Baltimore port seeks more businessThe maritime industry is...

LETTERS

July 29, 1996

Baltimore port seeks more business

The maritime industry is undergoing fundamental changes. There has been a dramatic shift to larger vessels calling fewer ports and an increased emphasis on scheduling. As service providers, the Maryland Port Administration and the Port of Baltimore must assess the marketplace to see how we can best compete in this new world order.

The MPA recently unveiled a strategic plan that will serve as a blueprint for our agency in the years ahead. While Richard C. Clements (letter, July 14) may disagree, the MPA and much of Baltimore's port community, which provided input and reviewed the plan, believe it addresses the reality of today's maritime industry and highlights our port's strengths. Baltimore is known worldwide for its ability to handle a variety of cargoes.

We want to build on our diversity and focus on commodities, markets and trade lanes where we have an advantage or can be competitive.

Our plan recognizes the importance of containerized cargo, which accounts for nearly 75 percent of the general cargo moving through MPA facilities. One of the plan's 10 goals calls for the MPA ''to sustain and grow container business commensurate with the growth in the North Atlantic container market.''

In addition, we want to maximize our potential in cargoes where we already have established a solid reputation, such as automobiles, agricultural and construction equipment, steel and forest products.

We also plan to target new markets, including refrigerated cargoes, where we feel the port can be successful.

The Maryland Port Administration's new strategic plan takes a common sense business approach that will ensure the Port of Baltimore continues to thrive in the century ahead.

Tay Yoshitani

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Port Administration.

Kevorkian enters when pain won't leave

I am writing in regard to the July 23 letter from Jennifer T. Jeske that condemned Dr. Jack Kevorkian ("Kevorkian is no hero"). Apparently she has never suffered from unbearable and unrelenting pain, or had to live with a serious disability.

I have seen several programs on television in which doctors stated there was no need for Dr. Kevorkian because there was relief for pain. That is not true. There are too many doctors who cannot or will not offer any real help or compassion to their patients who suffer from severe pain and disability. I had one such doctor until recently.

If Ms. Jeske does not live with unrelenting severe pain and disability, she should not condemn Dr. Kevorkian. He shows more compassion for his patients than my last doctor did. When the doctors can offer true compassion and help to their patients in pain then no one will need to avail himself of Dr. Kevorkian's services.

Pearl M. Sherling

Baltimore

Social Security crunch coming

In his July 19 Opinion Commentary article, John Judis complains that Reform Party presidential hopeful Richard Lamm's pronouncements on Social Security ''are almost entirely There's no reason to worry about Social Security, Mr. Judis assures us, because the system's trust fund will have a $3.1 trillion surplus by 2015 and won't incur a deficit until 2030.

What Mr. Judis overlooked is that these surpluses that are supposed to secure our future retirements have been ''borrowed'' to help finance general government budget deficits.

As a result, the only surplus that will exist in the Social Security trust fund by 2015 will be on paper -- a very tall pile of Treasury IOUs redeemable at taxpayer expense. And the cost to taxpayers will be considerable.

Once the massive Baby Boom generation begins retiring around 2012, the Social Security system's annual operating balance will turn negative and begin to plummet steeply. According to the Social Security Administration, the annual revenue shortfall will have widened to $232 billion by 2020.

By 2029, the last year Mr. Judis claims Social Security will be ''solvent,'' the cash deficit for that year alone will reach $766 billion. These figures represent the annual budget savings -- or tax increase -- Congress will have to find just to keep the federal deficit from growing.

These are the numbers -- brought to us by the Social Security Administration -- that former Governor Lamm is warning about. I feel certain that most taxpayers will not regard them as ''B.S."

Harvey M. Meyerhoff

Baltimore

Don't blame residents for ugly suburbs

I've just read with interest the July 20 column by Andrew Ratner, ''Living ugly in the suburbs.'' The column seems to have two themes: that the public apparently loves the "burbs," and that suburban design standards are abysmally low because they've never needed to be otherwise.

People have ''poured from the cities to the suburbs'' for many reasons; Ratner's ''three conclusions'' are simplistic and irrelevant.

First, people are often fleeing from something. Crime and a poor education system (or the perception of these factors, real or not) are high on the list.

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