Block RaidCongratulations to Gov. William Donald Schaefer...


January 27, 1994

Block Raid

Congratulations to Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Kurt Schmoke for their raid on The Block Jan. 14.

The raid was proof that neither gentleman is really interested in ameliorating the crime wave that has been driving Baltimore into a state of siege.

Closing down businesses, threatening to put people out of work, interfering with the freely chosen pastimes of the patrons of The Block are all, in one form or another, violations of the free speech clause of the First Amendment and its logical corollary of free association.

The invasion of private businesses by the State Police barely two blocks from Baltimore City's police headquarters clearly shows that what the mayor and governor are truly interested in is power -- unabashed, unbridled power.

Unable to carry out the land grab of The Block through legal means, they have resorted to outright violence to achieve their goal.

If Schaefer and Schmoke really wanted to do something about crime, they would use their considerable influence to move the criminal justice system in the direction of clearing our jails of individuals who are serving time for victimless crimes and making room instead for the murderers, rapists and thieves who are currently walking our streets.

Lorenzo Gaztanaga


I= The writer is chairman of the Maryland Libertarian Party.

Nothing Better?

Does the governor really not have anything better to do than to storm The Block with 500 state troopers on a cold winter night?

Does The Sun not have anything better to do than to editorialize against long-established attractions in a downtown filled with vacant, monolithic office buildings?

The Block is alive, which is more than can be said for the veiled negativism of government and of your publication.

John Maclay


Touches All

I look forward to The Sun and especially for Michael Olesker's column. His article of Dec. 30 on Jacqueline McLean was especially interesting, since what she was alleged to attempt to do touched everyone's pocketbook.

Sarah P. Plovsky


WBAL and Berger

While The Sun may feel WBAL-AM and Allan Prell's role in the Baltimore County school fiasco is "shameful," I for one am happy to see that at least one part of the media is still reporting on Superintendent Stuart Berger's errors in judgment.

I still think my children deserve a better superintendent than Dr. Berger. I still think Baltimore County deserves a better man than Dr. Berger. The Sun still thinks Dr. Berger is too distracted by the controversy to do his job properly. But The Sun still supports him.

No one, including The Sun, has said Dr. Berger is blameless for all this controversy, but many people feel he deserves all the blame.

Is there something the school board, the politicians and The Sun know that they are not telling us, that makes it imperative that Dr. Berger stay on at all costs?

If so, please inform me, and maybe I will change my opinion. If not, get rid of him and let's move on.

David A. Titus

Mount Washington

This is in regards to two recent Sun editorials chastising WBAL-AM for allowing their broadcasters to express intense (often personal) viewpoints on local and national issues.

Whether or not you agree, or can even stomach, some of the ideas coming out of the radio is a matter of personal choice. Isn't it great that there are opportunities and choices in Baltimore as to what views to listen to and the chance to express one's own opinion?

Unlike The Baltimore Sun, the radio stations in town have intense competition. I rely on WBAL radio for news and information. It is a reliable and trusted source in my home. Their ratings indicate I am not alone in this high regard.

Instead of objecting to the way Allan Prell presents his views on the Baltimore County school board, maybe The Sun should perform some investigative journalism on the subject . . .

Alex P. Gross

Owings Mills

Pros and Cons of Rubber Pavements

Regarding your editorial, "Where the Rubber is the Road" (Dec. 15 ), the use of crumb rubber from scrap tires in hot mix asphalt pavements is one use of scrap tires, but by no means the best.

Scrap tire rubber has been successfully used in lightweight embankments, in retaining walls, drainage layers and as fuel for power plants and cement kilns.

As you point out, the hot mix asphalt process has not been perfected. Nor is it certain there is any increased performance to justify the up to 200 percent cost increase or whether there are negative environmental and health impacts.

Recent congressional debate over 1994 appropriations for the Department of Transportation provided insight on the mandated use of specific amounts of rubber from scrap tires in asphalt paving on federal highway projects.

After holding hearings on crumb rubber modified asphalt and considering the opposing views of its use, the U.S. House and Senate passed a one-year moratorium on the minimum usage requirement.

Congress also directed the Federal Highway Administration to conduct research on the design and performance of crumb rubber modified asphalt, and to undertake a detailed study of the economic feasibility of rubber pavements.

We in the hot mix asphalt industry are extremely proud of our record in recycling. We were committed to the concept in the 1970s, before it became the "in" thing to do.

More than 80 percent of the hot mix asphalt pavement materials removed are reused in new paving projects. Is there any other product that can match this record?

We fully support the idea that the states and industry be given flexibility to dispose of scrap tires in an environmentally and economically responsible way.

Mandating specific uses is not the answer.

In the case of asphalt paving mixtures, it can even create more problems than it solves.

Mike Acott


The writer is president of the National Asphalt Pavement


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