President's China trip was crucial first step in journey...

Letters to the Editor

July 12, 1998

President's China trip was crucial first step in journey to freedom

"A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step." The president's visit to China was the first step in a long journey that I hope will bring personal freedoms to the Chinese people. The television broadcasts of President Clinton in China brought unexpected bonuses that may be beneficial.

The typical American expects a quick fix for any problem. To expect a culture so different from ours to make a complete turn immediately would be the height of arrogance. Only by dialogue can we attempt to change conditions in China. That first step has been taken.

Stanley Oring

Pikesville

Conflicting values make St. Joseph, GBMC bad pair

In his Opinion Commentary article ("Making the Case for St. Joseph Medical Center," June 26) Carmen F. Deyesu fails to explain one crucial contradiction. He states: "Nonetheless, [St. Joseph] does not expect its business partners to act as Catholic hospitals or to follow Catholic directives."

If that is true, why is it necessary that "abortions and fertility services would have been transferred to a new and separate corporation on GBMC's campus with no link to St. Joseph"?

The clear explanation for this is that the rest of Greater Baltimore Medical Center would be "linked" to St. Joseph and would thus be under the same restrictions that force the removal of abortions and fertility services. It expects its business partners to follow Catholic directives.

Mr. Deyesu makes a strong case for the values of Catholic medicine. Nobody denies the outstanding services that Catholic hospitals have rendered to our society, and especially to the poor.

Neither is it possible to deny basic conflict of values between the Roman Catholic Church and most Protestant denominations as well as much of the rest of the society. This includes end-of-life decisions, the role of women and reproductive decisions, including birth control, voluntary sterilization and abortion.

GBMC, which is the successor to the hospital for the Women of Maryland and the Presbyterian Ear, Eye and Throat Charity Hospital, was founded on principles that stand directly in conflict with directives that govern St. Joseph. To suggest that the two can be combined without compromising values important to one or the other is to misunderstand the importance of those values and how deeply they are held.

Charles P. Forbes

Baltimore

The writer is stated clerk of the Presbytery of Baltimore.

Regret over spill at Amoco and gratitude for response

A mechanical problem at the Amoco station at Loch Raven Boulevard and Taylor Avenue caused gasoline spill that affected the community ("Amoco might be penalized for leak," June 26).

We greatly regret any inconvenience or other difficulties this incident may have caused the community. We are thankful no one was injured and environmental impact was minimal.

Most of the gasoline was quickly recovered from an area immediately surrounding the underground storage tank. We are aggressively working to remediate the area at and around the station, and we will continue until all state and federal standards have been set.

It is Amoco's policy to take every precaution to avoid accidental product releases. Unfortunately, unexpected circumstances do sometimes occur, and when they do, we appreciate the quick response and professionalism of local public safety personnel.

We are making every effort to return our station and the community back to normal. We appreciate the patience, understanding and support of all involved.

Charles S. Woodbeck

Towson

The writer is mid-Atlantic region vice president of Amoco Petroleum Products.

Protect the piping plover from growth on Assateague

Defying the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is pursuing an "emergency" beach nourishment project on Assateague Island National Seashore north of the state park beginning Wednesday.

The fact that scores of piping plovers, a threatened species, may be nesting there will not stop bulldozers from working 24 hours a day to create a 10-foot berm for development. Some of the mainland development is on food-prone land only two to four feet in elevation, a foolish location on which to build.

Last year, more than 60 pairs of piping plovers successfully fledged their chicks on the relatively flat north end of Assateague. Signs were posted closing the area to public access. The area will again be closed this year until approximately Sept. 1, when the piping plovers are expected to leave.

U.S. Senators Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski should be asked to intervene in an effort to protect the piping plover.

Illa J. Fehrer

Snow Hill

The writer is chairman of the Worcester Environmental Trust.

Citizens need to find out who backed line-item veto

The U.S. Supreme Court has finally told Congress that it cannot delegate its constitutional responsibilities to the president.

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