Sauerbrey's SideI resent Michael Olesker's (column, Jan...


January 18, 1995

Sauerbrey's Side

I resent Michael Olesker's (column, Jan. 10) portrayal of Ellen Sauerbrey as a sour grapes loser.

Mrs. Sauerbrey is to be commended for persistence and willingness to risk her popularity to fight for what she believes is right.

She is to be praised for her sense of obligation and commitment to the Maryland voters who did support her throughout her campaign and at the polls.

In recent days, it appears that the alleged voter fraud was perhaps not as extensive as was originally believed.

How would this ever have been determined had Mrs. Sauerbrey not investigated the election results to the degree which she has? . . .

This country is full of politicians who make decisions based on what will best serve them and their chances for re-election.

It's time that more of our elected officials followed Mrs. Sauerbrey's lead and exercised some willingness to forego personal agendas in the name of what is fair and what is just.

Nelly Greene


Postal Disservice

Recently, in my numerous unsuccessful quests to buy stamps, I've parked illegally, survived the withering glance of a postal clerk when I dared to enter the post office at one minute to five and, while waiting in a line of 27 people, publicly begged an elderly woman who'd just bought a sheet of 3 cent stamps to sell me one -- so I could at least mail my mortgage payment.

I've driven the 4.6 mile journey (7 minutes with stoplights) six different times -- only to be turned back by intimidating lines. You might suggest that I could have planned for this occurrence in advance. Perhaps.

But one might also suggest that the post office could also have planned ahead -- installing the 3-cent stamps and the new unnumbered G series in its postal machines might have been a start.

Perhaps the Postal Service could have expanded its opening hours for the first few weeks or could have embarked on a public relations campaign in December to remind people of the increase in rates and the need to plan ahead.

Can you imagine if you had to wait in line for 30 minutes to rent a video or return to the grocery store again and again because there was no place to park?

Buying postage that week was a process so frustrating and degrading that it reminded me of my experiences in dealing with a disreputable car dealer.

Fortunately, such an arrogant and insensitive attitude toward customers is basically limited to our government organizations, who face no competition for their services.

Does the Postal Service really think we will have an hour to waste waiting in line? Quite frankly, a rate hike, on top of already deplorable mail service, is just one more example of the appalling incompetence of the U.S. Postal Service. This newest farce was an abomination. If anybody wants to add privatization of the post office to the next election ballot, I'll be the first to sign up.

Carolyn Spencer Brown


Auto Industry Claims

I was somewhat surprised at The Sun's Dec. 23 reaction to some of the latest steps taken to clean up Maryland's polluted air. Experience indicates that motorists will fare just fine and that we will all get healthier air to breathe.

The editorial lamented that new, cleaner gasoline would raise prices by nearly a dime per gallon. In fact, shortly afterward The Sun reported that the increase would be much less, perhaps a nickel.

The editorial also said that cars with cleaner emissions required by the Environmental Protection Agency would be outrageously expensive.

You swallowed auto industry claims hook, line and sinker. Experience in other states has inevitably proven inflated cost predictions like these to be wrong.

As recently as 18 months ago, opponents of California's tougher emissions standards estimated that the program's 1995 model year cars would be $250 to $1,000 more expensive than their more polluting counterparts sold in other states.

A recent survey in Massachusetts, however, which now requires the cleaner cars, found that every dealership contacted was selling California-certified 1995 cars at an additional cost of between zero and $150.

Maryland had more unhealthful smog days this past summer than any other Northeastern state, including New York. If we really want to clean up the smog which rolls up from Washington through Maryland and to the rest of the Northeast, we must require automakers to make cars which throw far fewer pollutants into our air.

Once we do that, they will rise to the occasion and make affordable, cleaner cars, just like they have been doing since the original Clean Air Act was passed over their objections 25 years ago.

Daniel Pontious


The writer is executive director, Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

Statistics Show Speed Kills

On behalf of the National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives, I would like to convey my disappointment with Gov.-elect Parris Glendening's decision to seek legislation to raise the speed limit on Maryland's rural interstates to 65 mph.

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