Regional Waste Plan NeededI must commend the editors of...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 21, 1994

Regional Waste Plan Needed

I must commend the editors of The Sun for the recent shift in attitudes toward municipal affairs. Your June 9 editorial, "Trashing Regionalism," mirrored the testimony presented to the Baltimore City Planning Commission by the Commission on Resource Conservation and Recycling.

This represents a significant change from your editorial of this past winter, when you touted Willard Hackerman's proposal to build a new waste-to-energy facility in place of the existing Pulaski incinerator as a welcome initiative for promoting regionalism.

This editorial represents an excellent follow-up to Tim Wheeler and Eric Siegel's article in the June 1 edition of The Sun.

That article represented a significantly larger and in-depth look at this issue than the space you dedicated to the enactment of the incinerator moratorium two years ago.

There is no other issue that demonstrates everything positive and negative in municipal decision making as this.

Just as we could not support a moratorium two years ago, we cannot support the fast-track to its reversal . . .

Whether or not our region needs the incineration capacity of the existing Pulaski facility or the proposed expanded capacity of a new facility is not the issue. If this capacity is justified by regional goals and collective regional planning, then so be it.

However, Baltimore City and its neighbors are facing significant solid-waste dilemmas in the not-distant future, such as where regional landfill needs will be met as the existing landfills of Anne Arundel and Howard counties and Baltimore City all close within the next 8 years, and with Baltimore County not far behind.

The needs of Baltimore City with regards to landfill capacity are not likely to be met within the city's boundaries in the future.

Why, then, would we unilaterally give away the only bargaining chip that we have, namely the Pulaski site, without something firm in return?

Regionalism in solid waste is no longer a fantasy; nor should it be considered political suicide. It's an absolute necessity.

It is important for all the executives of the Baltimore metropolitan jurisdictions to come to a meeting of the minds on this issue. The long-awaited Baltimore Metropolitan Council disposal strategy needs to be a priority for completion.

Then maybe Baltimore City can consider lifting its incinerator moratorium. It's time for all of the BMC members to put their cards on the table and derive a rational regional solid waste disposal strategy that is fair to all of the region's citizens.

Howard B. Weisberg

Baltimore

The writer is the chairman of the Baltimore City Commission on Resource Conservation and Recycling.

Gutty

Our president has guts. It took a lot of nerve for him to appear before all those veterans who fought so bravely on D-Day. Not only did he show up, but he spoke the platitudes to them that he chose to ignore when it suited him 20-some years ago. Yes, that takes guts.

Kathryn Newkirk

Woodlawn

Officer Education

Morris Freedman's Opinion * Commentary article, "An Officer and a Scholar," (June. 16) addresses several interesting points, but fails to present answers.

For example, he asks why all career officers can't attend civilian colleges and universities. An appropriate response might be, "Why should they?"

More than half of today's Air Force line officers are ROTC graduates and another 28 percent obtained degrees at civilian universities before attending Officer Training School. Only one of five Air Force officers is an Air Force Academy graduate.

This blend of commissioning sources and educational experiences brings a broad and diverse perspective to the senior staff at any Air Force installation, and the American public is better served by this diversity.

Why shouldn't the great universities influence the military leadership of our country? They do.

The academy does not produce only engineers. The 93-semester-hour core curriculum ensures a balance of social, behavioral and physical sciences as well as engineering. Cadets earn degrees in English, political science, economics, biology, history, etc.

Rather than a narrowly focused field of study, academy graduates must demonstrate competence in a broad variety of academic specialties.

The value of the core curriculum is evidenced in the results of a recent civil engineering exercise. The team developing the best solution to this complex engineering problem comprised four political science majors.

If it is true, as Professor Freedman alleges, that academies fail in many of the same ways as civilian institutions do, how will sending officer candidates to these civilian universities rectify the problem?

Presently, Air Force Academy graduates average 93 points above the mean in the Graduate Record Exams.

Finally, I had to smile when I read that Professor Freedman's colleague lamented the time spent on American poets of the 19th century.

L I heard that joke 25 years ago, and it wasn't original then.

Col. Joseph W. Purka, Jr.

USAF Academy, Colo.

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