Soviet-style rule seen in Baltimore CityA one-party system...


December 26, 1997

Soviet-style rule seen in Baltimore City

A one-party system with a quiescent electorate.

A dominant political administration.

A weak, rubber-stamp legislature.

Sound like the Soviet Union in its heyday? Sure, and Baltimore today.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's ramming through approval of the unpopular Wyndham hotel project for big contributor and Daniel P. Henson's housing department excesses documented in The Sun follow the old Soviet strategy of supporting and perpetuating the bureaucracy at public expense.

David Kirby


Nuclear power is realistic option

We are being subjected to scare stories concerning carbon dioxide emissions, which arise from the natural burning of carbon-based material such as coal and oil.

And what is the proposed "solution"? Burn another carbon-based material -- natural gas.

There is a simple, safe, cost-effective and environmentally superior alternative -- produce electric power with nuclear power plants.

For each 100-megawatt, coal-fired plant replaced with nuclear power, we would save annually more than a million tons of carbon dioxide, thousands of tons of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter and solid wastes.

The savings would be enormous. All that is required is to view the challenges in a realistic fashion.

Werner F. Furth


County should try two reading methods

I don't agree with the Baltimore County reading program. I don't think that whole language is the right way to teach young children to read. I think that children need to learn syllables and sounds, not one whole word at a time, plus its definition. I know that whole language is hard to teach children. When I began school, Baltimore County had just put this into the school system.

My parents are both teachers and they did not agree with this method. So, I learned both whole language and phonics. I do not think that whole language is the answer to pulling up reading scores.

I think that Baltimore County should teach children both methods. Then they would know how to say a word, break it into syllables and spell and read it. This way, children would learn the best of both techniques and teachers, parents and children would all be satisfied.

Will it raise scores? Will it make children better readers?

No one knows but it is sure worth the effort.

Jen Harger

Perry Hall

The writer is a sixth grader at Perry Hall Middle School.

Only stench comes from news story

In her Dec. 18 article, "Residents cry foul over odor," Heather Dewar did not mention one important observation she made during her visit to Wagner's Point.

She emphatically told me that she didn't detect any odors in the community emanating from the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant. So let me get this correct. The Department of Public Works has not received any complaints about odors.

The Maryland Department of Environment has not received any odor complaints. The Sun reporter didn't notice a problem.

I hate to say it, but the odor is coming from a stinky story.

Kurt L. Kocher


The writer is public relations chief for the Baltimore Department of Public Works.

U.S. repeating shipbreaking folly

The Sun has performed an enormously valuable public service by publishing the recent series on the disturbing environmental and labor safety problems associated with the shipbreaking industry both domestically and overseas.

As the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Labor Standards in the early 1980s, I spent several years focusing on the severe health and safety threats to the men and women at work in our nation's shipyards, particularly those related to occupational diseases associated with exposure to hazardous materials like asbestos.

I was able to secure enactment in 1982 of a law assuring that victims of occupational diseases would be eligible for worker compensation benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Act.

Your series demonstrates that we are making the same mistakes all over again. It is unacceptable that the Navy, Maritime Administration or any other federal entity would encourage or permit these kinds of fly-by-night operations.

The fact that federal agencies are cooperating to send pollution-laden wrecks overseas to be broken by crews unskilled in safety precautions and unprotected by sound safety procedures, speaks ill of the Navy, MarAd and EPA. If the United States truly aspires to global leadership on environmental protection, this provides a sorry example indeed.

I am committed to ending these unsafe practices, many of which will ultimately cost the taxpayers many millions of dollars when the lawsuits start rolling in, and they will.

I raised an objection when a provision was sneaked into the 1998 defense bill to allow the export of contaminated military vessels. Although that provision was eventually removed, voluntary agreements among EPA, the Navy and MarAd will essentially lead to the same result.

I hope that your series is the alarm bell that will get the Congress to pay attention to this unacceptable policy.

George Miller


The writer is member of Congress from the 7th District of California.

Pub Date: 12/26/97

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