Judge Ciotola Kindness
Editor: It was with disappointment that I read of the compulsory retirement of Judge Joseph A. Ciotola, especially since he is mentally and physically able to continue in his present position.
I have never met Judge Ciotola, but I will never forget his compassion shown several years ago.
According to an article in another paper, an elderly lady was found walking in the snow without shoes; she had been robbed, items even taken from her suitcase.
The officers who picked her up, tried, without success to have one of the charity organizations give her a place to stay. Most were closed because it was Christmas Eve. Therefore, Judge Ciotola sentenced her to jail, where she would be warm and have food to eat.
And men like this are forced to retire! What a sad world!
V. W. Martin.
Baltimore. Editor: Once again, the hypocrites strike. Once again, a haze of lies and deceit is fed to the people of Maryland.
We need a motor fuel tax increase to build new roads, we are told. However, in a report released by the Maryland Highway Users Federation, between the years of 1986 and 1989, more than $500 million was transferred out of the highway fund and used for other things.
Every year, more taxes are collected for highways than spent on them. If there is a surplus each year, why do you suppose we don't have enough? The money, of course, is being used for something else, but we are not being told what.
How can we trust the people who tax us when they lie about what they are spending it on? How can we believe in these charlatans? It seems to me as if the Maryland General Assembly is the problem and not the solution. They see our state as some kind of a fantasy land.
A bottomless pool of money in which they dip their buckets at their pleasure, and it never runs dry. When are they going to realize that their careers depend on public trust? When are these people going to face the truth?
William F. Schaefer.
Editor: I believe you have mislocated an article by Cal Thomas that appeared on the Opinion * Commentary page of The Sun, July 1. It should have been included in the advertising section and noted as Republican campaign advertising.
How can Thomas claim that the selected members of the audience he interviewed and quoted are representative of those in attendance at the American Medical Association convention? The article did read like "an Oldsmobile commercial" and, as such, should be so identified.
The credibility of The Sun is negatively affected by articles such as this. It doesn't even make a pretense of being more than
puffery. Why you gave it space, I can't imagine.
!Charles R. Carroll Jr.
Editor: Your reader William Hughes (letter, June 27) misses the central point about the six counties of Northern Ireland.
The Protestant majority in those counties violently opposes any weakening of the ties with the United Kingdom. The Brits would love to be freed from responsibility for this fractious and bloody land. But they cannot abandon the Protestants they planted there two centuries ago. It is a wound that will not heal; a problem that will not be solved.
The Israelis should heed the lesson of Belfast. They hope, through planting kibbutzes on the occupied West Bank of the Jordan River, to reduce the Palestinian majority to a powerless and disenfranchised minority, just as the British reduced the Catholic population of the Six Counties to a powerless and effectively disenfranchised minority.
The danger to Israel is that they might succeed in the Ulsterization of the West Bank. As the British can tell them, success like that they don't need. Their childrens' grandchildren will pay the price.
John R. Culleton, Jr.
Lida Lee's Faults
Editor: After reading so many letters from parents lamenting the closing of Lida Lee Tall Learning Resources Center -- listing its merits and brushing aside any faults -- I feel compelled to shed one letter of balance.
While Gov. William Donald Schaefer has been cast as the bad guy in this play, as a former parent at Lida Lee Tall, I feel that this is not the whole picture.
Lida Lee Tall has been a pampered child, resting on its laurels. While many have written about the experimental aspects and teacher training, in reality it was set up no differently than any other school I have seen. The same teachers have taught the same grades for decades, having the typical one student teacher per grade for a couple months in the beginning of the year.
Occasionally, an outside organization, such as the Maryland Science Center, gave the students a special activity, but there were no great experiments nor did we see this fresh new flood of teachers, although that was the mode of operation years ago. However, we did see incredible resources, equipment and classroom size.
The support by parents can be well seen in the outcry at the closing of Lida Lee Tall. They likewise saw the bonuses of Lida Lee Tall in that for a much lower tuition than the average private or parochial school, students could take advantage of being in the lap of luxury at taxpayers' expense. Who could blame them for doing all they could to keep the school open?
No one would contest the need for the quality of education that Lida Lee Tall has provided. The question is whether a school of such private school caliber would be supplemented by state funds for a mere 170 students when hundreds of thousands of children statewide are hungering for better equipment, smaller class sizes and all the myriad of needs that public schools face. All this particularly when Lida Lee Tall long ago drifted away from its statutory purpose and repeatedly failed to justify state expense.
Editor: Stanley A. Blumberg and Gwynn Owens made an excellent case about risks of energy generation ("Look Again at Nuclear Power -- It Can be Made Safe", June 27).
They are correct that the risks of all types of energy generation, including nuclear power, are very small compared to the risks of being short of electricity. Nations without adequate electricity have stagnant economies, less meaningful work for their citizens, poorer public health, shorter life-spans and a dirtier environment.
When I was assistant secretary of Energy, our very limited budget for nuclear power research and development forced me to set priorities. The highest goes to the evolutionary light-water reactors (based on the experience of the 112 we operate today) and their smaller versions, which will utilize more passive safety features.
Second priority goes to long-range programs on the nuclear fuel cycle to conserve natural resources and improve processes to isolate and package the wastes.
The third priority is for next-generation reactors, like the one cited by Paul Gray of MIT in the Blumberg and Owens article. A prototype of safety test facility will be required before a commercial design could be licensed. This puts their entry into the marketplace sometime after 2006.
Actually, a detailed risk analysis would likely reveal that the small helium-cooled reactor offers about the same level of actual safety as today's operating plants. These plants cannot have a Chernobyl-type accident. Despite charges of activist groups, they meet scientific standards for safety.
The trade-off for small plants is not just a bit of efficiency. To match one full-size power plant would take 13 of them, each with its own control and safety systems. Even the Modular High-Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor design the DOE is now funding would have twice the power.
Ironically, the Germans completed a new gas-cooled reactor three years ago that has excellent safety characteristics, but then it was shut down by regional political opposition.
When something sounds too good to be true, its low priority may not be because of bureaucratic blindness or some industry vendetta.
There is a need to take a hard look at it. There is no such thing as an "inherently safe reactor." Nor is there any necessity that there be one.
A. David Rossin.
Los Altos Hills, Calif.
The writer, a consultant, was assistant secretary for nuclear energy, 1986-87.