Smoking Gets the Heave-Ho at Camden YardsCongratulations...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Smoking Gets the Heave-Ho at Camden Yards

Congratulations and thanks to the Baltimore Oriolemanagement for announcing a new smoking policy for the Camden Yards stadium.

This was a policy that the Group Against Smoker's Pollution, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and major health organizations had been seeking for the last three years. The policy bans smoking in the entire seating bowl and the restrooms but it permits smoking in most other places in the stadium. The Orioles have large television monitors in the smoking areas so that smokers will not miss any of the action.

The Orioles became the fifth major league team to institute such a policy in an outdoor stadium. This policy is clearly a home run for all Oriole fans.

John H. O'Hara

Bowie

The writer is the president of the Group Against Smoker's Pollution.

I'm in favor of "no smoking" at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I disagree with tobacco lobbyist Bruce Bereano's statement that "the smoke went into the air." Several times when people were smoking around me, the smoke came into my face. The air must have been unusually quiet when Bereano was there.

Evelyn Ransom

Towson

Smokers should have about as much right to endanger my health as a drunk driver does to endanger my life.

MA Passive smoke doesn't sound "passive" to me. Give me a break!

Janet Kline

Baltimore

The announcement regarding the smoking ban in the seating sections of the stadium is good news for many of us long-time sufferers from "passive" smoke. In addition to complimenting the owners for this decision, the governor should be highly commended for his strong support.

Now that sufficient courage has been mustered to take such action, I feel we need to examine another issue about the stadium. Although I am not a teetotaler, sitting next to spectators who indulge in heavy beer-drinking detracts from enjoyment of the game. There are some important drawbacks to this practice. The most important, in my opinion, is the poor example it sets for the children and grandchildren that many of us like to bring to the games. It tends to establish in their young and impressionable minds that heavy indulgence in beer drinking is OK and associates it with professional baseball.

Furthermore, for those of us who don't enjoy beer drinking anyway, the smell of stale and spilled beer around us makes coming to ball games not pleasurable, especially when some of the abusers become loud and boisterous.

I realize that restricting beer drinking can be controversial, especially since selling beer in the stadium is an important source of income for the beer makers and those who sell it in the stands. But we should recall that several decades ago, to bring up the notion of "smoke free" zones other than where hazards of fire and explosion existed was not broached in many places for essentially the same reasons.

Now that we have seen signs of the stadium owners taking an interest in matters that impinge on spectator health and comfort, we should consider the beer issue head on.

What about a "beer free" zone in at least part of the seating area? That is where many of us would opt for sitting when purchasing our tickets -- it would be more "family friendly," too. Perhaps they might want to identify it as the "family section" of the stadium. I suspect that there are many silent sufferers out there, just like me.

Angelo C. Gilli Sr.

Pasadena

The Orioles have hit a home run in hypocrisy in banning smoking from the stadium. If they are so concerned about the health and comfort of their fans, why don't they also ban alcoholic beverages? Alcohol is as much a health threat as smoking. It ruins lives, ravages families and costs society billions of dollars each year. Drunk drivers leaving the stadium also threaten the lives of everyone on the streets.

Wouldn't you rather sit next to a smoker than a loud, profane, abusive, disgusting drunk?

Harry R. Shriver

Pikesville

Recently, the Baltimore Orioles announced that smoking would be banned in the stands and in the restrooms at Oriole Park. As one who has had his visit to the Camden Yards stadium marred by the inconsiderate smoking of people seated near him, I applaud the stand taken by the Orioles' management.

A phone call to the Orioles' public relations office revealed, however, that they have received a great deal more negative calls than positive.

The Orioles' management has taken a stand on the continuing controversy over the banning of smoking in public places and they are not getting much feedback from the non-smoking side of that debate. Anyone agreeing with this decision ought to give the Orioles' public relations office a call to let the management know that it made the right decision.

Neil Lynn

Cordova

Chelsea's School

I am responding to Roger Simon's Jan. 8 column, "Clintons were right to pick private school For Chelsea." I whole-heartedly agree with his assertions and would like to add a few.

I, too, attended public school. Mine was a well respected rural school which had few discipline and crime problems.

Most of my teachers were hard-working, caring individuals who were committed to their profession.

Although most of the students received a "decent" education, it is my feeling that the public schools are limited to catering to the top 20 percent and the bottom 10 percent. The 70 percent in the middle get shuttled through the system left to decide for themselves how much they wish to learn.

I am now employed at a private school and clearly see why so few of our students end up in this middle group.

We, too, have hard-working, caring individuals who make less money but are still committed to their profession. Yet we have: smaller class size, excellent equipment (books, computers, supplies, etc.), strict discipline codes which are adhered to, and generally active parents whose children appreciate the impact of their education.

I feel we have the overall means available to reach almost all of our students rather than just some.

OC Can you guess where I hope my children will be going to school?

James C. Claborn

Parkton

I believe your Jan. 10 editorial, "A Choice for Chelsea," is an insult to all parents who send their children to public school and have the same aspirations for their children as do the Clintons.

Most public schools perform a credible job of educating our nation's children, some of whom bring to the classroom all the ills of our society.

The fact that most parents do not have disposable income to buy exclusive private education of a relible or secular nature, or -- do not wish to send their children to these types of schools, should not suggest that our children have been demeaned, denied or intellectually stunted in any way.

Celebrity children deserve a degree of privacy which would be less easy to obtain in a public school setting. These children deserve to make their adjustments out of the public scrutiny. For this reason alone the Clinton choice should be respected.

Marcia Kargon

Baltimore

Roger Simon's defense of Bill and Hillary Clinton's decision to send their daughter to private school (The Sun, Jan. 8) is a typical example of the liberal hypocrisy that supports public education for everyone except one's own children.

Simon might have had a point if Chelsea Clinton really couldn't get a decent education in the Washington, D.C., public schools, but he himself admitted that this was not the case. He only claimed that she would have received a better one in private school.

How much better, however, remains debatable, since most research indicates that when it comes to bright and motivated students -- like Chelsea -- the gap between public and private school performance is negligible, and certainly one which can easily be overcome with the personal resources available to parents like the Clintons.

So for Simon to characterize their decision as a refusal to "sacrifice" Chelsea is an excess of the worst kind and does a real disservice to public education.

Of course, the Clintons have the right to send their child to any school of their choosing, but if they had opted for public school there is no question that the much-maligned system would have risen to the occasion, just as it always does when it is charged with educating the offspring of politically and economically well-connected citizens. Chelsea would have received a challenging academic program, which by extension would have benefitted every other student at her school.

This points up the great paradox in public education today: its deterioration is as much a result of its being abandoned by good students as its abandonment of them.

Given this context, and yes, the symbolism involved, the Clintons could at least have given public education a chance.

Howard Bluth

Baltimore

Nuclear Peril in Maryland

The Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant is slated to begin transferring spent nuclear fuel from pools of water to cement vaults this winter.

Residents of Calvert County who accept the on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel, because Baltimore Gas & Electric provides jobs and taxes for the local economy, are being short-sighted.

Such instant gratification, like raising the national debt, will be a burden to our children and future generations.

A permanent nuclear waste dump on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay is an albatross on the necks of our heirs in perpetuity.

Calvert County citizens should think about the residents near Aberdeen Proving Ground who, like them, defended a dubious enterprise for jobs and money but now are protesting the incineration of deadly mustard gas and nerve agents, the seepage of toxic chemicals into ground water, the dispersement of radioactive uranium ammunition and the movement of an underground oil plume toward the bay.

The idea that the dry cask storage of spent nuclear fuel at Calvert Cliffs is safer than the spent fuel pools is no consolation. True, the spent fuel pools are packed full, subject to malfunction, and are dangerous. But vaults could overheat and crack if vents get blocked or if the fuel disintegrates. Pick your poison.

The "temporary" label is a hoax. After 30 years of trying, the federal government is still unable to find a safe depository for spent nuclear fuel. Calvert Cliffs is going to be dangerously radioactive for thousands of years; in other words, forever.

If there is no safe isolation of nuclear waste, the only responsible solution is to stop making it, to shut the reactors down.

Maybe it wasn't meant to be that ten-room houses should have central air conditioning. We can learn to live without nuclear power, even if it comprises 40 percent of Maryland's energy. Maybe we should not build glass office buildings with sealed windows (hothouses to be cooled). Experts are telling us how much more can be done to improve energy efficiency and conservation.

All is not bad. By fortunate coincidence, the Calvert Cliffs turbines happen to be a stone's throw from the largest natural gas terminal on the East Coast, the Cove Point Liquified Natural Gas facility.

Calvert Cliffs could easily be converted to generate steam by burning gas instead of splitting atoms. Such a conversion would also provide construction jobs and continue the operation of the plant beyond its limited life as a nuclear generator.

Natural gas is the kindest fossil fuel for the environment. It does not cause acid rain or emit as much carbon as oil and coal. And it is cheaper.

Environmentalists have described it as the recommended temporary fuel to use during the period of conversion to the ultimately safe energy sources: solar, wind, geothermal and ocean-thermal power.

Storing spent fuel is expensive, and we will be paying for it long after the plant is torn down. The sooner we retire the nuclear generators, the less radioactive waste we and our posterity will be condemned with.

If living high on the hog means destroying our earth and increasing cancer rates, then some of us would rather learn from the humility of the Amish farmers: live simply so others may

simply live.

Richard Ochs

Baltimore

Rowan's 'Sickening Smear'

In Carl Rowan's Dec. 16 column, "The Character Assassination Squad," and the Jan. 3 letter by Eileen Tate Cline, there was a lot of smoke in defending Dr. Johnetta Cole against charges of pro-communist activities, but very little substance.

Contrary to what Mr. Rowan believes, the investigation into Dr. Cole's activities has not been the most "sickening smear" since the days of Joseph McCarthy. The point brought out by the "morbidly right-wing" Human Events, the "unconscionably reactionary" Washington Times and the "spewing" Evans and Novak (what happened to the idea of no smears?) were accurate, as Mr. Rowan himself conceded.

Also, people like Clarence Thomas, John Tower and Robert Bork could give Mr. Rowan accounts of what it's like to be the victim of a real smear job. And if it's automatically wrong to call someone a communist (though it seems to be OK to label anyone a fascist), then Mr. Rowan has some explaining to do about his days in the Johnson administration and the attempt to portray Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as pro-communist.

The scream of "McCarthyism" is often used by some liberals and leftists to deflect attention from pro-communist activity or learnings. Even in Sen. Joseph McCarthy's time, it was used in this way against him, as the senator, while wrong at times, was often accurate in his accusations.

Considering what had happened in communist countries (executions, concentration camps, etc.), along with the fact that some Americans wanted to bring the "joys" of Stalinism to America, there were very good reasons to be concerned about the communist threat. Anti-communist liberals such as John Kennedy (who was a good friend of Senator McCarthy) knew that communist plans to infiltrate and take over the American government were more than figments of the imagination.

Mr. Rowan's claim that Dr. Cole saw a chance for peace with the Soviet Union long before Ronald Reagan did is like saying that the German-American Bund saw a chance for peace and brotherhood with Nazi Germany while Franklin Roosevelt was blind to it.

Mr. Rowan knows full well that a fascist sympathizer would be hounded out of the United States government. And David Duke was stigmatized for his "former" Nazi and Klan activities. (It might interest Mr. Rowan to know that it was Human Events that had the story which showed that Mr. Duke's change of heart was not so sincere after all.)

If it's a moral duty to investigate somebody because of a fascist or racist background, then some people ought to be scrutinized for pro-communism as well (especially since communism has been the most destructive ideology known to man).

Mr. Rowan's accusation that people who could not defeat Bill Clinton at the polls are trying to get back at him through Dr. Cole and Hillary Clinton was interesting, to say the least. Was Mr. Rowan "disgusted" by the Democratic Party getting back at Richard Nixon during Watergate for his wipeout of George McGovern in the 1972 election? Was Mr. Rowan also "disgusted" by the Democratic Party trying to get back at Ronald Reagan with the Iran-contra hearings to offset his two solid electoral victories? Mr. Rowan should be more balanced with his "disgust."

Ms. Cline's letter said a lot about Dr. Cole without saying very much. The readers were informed that Dr. Cole was the most wonderful person ever to have trod the planet, but they were not provided with any backing for the extravagant claims. And statements such as "stick their necks out for the common good" and "constructive thought and activity on behalf of their fellow man" sound more like euphemisms than a solid defense for her.

It's part of being human to be wrong at times, whether it's about fascism or communism, but at some point a person should be able to see the error of his ways and take a different path.

So if there's no problem with finding out if David Duke has actually walked away from his past activities, then it's all right to find out if Dr. Cole has done so as well. If she has given up assisting Cuba and other communist countries, then she's done the right thing. If she hasn't, however, then we need to know what kind of person we are dealing with.

@Charles E. Wilson Jr.

Elkridge

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