Letters To The Editor


December 19, 2007

Hours in the cold for a recycling bin

Baltimore's Department of Public Works invited Baltimoreans to come get new, yellow recycling trash cans and bins (for $6 and $5, respectively) at selected locations on Saturday. As recyclers, a neighbor and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity ("Enthusiastic, empty-handed," Dec. 16).

We arrived at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute at 10:10 a.m., 10 minutes after the distribution was scheduled to begin. The temperature was in the mid-30s, and we were greeted by a line that wrapped circuitously through the Polytechnic Institute parking lot.

Two hours later, as humans in this March of the Penguins, we made it to the front of the line to receive our yellow recycling containers, emblazoned with Mayor Sheila Dixon's name.

Everyone in line wondered how the city could have planned the distribution so poorly that only two money collectors were present to process all the orders.

There was no sense of customer service, or even an apology from the workers, who plodded along in their jobs while making us wait two hours in the bone-chilling cold.

I felt like I was in Moscow in an old Soviet bread line.

The general consensus of those in line was, "What else can one expect from Baltimore?"

Peter Smith


Why not give out new receptacles?

The debacle that was the Baltimore recycling bin sale begs us to ask why the city implements programs, makes it difficult for citizens to participate in them and then acts dumbfounded at the eventual poor results ("Enthusiastic, empty-handed," Dec. 16).

If the city really wanted people to participate in its recycling program, it would distribute a recycling bin to every residence in the city, with the address printed on the side, free of charge.

This is done in other cities with great success.

Barring that, the Department of Public Works could sell the containers at a time convenient to customers, since making the bins available only from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, at a single location, as the city will now do, makes their acquisition next to impossible for residents who work those hours.

Thomas Roethke


Single-stream plan can boost recycling

Kudos to Baltimore, which will begin a single- stream system of recycling ("Enthusiastic, empty-handed," Dec. 16). City residents will no longer be asked to put out bottles, cans and plastic one day, and paper and cardboard another, if they want to help the environment.

The new plan was designed to allow residents to set out all their recyclables on one day, which will encourage more people to recycle.

I believe that the sellout of the 25-gallon bins that will be used (but not required) for the program is a testament to its future success.

And I would like to know if and when Baltimore County will adopt such a plan.

Several Towson residents I know, including myself, find it arduous to separate each kind of recyclable material. We also face an unsightly accumulation of trash in our houses and backyards as we wait for the appropriate day to put the two kinds out for pickup.

To avoid this buildup, many people just put recyclable material in with regular trash.

Following the city's lead would most certainly lead to increased participation in the recycling program.

And that would be a major contribution to cleaning up Baltimore County as well as bettering the environment.

Erin Dickensheets


Alonso's new plan will make difference

Bravo to Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso ("Alonso seeks private donors," Dec. 16)

It is unfortunate that Mr. Alonso has to go outside of the system for resources to support his plan for 24 combined middle-high schools as he seeks to make a difference for the city's students.

However, because the plan recognizes and addresses the varying needs of children, it is a critical step for success.

As a member of the Baltimore County Career and Technology Education Advisory Council, I have seen the difference in how students look at their school when it enables them to connect with opportunities that make sense to them.

Ann McNell


Governor is seeking to centralize power

Gov. Martin O'Malley has made it clear that he wants to be "the decider" in Maryland. The rapacious consolidation of power by leaders such as Mr. O'Malley and President Bush makes me fear for the future of democracy in this country ("O'Malley names three to state school board," Dec. 13).

The governor's push to directly appoint the state superintendent of schools and his running roughshod over the legislature during the special session are prime examples of this consolidation of power.

If the General Assembly bows to his every whim, whose interests are its members looking out for - ours or the governor's?

Sarah L. Clever


The writer's husband is a policy analyst for the Maryland State Department of Education.

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