Silencing the Productive Ones
Editor: Your Jan. 10 editorial, "Silent Spring," was very much to the point, but did not mention the widely accepted reason for this unfortunate action by the Congress.
Many feel that the banning of any kind of payment for articles, books, participation in seminars and speeches by federal employees is an attempt by the House to create such a strong public reaction that the ban on honorariums will be repealed. It seems to be a move by the House to tell the public that, if you won't let us have the honorariums, no one else in the federal government will get any kind of reimbursement either.
The result has been most unfortunate. Numerous articles and participation in industry seminars by federal employees have been canceled. Communication of the results of the work being done at federal research facilities and government agencies has been prohibited if compensation of any sort is involved. No longer can the results of research programs at such installations as the Navy or Army construction research laboratories be made known to the industry concerned by writing or other communication, unless the person involved is willing to bear the costs involved personally, without compensation of any sort.
What, in effect, is happening is that the private sector is no longer being made aware of the work being done under federally sponsored research, paid for with taxpayer dollars. A bad law, passed in a fit of pique by the Congress. Its members should be ashamed of themselves and reverse the action.
Charles R. Carroll Jr.
Do without Oil
Editor: I know we are all caught up in the patriotic fervor of saving the shallow and repressive Kuwaiti and Saudi regimes from the shallow and repressive Iraqi regime. But now is a good time to reflect on a lesson unlearned. If over the last decade we had invested resources commensurate with just our present military build-up, we would have had sufficient alternative energy resources to thumb our noses at the whole Mideast affair and let the region stew in the juices of its ancestral enmity.
We cannot look to the government to lead alternative energy development. It is clearly beyond the capability of our federal bureaucracy to guide us into the energy future, and a short spectacular war brings many more political rewards than a lengthy venture in technology research and development. Rather, the big petroleum companies should seize this opportunity.
Within the lifetime of the young executives beginning their ascent of the corporate ladders at Exxon, Shell, Texaco, Mobil, BP and Conoco, oil will become a very scarce commodity. We will not burn it for fuel or mold it into milk bottles. Instead, the little remaining petroleum will be shunted to the pharmaceutical and chemical specialty conglomerates.
So it is time now for the "petroleum" companies to become "energy" companies, investing in ocean thermal conversion, conventional solar, wind and other innovative technologies. How to profit from less centralized energy source? Owning the initial patents and royalty rights on the hardware and software is a good start, and other opportunities will arise as the R&D; process unfolds.
Events of the last few days illustrate the cruelly short-sighted leadership Washington has provided in the last 15 years. In an inversion worthy of the best science fiction, perhaps "big business" now has the imperative to save us from our own government.
Editor: The Soviet crackdown in Lithuania would be no surprise to the people of Afghanistan.
When will the U.S. media start paying attention to the real face of the U.S.S.R?
Editor: The English governor of Virginia and the English loyalists branded Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington "anarchists."
Councilmen Douglas Riley, Donald Mason and William Howard IV are in good company as depicted in your tax assessment protest editorial, "Dundalk Anarchists."
E. C. Chavatel Jr.
Editor: Gov. William Donald Schaefer says he recognizes that an effective educational system is essential to the state's economy. To achieve that, he and state Superintendent of Education Joseph Shilling have embarked on a grand plan to re-energize the state's flagging public schools by the year 2000.
Yet in the midst of this promising change, the "education governor" has decided to close the state's only model research elementary school, the Lida Lee Tall Learning Resources Center. The decision is short-sighted and promises to work against the very changes the governor has planned for Maryland education.
Lida Lee Tall is not just a good school for its 160 students, although it is certainly that. Throughout its 125-year history it has served as a testing ground for new teachers and for new ways to improve schooling.
Its population is carefully maintained to reflect that of the metropolitan area. Currently, 33 percent of the students are African-Americans, 13 percent belong to other minorities and all students are evenly distributed along the area's socio-economic scale. As a result, researchers can and do use the school, confident that their findings will apply to the larger school population.
Times are tough, and we're all aware of that. Lida Lee Tall and its parents have historically shown a willingness to help out. We ask only that we be allowed to continue to do so in the future.
The writer is president of the Linda Lee Tall PTA.
Control Growth in Maryland
Editor: Growth in Maryland is out of control. Presently, the state has a higher standard of living than most states and people are moving here in droves to reap the state's benefits. This increase in population, though, is destroying the quality of life which makes Maryland so attractive.
In the last 20 years, the population in Maryland has soared from 3.9 million to 4.7 million, a 20 percent increase. Projections by the Maryland Planning Office show an addition of one million more people by the year 2020.
The damaging effects from this overload are familiar to most of us. Roads are congested, schools are overcrowded, air and water quality are deteriorating, summer electric brownouts are increasing and the availability of affordable housing is decreasing.
To prevent further degradation to our quality of life from uncontrolled growth, we could concentrate on devising ways to keep people from moving to the Free State.
This would solve many of the aforementioned problems, but it is unrealistic. Maryland will continue to grow, and needs to grow to maintain its economic viability.
Assuming this, our next logical step is to develop a plan to manage this new growth.
To accomplish this, Gov. William Donald Schaefer created the Commission on Growth in the Chesapeake Bay Region chaired by former Representative Michael D. Barnes, to study growth problems. The fruits of this study are incorporated in the proposed Maryland Growth and Chesapeake Bay Protection Act.
The major tenets of this act are designed to prevent the inefficient use of the undeveloped land remaining in Maryland. According to the act, future development will be concentrated in areas that already have the infrastructure (roads, schools, sewage) to handle growth. If more land is needed for development, it will be located next to old growth centers.
Rural and resource areas will be protected from suburban sprawl. Sensitive areas, including flood plains, steep slopes, critical habitats for endangered species and stream buffers (vegetated land bordering streams and rivers) will be preserved.
If the guidelines to the present Maryland Growth and Chesapeake Bay Protection Act are followed, growth will be managed in a well-thought-out manner. The benefits will be tenfold.
Communities will be created where people have easy access to jobs and shopping areas. Emanating from these town centers will be extensive transportation systems. People will have less dependence on the automobile, while greenways will remain intact for people to commute by bike or foot. The state will save millions of tax dollars by concentrating infrastructure, and finally, our environment and the Chesapeake Bay will have a greater chance of being saved.
It is a good act that should be supported by all Marylanders.
Raymond P. Bahr.