Poor losers at Olympics disgrace U.S.The incident at the...

Letters

March 02, 1998

Poor losers at Olympics disgrace U.S.

The incident at the Nagano Winter Olympics involving the U.S. men's ice hockey team should be an embarrassment to all Americans ("Team USA makes ugly exit," Feb. 20).

The poor losers who vandalized one of their quarters are a disgrace.

The Olympic Committee should bar a country's teams for that sport in the next Games.

If the unlawful activity occurred during the Games, that team would be disqualified for the balance of the competitions.

If athletes want to behave like children, punish them like children.

This is where the Figure Skating Association exercised good sense when skater Tonya Harding was banned from competition.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Hospital merger could limit women's services

The proposed merger of the Greater Baltimore Medical center and St. Joseph Medical Center has merit, the natural joining of neighbors for the purpose of providing the best comprehensive care to the rapidly growing surrounding communities in the best possible way.

However, as the Feb. 22 letter "Hospital merger would affect abortion options" noted, there is more to this proposal than meets the eye, for St. Joseph Medical Center does not provide birth control and other allied services, such as sterilization.

Women are not, in other words, provided with comprehensive care at St. Joseph Medical Center.

Never mind that women in need of birth control, tubal ligation, abortion and other services considered morally reprehensible at St. Joseph's could go to GBMC for this care.

Would this remain possible, however, if the merger went through? Or would GBMC bow to the dictates of Catholic doctrine?

This question should be asked by those who do not want women deprived, selectively, of medical services.

Robin J. Breitenecker

Cockeysville

Return Fallstaff Road to two-way traffic

The Baltimore Department of Public Works says it received only two letters protesting the partial one-way stretch on Fallstaff Road at Clarks Lane, but I've heard scores of complaints for years ("Partial one-way irks some drivers," Feb. 23).

Every weekday, I have to travel several unnecessary blocks because of the half-block one-way restriction.

The road should be opened both ways. Use speed bumps or other devices to control traffic.

Albert Adler

Baltimore The Feb. 20 letter "Our son's rights are being denied and no one helps" -- about the writers' developmentally disabled son being shackled day and night for two years at a state mental institution -- sounds like a nightmare.

With all of our medical and scientific knowledge, we surely could find a better solution to that child's problems.

The family deserves better.

W. M. Ryan

Rockville

State backing down in game of chicken with poultry firms

Because Pfiesteria legislation from the General Assembly in Annapolis may require farmers to implement potentially expensive waste-management programs, it is not surprising that farmers think environmentalists and even the governor want to put them out of business.

Nothing could be further from the truth, because failing farms are often replaced by environmentally destructive suburban development.

The environmentalist message is that the polluter must pay for the cleanup.

Because poultry companies, not farmers, own the chickens the farmers raise, the poultry companies should be responsible for the waste that the chickens produce.

But poultry companies have said that if we make it harder for them to do business in Maryland, they'll leave the state.

So far in this game of chicken, state leaders have backed down first.

Sun editors have also been loath to ruffle poultry companies' feathers. Their Jan. 30 editorial "A plan for saving the bay" said, "Ideally, the costs should be shared by big poultry companies, but that's impossible to accomplish in statewide legislation without the economically important chicken industry fleeing elsewhere."

The chicken industry may be important to Maryland's economy. But should we bow so easily to poultry companies' threats to leave, and treat the state's farming, fishing and tourism economies like chicken feed?

Rebecca Leamon

Baltimore

It is a great pity that we seem to respond to a threat only when it is direct and immediate. Highly destructive but slow-moving forces are generally ignored.

Our response to last year's outbreak of Pfiesteria is a case in point.

Nutrient runoff became big news and a spur to action when it was learned that exposure to bacteria in the Pocomoke River's polluted water could make people sick.

The Chesapeake Bay and its rivers, however, have been getting sicker on their diets of nutrients for years.

Without a Pfiesteria crisis, would we be taking action now to save them?

We should try to take seriously the harmful things that grow slowly but relentlessly, such as population, greenhouse gasses, pollution, destruction of habitat and depletion of resources.

A Chinese proverb says. "If we do not change direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed."

Dan Lynch

Baltimore

Pub Date: 3/02/98

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