Dumping opponents are not misinformed about the hazardsThe...


August 16, 1999

Dumping opponents are not misinformed about the hazards

The Sun's editorial "Dredging up the truth on proposed dumping" (Aug. 4) has done an injustice to many people. These people have gotten their facts together and presented significant evidence to support their opposition to open-water dredge dumping at Site 104, the deep trough just off Kent Island.

The community, elected officials and government agencies have come together to agree that much more study is needed before we use such an environmentally sensitive area for open dumping of "clean" dredge spoils.

As legislators, we did not receive any misinformation or distortion of the facts from the community leaders. In fact, we welcomed their input.

We know that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has stated that capping the area would be beneficial. However, the evidence we see indicates that capping poses environmental hazards as well.

We are fully aware that "contaminated spoils" can only be used in special areas. We know that Site 104 will not take any of the contaminated spoils from the inner harbor channel.

Nevertheless, we believe the very adverse assessments of the proposal by virtually all federal environmental agencies, most recently by the Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 10, should raise a red flag.

We agree that the port of Baltimore plays an essential role in the economy of our state. We must keep our shipping channels open to remain a viable, competitive port.

As legislators, we worked during the most recent session of the Maryland General Assembly to provide incentives for port activities and expansions.

However, maintaining the environmental health of our state's most precious natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay, is also paramount to Maryland's economic well-being and to maintaining the enviable quality of life we enjoy.

Mary Rosso


The writer represents the 31st Legislative District in the Maryland House of Delegates. The letter was also signed by four other delegates.

Midshipmen shouldn't need training in ethics, integrity

Based on The Sun's article "Midshipmen get a crash course in character" (Aug. 8), I cannot understand how the Naval Academy has been able to produce some of the great Americans of our time.

How is it possible that men such as Adm. William Halsey, Sen. John McCain and President Jimmy Carter ever learned about ethics, integrity and character without being subjected to weekly ethics classes, annual ethics dinners or "Friday night ethics at the movies"?

The article says, "Character. Ethics. Integrity. They have all become buzzwords of a new era at the Naval Academy . . . a few years ago, such words weren't often heard among the 4,000-plus students. . ."

These words weren't often heard in the past because midshipmen were supposed to be people of the "highest moral standards" before they got to the academy. If a ards, he or she should not be there.

To use character, ethics and integrity as buzzwords is an insult to the institution and the people who have graduated from it.

The academy should review its recruiting and admissions policies to prevent the "bad apples" from getting in, and stop wasting their resources on "Harvard-trained experts" who believe that "Ethics is peculiarly a newfangled thing at the academy."

David Webb


Subsidizing private schools: consistent public policy...

The Sun should be commended for elevating the parental choice in education issue to the front page ("A culture war over public aid, private tuition," Aug. 9).

Whether this is a culture war or a precursor to one, it will shape our culture in the years ahead -- because it is about shaping young minds and hearts.

The argument for parental freedom in education is one of fairness and consistent public policy.

Aid or tax relief to parents who want their children to receive a private school education would simply be an acknowledgment that public and private education serve the same common and essential purposes. Both, therefore, are worthy of public support.

We acknowledge that for higher education: What moral or legal reason can be offered to deny it for younger children?

Reporter Lyle Denniston notes that opponents of parental freedom in education tend to petition the the states rather than the federal government -- and have mostly been successful at that level.

This is not surprising, in that a reactionary force like the public educational establishment is apt to find a friendlier reception for its agenda at the state level.

Herman Schmidt


...or unfair support for private preferences?

The Sun's article "A culture war over public aid, private tuition" (Aug. 9) mislabeled supporters of using public funds for private schooling as "defenders of parents' right to choose their children's education."

But no one attacks parents' right to choose their children's education, so there's nothing to defend against.

If parents want to send their children to private school, they are perfectly free to do so. They just have to pay for it.

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