Dr. Pollen Exits
Editor: I was sorry to read that "Dr. Pollen" has exited the scene, but to the local television audience he might never have made an entrance. Why do the Baltimore weathercasters never give the pollen count or the air-quality index as other cities do? Perhaps they are afraid of a mass exodus if they do report it.
Marcia R. Weiss.
Pests in Schools
Editor: We are parents of chemically sensitive children who attend public school in Baltimore County.
We are very disheartened in that we offered the school system a reasonable alternative to the spraying of pesticides in this school. It is Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which involves, but is not limited to, setting baits, traps, keeping the school clean and, when necessary, use of the least-toxic pesticides such as boric acid to deal with pest populations.
We met with representatives from the county school board and two of the top experts in the country on IPM who offered their expertise to set up a pilot program at the school. The school system has decided to forgo the use of a full IPM program and has instead opted to maintain the status quo: a modified IPM program which involves the use of pyrid (a synthetic pyrethreum which is petroleum based and is used to control roach populations. Some of the side affects include headache, nausea, chest pain and sore throat).
This poses a problem for all children and teachers as well as for children and teachers who are already sensitized to chemicals. Chronic low-dose exposure to pesticides can cause a host of problems in children: hyperactivity, learning disabilities and increased absenteeism.
In October, the federal EPA will be coming out with a report that will offer guidance for all of the nation's public schools that want to institute an IPM program. It is imperative for our educators to realize that the use of pesticides endangers the health of our children unnecessarily and affects their academic performance in many cases.
It is also imperative that our educators realize that they have a responsibility for educating our children in the least toxic environment that will promote good health and good academic performance.
In a time of tight budgetary restraint and lowering test scores it would be useful for school systems to look toward a more cost-effective and least-toxic method of dealing with pests.
Marian and Joe Arminger.
Editor: I welcome Gov. William Donald Schaefer's recent stand favoring abortion rights. In struggling to reconcile his personal beliefs with his role as an elected leader, he has made the only choice possible: to recognize that it is simply impossible to enshrine any one religious viewpoint into law.
Like many who are personally opposed to abortion, Governor Schaefer recognizes that it is not his place to dictate to those whose moral beliefs may differ from his.
And while it could be argued that he should have voiced his support earlier, I think it is more important now to look to the future. With the governor's leadership, and that of the pro-choice members of the General Assembly, we can look forward in 1991 to the passage of positive legislation designed to protect a woman's right to choose. Women will retain the right to make personal decisions based on their own moral and religious views.
Editor: I was greatly saddened to hear Gov. William Donald Schaefer announce his "pro-choice" position on abortion. Not only was I saddened, but surprised that he would adopt a position that is so blatantly illogical.
He states that he is personally opposed to abortion but does not believe that government should have the right to prevent a woman from exercising her right to choose an abortion. I find this surprising in view of the fact that our governor would surely not oppose the government's right to prevent me from choosing to abuse my wife and children, or choosing to rob my neighbor, or simply choosing to drive 80 mph in a 40-mph zone.
Why then is it wrong for government to prohibit a woman from choosing to take the life of an innocent unborn child? The fact of the matter is that government prevents people from choosing to do a wide variety of things when a particular choice violates the laws of God and society. The right to choose cannot be considered in the abstract; it must be viewed in light of the available choices. Clearly, the precious right to choose ends when it infringes on the rights of others. The right to choose cannot be extended to the indiscriminate taking of the lives of the unborn.
It would appear to me that our governor simply did not have, as did Sen. Frank Kelly D-Baltimore County, the courage of his convictions. It would appear to me that he simply tested the political winds and then exercised his right to choose the politically expedient and contribute to the continuing sacrifice of the lives of countless unborn. Shame on him!
Stanley A. Smith.
Rush to Judgment
Editor: The news regarding the indictment of Winnie Mandela on charges of assault and kidnapping is cause for deep concern, apprehension and disappointment. However, I do not believe that these allegations, and now a formal indictment by the South African government, constitute a basis for a rush to judgment on Mrs. Mandela.
The convoluted, highly prejudicial, mendacious and egregiously unfair system of jurisprudence, particularly as it relates to the majority black population and opponents of the atavistic practice of apartheid, makes it questionable that Mrs. Mandela can receive a fair and impartial trial in South Africa. It, too, is equally disquieting that she has been formally indicted now that Nelson Mandela, her husband, and Frederick DeKlerk are directly involved in serious and protracted discussions on the future direction of South Africa.
I hope that justice will prevail in Mrs. Mandela's case. This tragic and troublesome development, nonetheless, will not stop the inexorable march of the black South African population for full freedom and social justice in their indigenous land.
Samuel L. Banks.
Don't Spend It
Editor: Before spending a $100 million for a new state office building, the state should first renegotiate its current rental contracts.
With the threat of possibly losing state renters to such a project, the owners of buildings and offices leased to the state would have good competitive business reasons to lower their prices to and beyond the point where it would be cheaper to the taxpayers to keep the state offices where they presently are.
On the other hand, what is to become of all those politically well-connected building contractors who contribute so much to the PACs?
A. Robert Kaufman.
Squeezed for Oil
Editor: As the manager of an independent gas station I can see where the gas price increases are leading us. The large companies are selling gas to us for more money than their stations are charging at the pump to their customers. Once we are put out of business, and I'm fighting for my very livelihood right now, the consumer will be the big loser.
Then the large gas companies will have the whole show to themselves and they will be able to raise the price of gas to any amount they want. When the independents are gone, and we are slowly being driven out, the price of gas will really climb. There won't be any competition to help hold the price down.
Editor: Since all the best minds in the country find it impossible to define pornography and obscenity, let's try a totally different approach.
We'll talk about good manners and good taste, both of which are now lost arts. Good taste would avoid offending one's neighbors -- good manners would provide courtesy and consideration of others. It's a simple formula that used to work.
We can make it work again.
Florence S. Silverman.
Editor: Jeers to Michael Olesker for his pre-election admonition against voting.
If voters had ignored Mr. Olesker's column rather than the polls, perhaps certain races for state Senate, delegate, central committee and judiciary would not have been as close. In this past election, each vote truly counted -- except that of Michael Olesker.