Crime FearsPoliticians are trading on citizens' fear...


December 23, 1993

Crime Fears

Politicians are trading on citizens' fear, anger and disgust with crime to propose immensely expensive solutions that amount to "lock 'em up and throw away the key."

Del. Ellen Sauerbrey, who bills herself as a conservative, proposes spending literally hundreds of millions of dollars for more prisons, followed indefinitely by additional millions for keeping people in those prisons. Is that conservative?

A conservative automatically opposes additional taxes, so those hundreds of millions will have to come from other state programs.

Would Ms. Sauerbrey take them from school construction and school support? From senior citizen programs? From drug treatment services? From school lunch programs? She should be prepared to answer a lot of questions.

Prospective congressional candidate Gerry Brewster really descended into the pits when he spoke of his opposition to "the pro-criminal lobby."

He knows that nobody is pro-criminal, but that comment will appeal to simple folk, and simple folk will vote.

Mr. Brewster must have been referring to people who insist that all defendants in criminal trials must have the protections of the Bill of Rights. Calling them pro-criminal is vicious demagoguery.

Carleton W. Brown


Tired Solution

The Dec. 15 editorial in The Sun describes the use of scrap tire rubber in hot mix asphalt.

Maryland, as well as every state, will be required by the federal government to incorporate used tires in its hot mix asphalt beginning October 1994.

The original implementation date of October 1993 was set aside by Congress. The concern is the lack of research and uncertainty about pavement performance and ability to recycle.

The ability to recycle this product is critical. What happens if the addition of scrap tire rubber to a ton of hot mix asphalt renders it not recyclable? We have a 2,000-pound solid waste disposal crisis, which is not in the best interests of our environment or our roadway system.

The editorial correctly states that scrap tire rubber asphalt is twice as costly as straight asphalt. Due to this additional cost, when we are working with a set amount of funds, only one-half of the lane miles of paving are possible to pave. The net result is fewer jobs and poorer roadway conditions.

There can be no question that the problem of how we dispose of our scrap tires is one which must be resolved.

There is an answer. Our elected representatives in Congress must allow the states flexibility in how they dispose of their scrap tires.

There are other proven uses of scrap tires, such as fuels for power plants and cement kilns, embankment fills and a variety of other practical applications. Simply to require the use of scrap tires in hot mix asphalt is not the best answer.

There is a bigger problem to deal with, and this solution only makes it worse: unemployment, especially a lack of jobs for the less educated and poorer sectors of our population. The roadway construction and rehabilitation industry stands ready to reduce the unemployment problem.

With a properly funded federal highway program, a large part of the problem is resolved. In addition, the economy is improved and our roadway infrastructure receives a badly needed overhaul.

Robert E. Sewell

Glen Burnie

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Asphalt Association Inc.

Nuclear Power

Prof. Martin E. Nelson's Dec. 14 Opinion * Commentary article, "Atoms for Peace," correctly states "that the only way to produce large amounts of power without pouring more carbon )) dioxide into the atmosphere is to use nuclear power."

Our need for electricity is growing. We need to plan now for the future of our children and grandchildren.

In 1987, addressing the Moscow Forum for a Non-Nuclear World for the Survival of Mankind, Andrei Sakharov stated: "Nuclear weapons divide and threaten mankind. But there are peaceful uses of nuclear energy that should promote the unity of mankind.

"The aversion people rightly feel for military applications must not spill over to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Mankind cannot do without nuclear power."

It should be noted that leading industrial nations rely on nuclear power to increase their energy independence and economic growth. Nuclear generators now supply 70 percent of France's, 55 percent of South Korea's and 37 percent of Japan's electricity, but only about 20 percent of total U.S. electric power.

The facts show that the safety and environmental record of Western, non-Chernobyl, nuclear power has been outstanding.

No death or serious injury has been caused by radiation from any U.S.-type light-water reactor in the more than 30 years of commercial nuclear power.

The United States now imports more than 50 percent of its oil requirements.

Increased use of nuclear power is essential to meet our country's ever-growing demand for electricity and reduce the threat to our security from dependence on imported oil and the threat to our environment from increasing use of fossil fuels.

Bernard Siegel


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