Mexican BorderThe criticism of Rep. Helen Delich...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Mexican Border

The criticism of Rep. Helen Delich Bentley as expressed in your editorial May 18 is both unfair and unwarranted.

Recently, I stood with U.S. Custom officials at the Mexican border near San Diego as they described how the flow of consumer goods from U.S.-owned Mexican plants has overwhelmed their ability to inspect the trucks for contraband.

At this border crossing, tractor-trailer trucks entering the U.S. were backed up farther than I could see.

The customs official said that if the North American Free Trade Agreement is approved, chaos would result at the border crossings. This in spite of units of the California National Guard being put on active duty at the border in an attempt to stop the drug trade.

I was told that the Mexicans bunch up in groups of several hundred and rush the border. U.S. authorities are afraid to use force to stop them, since U.S. courts have awarded large amounts of compensation to those "wetbacks" who claimed they were injured in illegally crossing the border.

The consumer goods -- televisions, automobiles, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. -- produced in Mexico cannot be purchased by Mexican workers since they average about $1 an hour. The free trade is one-way, manufactured goods shipped to the U.S., with American jobs going to Mexico.

How are unemployed American workers supposed to purchase those goods if they have no income?

Most communities hesitate to cite manufacturers for pollution since they will simply move to Mexico, where there are no environmental safeguards and where pollution is rampant.

U.S. Customs informed me that they have been instructed to permit Mexican nationals to drive their trucks into every community within the U.S. and deliver goods to retail outlets. American truckers will join all the other American workers who have lost their jobs to low-paid Mexican nationals.

I say, thank God for Representative Bentley and her concern for American workers.

Dion F. Guthrie

Cockeysville

The writer is business manager/president of Local 1501, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Dyslexia Myth

In her May 16 column ("All of Us Can't Be Einsteins"), Sara

Engram repeats a fiction that ought to be laid to rest -- namely, that Thomas Edison was dyslexic (or learning disabled in any fashion). He was not.

There is no evidence whatsoever, apart from an oft-repeated and unsupported story that a teacher once referred to him as "addled," that he had any learning disorder.

Indeed, the documentary evidence he left behind provides overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He was a voracious reader and a quick study in any medium.

To the best of my knowledge, the statement is no more true of Einstein. His "disability" lay in his having been a "late talker" and in supposedly flunking a math course in his early schooling (which did not happen).

vTC It is certainly true that intelligent persons with learning disorders have too often been labeled slow or made to feel stupid. Ms. Engram is fightingthe good fight.

But what happens to the child, parent or teacher inspired by such a grand story when the motivating myth is exposed as a sham? Why not start with the truth?

Nelson Rockefeller was dyslexic and made the fact public. He became vice president of the country. Surely there must be other figures of equal stature to invoke.

Over a year ago, The Sun published a piece I wrote ("When Myth Obscures Understanding") that addressed this exact subject. Edison was not a saint, nor even everyone's hero -- a frustrated president of Western Union once said he had "a vacuum where his conscience ought to be" -- but he had no trouble processing information.

Even when the cause is noble, as is Ms. Engram's, does it really help anyone to perpetuate falsehoods?

Robert Rosenberg

New Brunswick, N.J.

The writer is managing editor of the Thomas A. Edison Papers, Rutgers University.

Caustic Account

It was distressing for all of us who have known and worked with Janet Marie Smith to see her extraordinary creativeness, energy and commitment to Baltimore be minimized and distorted in Peter Richmond's revisionist account of the creation of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Having witnessed her in action on many occasions, it is confounding that Mr. Richmond paints such a caustic, personalized account in the April 16 Sun Magazine excerpt of someone who is in reality so extraordinary bright, creative and professional.

Many times Janet Marie Smith has had the opportunity to take credit for the stadium's success. Invariably she has deflected a personal compliment to the other people with whom she has worked.

Without the vision of the Maryland Stadium Authority, Orioles President Larry Lucchino and the architectural passion and determination of Janet Marie Smith, Baltimore would never have gotten the truly public and civic gift to Baltimore that Camden Yards has become.

Adam Gross

Bill Struever

Baltimore

Greece and Yugoslav Macedonia

R. C. Longworth's report from Skopje ("Macedonia feels heat of Balkan war," May 15) is seriously flawed.

To say that Greece threatens to "slice up Macedonia" is blatantly wrong. It was in fact the Greek government which, several months ago, secured a guarantee by its neighboring states of the borders of the former Yugoslavic Republic of Macedonia -- winning over those states to the proposal.

Greece has also stated, repeatedly and formally, that it is ready and willing to recognize and provide assistance of all kinds to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as soon as it is in compliance with the conditions required by summit decisions of the European Community and adopted almost universally by the world community.

These conditions have been required in order to meet Greece's legitimate concerns for the abandonment by the Skopje regime of its long-cherished territorial ambitions at Greece's expense.

In particular, Skopje is being required to adopt a name for its state which does not include the term "Macedonia" -- a name which would symbolize Skopje's continuing attachment to territorial ambitions, designed for the past 50 years to achieve a "Greater Macedonia" at Greece's expense.

In addition, Skopje is being asked to make changes in passages of its constitution which would appear to encourage those territorial ambitions; and also to engage in confidence-building measures such as the abandonment as national emblems of symbols such as the 16-pointed "star of Vergina," which are linked to the Hellenic heritage of which Macedonia was an integral part.

Your report fails to mention that, through the U.N. and its international mediators, Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen, Greece and the Skopje government of President Gilgorov are currently engaged in intensive efforts to resolve these differences.

These efforts have already resulted in agreement to admit that republic to the U.N. under the provisional name "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM).

Discussions to resolve remaining differences are continuing actively under U.N. auspices, and it is the Greek government's hope that obstacles to full recognition of the Skopje state, and constructive cooperation with it, will soon be removed.

Nikos Papaconstantinou

Washington

G; The writer is press counselor at the embassy of Greece.

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