Emission MadnessRegarding a letter from Michael Cast Jan...


January 15, 1995

Emission Madness

Regarding a letter from Michael Cast Jan. 4 supporting the auto-emissions testing program: Those of us outraged by the new program also want clean air. That is not the point. The issues are the methods and madness involved. Consider:

1. Why waivers at all? If your car fails, fix it to meet specs, period. That's if clean air is really the issue.

2. Most emissions are at rush hour, hence the sister program called the Employee Commute Option, which originally mandated that businesses increase car pooling by nearly 20 percent or face stiff fines.

In the face of outrage by businesses, Maryland's Department of the Environment now says a business only has to create a plan to increase car pooling but doesn't actually have to increase ride sharing one bit.

More paperwork and no additional clean air. Why, if clean air is really the issue?

3. A used car dealer must make a car safe to drive according to state standards before it can be resold. Since clean air is a health issue, one would think the same logic would apply for emissions, if clean air is really the issue. Nope, they're exempt.

4. Other states (notably California) are going with EPA-approved programs that will have comparable results, at less cost and intrusion.

All we're asking is that other alternatives be evaluated objectively for Maryland. That's if clean air is really the issue.

. . . Why were there only three public hearings, one of which was in an area which is not even participating in the program?

Finally, if this program is the answer, why have there been nearly a half-dozen exemptions in just the last two weeks?

Obviously, then, clean air is not really the issue. Meeting unfunded federal mandates (which have now been relaxed) and continued receipt of federal highway funds are the issues. If not for them, no one in our state would have dreamed this up. So much for altruism.

We all want clean air. We're just not as willing to assume that Big Brother has found the best way to accomplish it.

Todd Brace

Ellicott City

Speed Limits

I am writing in protest of any move to increase the speed limit from its present 55 mph to 65 mph.

I just returned from a holiday trip to West Virginia, where the speed limit is 65 mph.

Do you think this is observed any more than our state's 55 mph is? No, most drivers do 75 mph. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

Do we want drivers in Maryland driving 75 mph? And then, after a few years, will someone decide that since most drivers are doing 75 mph, the speed limit should be raised again?

& Where will it all end?

Margaret H. Hamilton


Sweeney's Photos

As an amateur photographer I find the photos of Gene Sweeney Jr. of extraordinary quality and interest.

Journalist photographers get little recognition, though I'm sure

many are impressed by their photos.

Alfred B. Sundquist


Jay Column on UMBC Attacked

My colleagues at the University of Maryland Baltimore County campus and I were surprised and disappointed by the content and tone of Peter Jay's Jan. 5 column, "Cold War in Catonsville."

Mr. Jay wrote ostensibly about a lawsuit over tenure filed by a former part-time UMBC instructor.

Unfortunately, in the process Mr. Jay impugned the integrity of UMBC's faculty -- indeed, of the entire higher education community -- and assailed the character of our institution.

Before commenting on the campus' quality, I need to give you several additional facts about the case.

First, the person who filed the suit was employed part-time and, therefore, was not eligible for tenure.

Her case has already been examined and rejected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Further, UMBC's Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, home of the university's German program, is certainly not an enclave of Marxist or any other ideologically-based scholarship.

Rather, it is an interdisciplinary department that provides students with a rich grounding in language, linguistics and literary, cultural and media studies.

The research interests of its diverse faculty reflect the free pursuit of knowledge in publications and teaching materials on a variety of topics, from medieval linguistics to contemporary European literature to African languages.

Contrary to the impressions conveyed by Mr. Jay's commentary, UMBC is receiving both national and international recognition as well as strong support from the business community, public agencies and foundations throughout the region and nation.

In fact, UMBC is becoming a new model for public research universities because of its success in nurturing undergraduates and connecting with the larger community.

UMBC's core strengths are rooted in the talents of its faculty, who ambitiously pursue their twin commitments to teaching undergraduates and to graduate education and research, which have expanded substantially in recent years.

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