Berger's action on creche is hard to...


Berger's action on creche is hard to figure

Once again we have been subjected to a dictatorial, tyrannical, biased decision by Baltimore County School Superintendent Stuart Berger.

Just when you think he has mellowed slightly, up pops the devil. His decision to remove the nativity scene from the mural at Hillcrest Elementary School, while allowing a menorah to remain, and the reasons for doing so are hard to accept.

The statement attributed to him is, "The nativity scene is a religious symbol while the menorah is not."

May I ask why, if this is based on fact, do we see the menorah being used by a television station and other media as a symbol of Hanukkah?

The TV station shows a candle being lighted each night to celebrate the Jewish religious holiday of Hanukkah. It does so until all nine candles are aglow. If this symbolic action is not based on Jewish religious law and approved by the ruling elders of the Jewish faith, would they allow it to be so used?

Could it be Dr. Berger is using this as a ploy? Is it because the ego-laced decisions he has been making since his "ascension to the throne" that controls the Baltimore County school system must be used so that parents and educators fall in line and cause him no problems?

Finally, why doesn't Dr. Berger give all religions the best gift of all this holiday season -- take the "A" train out of town? The train could be called the Wichita, Frederick and Baltimore County Express. Destination unknown -- until he dupes some other community into hiring him.

Harry C. Fisher


Red meat

A news story Dec. 1 noted a research report suggesting that diets high in saturated fatty acids could contribute to lung cancer. Hamburgers and meat loaf were among specific foods mentioned in the story.

It should be noted that other scientists, writing in the same journal that carried the report on fat, emphasized smoking as a major cause of lung cancer and said the findings related to diet could be misleading.

It also should be noted that the recent report is just one study among many -- most of which contradict this recent report.

An Emory University review of epidemiological studies on diet and lung cancer found no association between meat and lung cancer. The Emory scientists concluded that the "epidemiologic data do not support, nor even suggest, any meaningful role of red meat consumption in the etiology of lung cancer."

The bottom line is that a lower-fat diet may be a defense against a number of diseases. And foods from all food groups, including 5 to 7 ounces of lean meat daily, can easily be included in low-fat diets.

In fact, all major health organizations include lean beef and other meats, in amounts of approximately 6 ounces per day, in their recommended diets. They recognize meat's value in supplying iron, zinc and other essential nutrients.

Healthful nutrition is not just a matter of minimizing certain nutrients like fat; it also is a matter of getting adequate amounts of essential nutrients, including the vitamins and minerals in nutrient-dense lean beef.

Elizabeth Johnson


The writer is manager for food policy, National Cattlemen's Association.

Dishonor system

Mass Transit Administration chief John A. Agro, a bureaucratic bungler, condoned the arrest of Anthony Friend for an unpaid $1.25 fare on the light rail, but he agreed to pay an out-of-court, five-figure settlement to the arrested Towson couple for the same unpaid fare misdemeanor.

His so-called "honor system" is a myth, because there is no honor among thieves.

Hundreds of thousands of baseball fans use the light rail during Oriole home games. Can Mr. Agro honestly say 99.5 percent pay their fares on trains carrying an untold number of people for each game?

Probably more than $1 million is lost during each baseball season by these free-loading people.

There is an easy solution to this stupid operation of the light rail system. The old United Rail trolley operation never had the present dilemma of the light rails. In addition to the motorman, each trolley had a conductor who checked each rider's fare. What is wrong with using that old system on the new light rail system?

Joseph Saffron


The McLean drama

Watching Jackie McLean purring out her plea of innocence on local TV was artful. If the comptroller had any need for a city-paid image consultant a few years ago, then we can safely say that the student has surpassed the teacher.

The remarks of her husband, her lawyer and Ms. McLean herself have subtly set the stage for a last trick defense based on allegations of political dirty pool and perhaps racism on the part lTC those who wished her out of office. These enemies were intimated to include people who ran against her.

At this point what, if anything, of all that can and will be said by Ms. McLean and her cohorts, can possibly be construed as bearing any semblance of truth?

I believe that the truth about her and her situation is something like this:

She tipped her hand two years ago when she bought a car with city money and deflected criticism of that action with information found to be untrue. She tipped her hand by purportedly hiring an image consultant (again to be city-paid) that to any clear-sighted person seemed like a way to mask behaviors she had no intentions of altering, and to insulate herself from the consequences of these behaviors.

I think it is rational to assume that Ms. McLean saw the comptroller's office as a treasure trove of self-serving opportunities, and intended, from the first breath she took in her new office, to sate an avarice that was deeper and more compelling than most of us could possibly imagine.

. . .Someone in power nipped the growing criticism of her actions, in spite of the fact that she could not have broadcast more clearly who she really was.

This may all have given her the confidence and the impetus to act in as wanton a way as it appears she did. Now the scripts are all in hand and we will be asked to judge the credibility of the play. This is one case where it is safest and sanest to continue to believe the worst.

Mick Vogt


Horrifying acronym

What was once a proud word to describe our city has now sadly become a horrifying acronym for Baltimore -- CHARM: City Hits All-time Record for Murders.

Lillian Ozazewski


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