Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 06, 2003

Giving up SUV will save energy, cut congestion

I was extremely pleased to see that new Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. will not ride an SUV ("Not every county VIP wants an SUV," Dec. 30). In these days of increased national security worries, his choice is that of an energy patriot.

In addition, it makes a personal contribution to reducing traffic congestion in the region. Studies have shown that larger vehicles cause traffic congestion just by being there. They take up more space on the road, decrease the flow through intersections, increase fender-bender accidents and increase parking problems.

SUVs are sold as safer vehicles, but they are not. And indeed, I have seen far too many people - confident of their four-wheel-drive SUVs - get in terrible rollover accidents.

Finally, SUVs contribute to the increased numbers of asthma sufferers and decreased air quality.

I am at a complete loss to understand why anyone would drive one.

Crystal Heshmat

Baltimore

I congratulate Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. on his wise decision to forego an SUV in favor of a sedan.

Not only are SUVs extremely dangerous to other drivers, they have a nasty tendency to roll over in an accident. Drivers involved in single-vehicle accidents in SUVs are far more likely to be killed than had they been driving a traditional car. And a car with snow tires can easily navigate Baltimore's snowy roads.

But the best part of the decision to travel by car instead of truck is the savings. If Mr. Smith covers 20,000 miles each year, the county could save hundreds in fuel costs.

Both tree-hugging liberals and penny-pinching conservatives can be happy about that.

Aaron Meisner

Baltimore

Farm regulations favor the polluters

The regulations issued by the Bush administration to limit the dumping of animal waste from factory farms into our lakes and streams are a sweet deal for polluting cattle barons, but they literally stink for the rest of us ("Federal rules triple waste-permit farms," Dec. 17).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges that agricultural runoff dumps more pollution in our lakes and streams than all other human activities combined. The runoff contains soil particles, animal manure, debris, salts, pesticides, drugs and heavy metals that produce vast "dead zones" around U.S. estuaries.

Yet the rules regulate only 6 percent of the country's 238,000 factory farms, and none of the croplands growing animal feed. And they give the polluters four years to come up with a waste management plan they can then shop around for a money-hungry state to approve.

Alas, this is totally in tune with the rest of the administration's bankrupt environmental policy.

Fortunately, every one of us has the power to stop subsidizing this environmental outrage just by saying no to polluting meat and dairy products.

Sheila Akehurst

Baltimore

McPhail's bonus just adds insult to injury

I was appalled on reading the article regarding Irving P. McPhail's tenure as the head of the Community College of Baltimore County ("Guiding a college's transition," Dec. 29).

It is unbelievable that this man should receive a $135,000 bonus just because he lasted five years in a job for which he was amply compensated.

And I am sure that this bonus adds insult to injury for the 18 faculty and staff members who were given their termination notice just weeks before Christmas.

Mary D. Scheeler

Catonsville

Let Asian nations handle North Korea

It is time for the United States to let other nations protect themselves. And in the case of North Korea, we should let Japan, South Korea and other threatened nations handle the situation. The pull-out of 37,000 U.S. troops from Korea is long overdue.

Many people in South Korea now resent the U.S. presence in a country that has a 650,000-member military. South Korea is now a wealthy, high-tech nation and should be able to defend itself. And if threatened, Japan and other nations can divert their talent from making violent electronic games to their own defense.

If the United States wants to stop crime at home and win the other unfinished war, the war on drugs, the best thing it can do is retreat from policing the world and stop exporting manufacturing jobs in industries such as steel and electronics. This would provide good-paying jobs for millions of Americans, who now turn to drug trafficking as their source of income, and also restore jobs for many minority Americans.

Ron Lester

Cambridge

Sean Penn dabbles in the right cause

In its editorial "Live actor dabbling" (Dec. 17), The Sun acknowledges "the Bush administration's determined moves toward an American invasion of Iraq."

If The Sun really cared about slowing down and just maybe halting such an insane march, it would heartily applaud any such effort to do so.

Sean Penn had the decency to use his celebrity status to visit Iraq to see the situation himself and make a contribution to peace. But The Sun dismisses Mr. Penn's efforts as "one more lesson in Hollywood arrogance."

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