Curbing recycling will ultimately worsen city's `grime...


March 30, 2001

Curbing recycling will ultimately worsen city's `grime crisis'

Blue-bag recycling is more than a feel-good service. It's a solution to the crisis of running out of land to bury Baltimore's trash. We should be trying to increase participation and close the recycling loop, not backtracking on hard-won curbside service ("City to dump blue bags," March 20).

When drugs first swept onto Baltimore's corners in the late 1980s, a nationwide recession followed hot on their heels, and the city froze the hiring of police to make fiscal ends meet.

We subsequently paid an awesome price in lives destroyed and dollars consumed to compensate for such short-sightedness at the very moment we might have turned the tide.

In that same era, with neighborhoods in the lead, Baltimore took the first step in preparing for the day we run out of landfill capacity. From volunteer recycling centers, we moved to curbside pickup to increase participation and divert more solid waste from diminishing landfills.

"Closing the loop" is the next step. It requires aggressively recruiting industries to manufacture products from our recyclables, creating jobs in the process.

And it requires soliciting Baltimore businesses to buy recycled products, from paper to glassphalt, thus establishing the consumer base and support environment to attract such industries.

We're behind schedule, but we're still in time to meet our grime crisis before it happens. Let's get it right this time.

Mary Pat Clarke, Baltimore

The writer is a former president of the Baltimore City Council.

I am most distressed the mayor and director of public works have elected to sacrifice curbside recycling to budget woes.

The initiation of curbside recycling a decade ago was the result of the actions of many who operated roll-off recycling programs in their neighborhoods and conducted extensive public education campaigns.

Trying to reinstitute recycling after some undetermined period will take us back to square one on recycling education.

The cost of new landfill space will be a great deal more expensive than the money saved by cutting out recycling.

This is a penny-wise, pound-foolish decision for the city.

Mary S. Roby, Baltimore

Prizing a strip club more than recycling?

The city can save $500,000 during the next fiscal year by not picking up recyclable blue-bag trash.

At the same time, the city is offering the El Dorado Lounge -- a strip club which many consider a "trash" business -- a building worth $530,000 for only $50,000.

Which "trash" is more important?

Ron Waltermeyer, Baltimore

Kids should learn basics before a second language

The Sun's article "Adios, language barrier" (March 16) seemed to praise the teaching of a second language (Spanish) to the children of the Furman L. Templeton Elementary School, including 4- and 5-year olds. Yet the same article states that the same pupils struggle to read and write English in the troubled school.

What is the explanation for confusing these children with a second language? The same could be said for trying to teach computer technology to young students who cannot do very basic arithmetic.

With the shortage of teachers and funds in city schools, these subjects should wait until secondary school, or at least until the children learn the basics.

Henry Seim, Parkville

Bypassing bar association politicizes the judiciary

The decision to end the American Bar Association's role in screening nominees for federal judgeships because the group is "too liberal" eliminates professionalism in favor of politics as a qualification for appointment ("ABA loses lead role on judicial nominees," March 23).

During the 50-year history of the ABA's role, which began under the Republican administration of Dwight Eisenhower, the ABA has played an important role in judicial selection.

Those of us who feared Mr. Bush's election would politicize an already conservative court have now seen that fear realized.

Leonard Jacobson, Baltimore

The writer is a retired judge of the Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Legislators should support moratorium on death penalty

I was dismayed to read "Time starting to run out on death penalty bills" (March 22).

It is befuddling to think that conscientious legislators such as Del. Salima Siler Marriott and Sen. Clarence W. Blount work hard to introduce legislation but committee chairs are reluctant to allow a vote. Such arrogance.

The justice system will always be flawed. In death penalty cases, the mistakes are particularly tragic.

May legislators first vote in favor of a death penalty moratorium, then its eventual abolition.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

It is ironic that some Maryland legislators seeking to block the proposed two-year moratorium on executions in Maryland defend their positions by noting that such a measure is a first step toward abolishing the death penalty.

To asume that, one must anticipate that the study being conducted by the University of Maryland will find serious flaws in the administration of capital punishment in Maryland.

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