Your article Oct. 1, describing the Senate vote on the superconducting supercollider, was a shoddy piece of journalism. It was so distorted that I cannot help but wonder whether all your stories are equally off the mark.
The most obvious bias was the amount of space given to opponents of the project. The article did not quote any supporters and implied that they are under the spell of special interests.
It did not mention any of the legitimate reasons to support the collider, such as its benefits to Maryland or the nation.
In fact, your reporter called the supercollider "pork." As far as I know, pork is inserted into the budget by congressional earmarks, outside of the usual budget process. The supercollider has been supported by three presidents.
It is the most reviewed project in the history of science. While we might disagree whether the country can afford the collider, it is certainly not pork.
The article made it seem like the Senate was voting $13 billion for the supercollider. In fact, the Senate only voted on this year's allocation, $640 million. In addition, the article said the $13 billion figure represented a factor of three increase from the initial cost. That is also not true.
The initial cost of the project was $5.9 billion. A redesign of the magnets pushed the price to $8.25 billion. The price stayed fixed until this year, when the administration proposed a stretch-out of the construction by three or four years.
The Department of Energy has not finished calculating the increase due to the stretch-out, but most estimates are in the range of $2 billion. The $13 billion figure has no basis in fact.
Your article left the impression that the collider is afflicted with massive cost overruns. I think that the record shows that the project is on time and on budget. In her recent testimony, Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary has said that the supercollider is 20 percent complete and about 7 percent under the $8.25 billion budget.
The latest cost increase due to the stretch-out cannot be counted as a cost overrun. It was a conscious decision by the administration to shift costs to later years.
I am saddened by the cynical view of your paper toward this inspiring scientific project. Rather than explaining its potential for education, for technology and for the future, you insist on unbalanced reporting and irresponsible journalism.
You should send a reporter to Waxahatchie to see the collider and talk to the people who are building this inspiring scientific project. Then you can make informed criticisms, and not just lash out against something that you know very little about.
Jonathan A. Bagger
The writer is professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University.
I have been reading with interest comments made by national figures such as Ross Perot, Rep. Helen Bentley, R-Md., and Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., on the subject of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the loss of jobs to U.S. workers.
I am in complete agreement with NAFTA. The problem of lost jobs will not happen because of NAFTA. It has already been caused by all of us, including me.
When anybody buys any foreign product in preference to a product that is made in this country, we are creating the problem that causes a company to open a foreign plant, thus losing U.S. jobs.
United States companies have plants all over Southeast Asia, including many in China, and there are many U.S. plants already in Mexico that are doing a very good job. The General Motors plant in Mexico has the least defects per vehicle of any of their plants.
The reason that NAFTA is the best thing that could happen to us is that our two best trading partners today are Mexico and Canada.
As their markets grow, they will be buying more from us, which will create more jobs in this country. As their industries and economies increase, there will be more demands for workers in Mexico, and fewer Mexicans will cross our borders to take low-paying U.S. jobs.
In addition to the notion of a loss of jobs as a reason to be against NAFTA, there may be another reason that Ross Perot would like it defeated.
He and his son are building a very large industrial park in Fort Worth, Texas, that is based on an enterprise zone which benefits from tariffs rather than free trade.
The question here is: Is he against it because of the loss of U.S. jobs or because it will hurt his project?
How I wish the world had more Michael Oleskers.
He tells news as a true journalist should. I do truly admire him and his style and wisdom. His answers to the East Baltimore neighborhood (especially around Patterson Park) are very true.
May Mr. Olesker keep writing his views and opinions.
E. M. Erdorssy
Making a Killing
I am writing to express my concern over the more than 3,000-unit development (known as the Towson Nurseries or Colvista project) proposed by Security Management Inc. of Victor Posner to be constructed at the southeast corner of York and Phoenix roads.
While Mr. Posner tells all of Baltimore County that this development will enrich the area, he has made it abundantly clear by his actions that he is only interested in making a killing from such construction. He has no regard whatsoever for the environmental or community impact such a high-density development would create.
It is in the best interest of Baltimore County residents, especially those who live in northern Baltimore County, to express their concern regarding Mr. Posner's development.
There will be public hearings held Oct. 13-14 and 19-20 beginning at 10 a.m. each day at the County Board of Appeals, Old Courthouse, 400 Washington Ave. in Towson.
M. Louise Gibson
Maryland Has Clean, Healthy Water
Contrary to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report detailed in The Sun Sept. 28, clean, healthy water is flowing from taps in Maryland homes.
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) uses aggressive technical assistance and capital funding programs to safeguard drinking water supplies around the state.
MDE works directly with communities to monitor drinking water quality, identify potential problems and solve them before they threaten drinking water supplies.
This approach serves Marylanders better than the purely punitive approach advocated by NRDC.
Sometimes water supply systems do have problems that need to be corrected. The Lonaconing water system -- specifically cited as a problem system in the NRDC report -- in Western Maryland is a perfect example of successful technical and financial assistance.
Lonaconing experienced water quality problems and water shortages due to inadequate, aging facilities. An enforcement action would have done nothing to solve the financially strapped region's problem.
Instead, the state contributed over $2 million and helped secure other funding necessary to construct a new $6 million water supply system. This system will be fully operational by June 1994. Since 1991, the state has committed over $13 million to fund water system improvements.
Despite this financial commitment, unmet needs still exist. To help communities meet tightening federal drinking water standards, MDE has twice sought legislative approval -- unsuccessfully -- for fees that would help MDE and local governments better oversee drinking water operations.
MDE has already gained legislative approval for a low interest revolving loan fund if money for such a program is included in the federal budget.
In addition, a recently formed committee representing a broad range of interests will study future MDE efforts and long-term funding options for the state's water supply programs. We expect recommendations in November.
While MDE does not share much common ground with NRDC on the effectiveness of current drinking water programs, we can agree on one point: More resources must be committed to maintaining quality drinking water systems and programs.
MDE will continue to support increased funding for water supply programs. At the same time, we intend to maintain our statewide technical assistance efforts and take enforcement actions when appropriate.
The writer is deputy secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment.