Shared SpaceWe heartily endorse your editorial "Why Build...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 12, 1995

Shared Space

We heartily endorse your editorial "Why Build if You Can Renovate?" (May 15). Why indeed? When Beth Israel Congregation decided to move to Owings Mils, we weighed very carefully the cost/benefit of building versus renovation and came down on the side of renovation -- with a twist.

Our new home is a former high-tech corporate headquarters with some 88,000 square feet of space on 10 acres.

When renovations are completed, the building will house a 400-seat sanctuary (expandable to 2,200 seats), an early childhood center, religious school, library and youth facilities. A large social hall will be available for weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah and other receptions.

But all of these facilities will take up just half of the space available. Rather than leave the remaining half empty, we will lease it out as office space until we need it.

The result: Our new tenants get prime office space with separate entrances and plenty of parking in Owings Mills, and the congregation gets a long-term "building endowment."

Why build? Renovation means everyone can benefit.

Ted Schweitzer

Owings Mills

The writer is president, Beth Israel Congregation.

Missile Systems

I would like to comment on Gilbert Lewthwaite's May 14 article, "Star Wars: Part II?"

Overall, I applaud his well-balanced account of the U.S. ballistic missile defense program.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lewthwaite inaccurately characterized my testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, implying that I told Congress the cost of deploying a national missile defense system to protect the United States would cost "thousands of gross national products."

This is not the case.

I was responding to a series of questions from Sen. Sam Nunn about the use of Theater Missile Defense (TMD) systems, designed to counter short-range theater missiles versus strategic intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

I informed the senator that TMD systems do not have a militarily significant capability against long-range ICBMs, such as those possessed by Russia and China.

The senator asked how much it would cost to use our TMD systems against ICBMs to protect the 50 to 100 largest U.S. population centers.

I responded that the cost would be "thousands of gross national products," and using TMD systems to provide defense of the United States was not technically feasible. TMD systems are designed to protect our troops deployed overseas from shorter-range ballistic missile attacks.

It is important to note the Department of Defense currently has a National Missile Defense Technology Readiness Program funded at roughly $400 million a year.

In three years we would be in a position to begin acquisition of a ground-based, ABM Treaty-compliant national missile defense system if directed.

A single missile site at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota would include 100 ground-based interceptors, ground-based radars, command and control systems and ultimately support from a constellation of space-based sensors.

This system, which would offer effective, affordable protection against ICBMs, could be available by the middle of the next decade.

&Lt. Gen. Malcolm R. O'Neill

Washington

The writer is director of Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.

Litter Butts

Why is that people who would not otherwise litter toss their cigarette butts just about everywhere? Aren't cigarette butts litter?

William M. Diegel

Timonium

Roadside Flowers

Kudos to the State Highway Administration.

This past week, I had occasion to travel on I-70 and I-795. The median strip on parts of each was abloom with a bright and cheerful array of variegated wildflowers.

The sight was both beautiful and uplifting, recalling to mind the lines from Wordsworth's poem, ''Daffodils."

Margaret H. Hamilton

Baltimore

The NAACP Should Keep Earl Shinhoster

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has been around for some 86 years. We have a 64-member board that seems to be out of touch with the grass roots people's problems.

As branch presidents, we find it very difficult to confront companies and major corporations regarding the hiring and promotion of African-Americans when our own organization is not practicing what it preaches. How can we convince companies of the fairness of promoting from within when we fail to exemplify the very same principles?

Earl T. Shinhoster, who did not ask for the move, was brought into the national office as national field secretary. This placed Mr. Shinhoster in the Number 3 position at the national office.

When forces from outside started their campaign to oust Rev. Benjamin Chavis from the executive director's position, the second in command, Louis Meyers, also fled the scene, leaving Mr. Shinhoster as the logical next person to lead the association as executive director.

When the board finally voted to oust Dr. Chavis, Mr. Shinhoster was then named senior interim administrator of the NAACP. He would be in charge of the day-to-day operations at the national office, with Fred Rasheed as his assistant.

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