S. authorities are afraid to use force to stop them, since U.S. courts have awarded large amounts of compensation to those "wetbacks" who claimed they were injured in illegally crossing the border.

The consumer goods -- televisions, automobiles, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. -- produced in Mexico cannot be purchased by Mexican workers since they average about $1 an hour. The free trade is one-way, manufactured goods shipped to the U.S., with American jobs going to Mexico.

How are unemployed American workers supposed to purchase those goods if they have no income?

Most communities hesitate to cite manufacturers for pollution since they will simply move to Mexico, where there are no environmental safeguards and where pollution is rampant.

U.S. Customs informed me that they have been instructed to permit Mexican nationals to drive their trucks into every community within the U.S. and deliver goods to retail outlets. American truckers will join all the other American workers who have lost their jobs to low-paid Mexican nationals.

I say, thank God for Representative Bentley and her concern for American workers.

Dion F. Guthrie


The writer is business manager/president of Local 1501, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Dyslexia Myth

In her May 16 column ("All of Us Can't Be Einsteins"), Sara

Engram repeats a fiction that ought to be laid to rest -- namely, that Thomas Edison was dyslexic (or learning disabled in any fashion). He was not.

There is no evidence whatsoever, apart from an oft-repeated and unsupported story that a teacher once referred to him as "addled," that he had any learning disorder.

Indeed, the documentary evidence he left behind provides overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He was a voracious reader and a quick study in any medium.

To the best of my knowledge, the statement is no more true of Einstein. His "disability" lay in his having been a "late talker" and in supposedly flunking a math course in his early schooling (which did not happen).

vTC It is certainly true that intelligent persons with learning disorders have too often been labeled slow or made to feel stupid. Ms. Engram is fightingthe good fight.

But what happens to the child, parent or teacher inspired by such a grand story when the motivating myth is exposed as a sham? Why not start with the truth?

Nelson Rockefeller was dyslexic and made the fact public. He became vice president of the country. Surely there must be other figures of equal stature to invoke.

Over a year ago, The Sun published a piece I wrote ("When Myth Obscures Understanding") that addressed this exact subject. Edison was not a saint, nor even everyone's hero -- a frustrated president of Western Union once said he had "a vacuum where his conscience ought to be" -- but he had no trouble processing information.

Even when the cause is noble, as is Ms. Engram's, does it really help anyone to perpetuate falsehoods?

Robert Rosenberg

New Brunswick, N.J.

The writer is managing editor of the Thomas A. Edison Papers, Rutgers University.

Caustic Account

It was distressing for all of us who have known and worked with Janet Marie Smith to see her extraordinary creativeness, energy and commitment to Baltimore be minimized and distorted in Peter Richmond's revisionist account of the creation of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Having witnessed her in action on many occasions, it is confounding that Mr. Richmond paints such a caustic, personalized account in the April 16 Sun Magazine excerpt of someone who is in reality so extraordinary bright, creative and professional.

Many times Janet Marie Smith has had the opportunity to take credit for the stadium's success. Invariably she has deflected a personal compliment to the other people with whom she has worked.

Without the vision of the Maryland Stadium Authority, Orioles President Larry Lucchino and the architectural passion and determination of Janet Marie Smith, Baltimore would never have gotten the truly public and civic gift to Baltimore that Camden Yards has become.

Adam Gross

Bill Struever


Greece and Yugoslav Macedonia

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