Money should go to the poor, not highway wallsOur system...

LETTERS

October 10, 1997

Money should go to the poor, not highway walls

Our system of priorities is out of whack.

Our schools need funds desperately. We have poor people who need housing, shelter and health care. Our libraries are shortening hours and closing. Do we provide money to solve these problems?

We are told we don't have the funds. At the same time we are spending millions to put sound walls around the Beltway to protect houses of the well-to-do from highway noises. These noises are already attenuated by the trees along the highway.

Furthermore, people who move next to a busy highway know they will have to put up with some noise and should not be asking the public to sound-proof their residences.

How about fewer noise walls for the well-to-do and better schools for the inner-city residents?

Henry Lehmann

Baltimore

Sen. DeWine deserves apology on article

I want to correct an error made in an Opinion/Commentary article that ran Sept. 12 regarding an effort by a few elected officials to use Princess Diana's death in their campaign to lower the drunk driving arrest threshold (''No way to get drunks off the road'').

Sen. Mike DeWine (R, Ohio) had no part in the objectionable news conference held by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D, N.J.) and Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D, N.Y.) just days after Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris. While Mr. DeWine is a co-sponsor of legislation to lower the drunk driving arrest threshold, he had nothing to do with that exploitative news conference.

I apologize to the senator for the erroneous linkage.

Rick Berman

Washington

The writer is general counsel to the American Beverage Institute.

All Congress members should be asked this

I have been closely following the Republican push for a full investigation of Vice President Al Gore's fund-raising activities.

I think the realities of this situation are very simple. Make every U.S. senator and representative take a lie detector test and ask one question, ''Have you ever used the telephone in your office to raise campaign funds?''

;/ I doubt if one of them could pass the test.

Albert M. Harris

Towson

'Cancer' means something's wrong

Clarence Page hits the nail on the head in his Sept. 30 Opinion/Commentary article: There is a ''cancer of self-defeating attitudes'' among blacks which ''ridicules proper English as 'talking white' and academic achievement as 'acting white'.''

But Mr. Page, right as he is that there is nothing wrong with black genes, is wrong to suggest that this cancer is not something wrong with black culture (''as if there either is something wrong with our genes or our culture''). Contempt for ''acting white'' is a feature of culture, not just a thing isolated individuals happen to feel. Cancer is by definition ''something wrong.'' If contempt for ''acting white'' is a cancer, then there is accordingly something wrong with African-American culture.

I am sure what Mr. Page meant is that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with African-American culture, with which I agree.

Eric P. Stewart

Catonsville

Cassini poses too great a risk

Perhaps The Sun's anonymous editorial writers wouldn't be so cavalier about the launching of the plutonium-laden Cassini space probe if they availed themselves of all of the evidence presented by well educated and highly respected members of the opposition -- such as Helen Caldicott, founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, or Michio Kaku, professor of nuclear physics at the City University of New York -- who adamantly oppose the use of radioactive materials in rocket-launched satellites.

The United States had at least one failed rocket launch event recently, fortunately with no apparent human or long-term biological damage. We will not be so lucky if Cassini's 72 pounds of plutonium disintegrates in the atmosphere after a failed launch.

NASA's allusions to ''acceptable risk'' should be reserved strictly for military confrontations, not used as the basis for deciding whether it's O.K. to contaminate half the world's population with radioactive debris.

J. A. Arkuszeski Jr.

Baltimore

Peale must be cared for until its fate is determined

Recently driving down Holliday Street, I noticed the homeless had taken up residence in the doorway of the now closed Peale Museum. This is just a further indication of the Schmoke administration's total lack of regard for our Baltimore heritage. The Peale is one block from City Hall.

What is going to happen to this wonderful museum with its priceless collection of works by the Peales? Is it just to remain closed until, "God forbid," one of our homeless decides to build a small fire to ward off the chill and it inadvertently spreads.

Some responsible agency needs to take charge of maintenance while the deposition of the treasures is sorted out.

My solution would be that the Maryland Historical Society take control of the Peale, as well as the Mencken house, the Carroll mansions and the Shot Tower. The new museum whose mortgage caused the closings should be converted to an Afro-centric museum that the city administration could support. To do nothing is to invite disaster.

J. Hennessy

Fallston

Pub Date: 10/10/97

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