Music on the AirKen Valdes (letter, April...

Music on the Air

Ken Valdes (letter, April 12) expressed his unhappiness in listening to WBJC-FM. OK, so try WJHU-FM and/or WETA-FM. There is also a station connected with Towson State University.


"Absence of vocal music?" To find out when there are programs focusing on such music, let him read a program guide. Those of us who support the station by being members have the program guide for reference.

This same guide will also give information when he can request specific selections, to be played over the air.


If Mr. Valdes is a really serious music lover, he would enjoy our wonderful Baltimore Symphony, which designs concerts for all levels of musical interest.

WBJC-FM will also keep him informed about the Baltimore Opera, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Handel Choir, Baltimore Choral Arts Society. There are also concerts at the Cathedral, Hopkins, Goucher, Peabody, the Baltimore Art Museum, the Walters.

For those of us who love music and the arts, Baltimore is a wonderful place to live.

So explore, become a member, subscribe and enjoy. You are only limited by the size of your musical heart and your budget.

Maravene Hamburger


Drunk Drivers

Witness the editorial "Loopholes for Drunk Drivers" (March 29): Again, The Sun is championing "big brother" and the erosion of constitutionally guaranteed individual rights.


If you want to go after the trial lawyers, try their lobbying efforts to prevent legislative changes (in tort laws, for example) which would hit them in the pocketbook.

The Fourth and Fifth amendments provide protection against "unreasonable search" and self incrimination. The right of the individual to refuse a blood-alcohol test is clearly protected by these two amendments.

I am surprised that the "sobriety check points" have not been successfully challenged as "unreasonable search," as no "probable cause" has been established for stopping motorists.

The refusal to undergo the test would likely not be so probable if the penalties were more realistic. As it is a person can count on (in addition to some jail time) a fine, a year or more on probation (for which a fee may be charged per visit) and schooling (which may cost as much as $2,000), loss of insurance and/or completely unreasonable premiums, not to mention revocation or severe restriction of driving privileges for a year.

It is no wonder that a person would refuse the test, knowing what compound penalties could result.

Granted that drunk drivers do present a problem, the complex penalties listed only serve to cause the drinkers more problems on which to blame their drinking, and in fact they do little to keep the real problem drunk driver off the road any more than banning guns will keep them out of the hands of criminals.


To do the job right, the penalties should be clearly defined and imposed only by the court. The Department of Motor Vehicles and insurance companies should not be allowed to impose any penalties either directly or indirectly.

The present system allows administrative circumvention of due process, which can only be had through the courts. The trial lawyers are simply saying that "the end does not justify the means," and the individual is entitled to proper defense in a driving while intoxicated charge, just as he would be if charged with a major felony . . .

Arthur C. Cox

Mt. Airy

Job Well Done

An editorial in the Baltimore Jewish Times calls Officer Michael S. Maglia of the Northwest Citizens Patrol a tzaddik -- a righteous individual.


Officer Maglia has, indeed, been a beacon of integrity and stability, serving as a bridge between the Jewish community and the larger Baltimore City police department.

I, along with countless others, decry the involuntary rotation of police officers to other duties. Many have trained intensively to excel at their chosen specialties, often self-financed. Now, that seems an exercise in futility.

I truly hope his tour with us was as joyful and memorable for him as it was for us.

I can only add that any successor will have a near impossible time filling his shoes. He left Baltimore with a model organization for communities all over the nation to emulate and with the ideal of a law enforcement officer.

Our tangible loss is someone else's good fortune. We wish him and his family all the best and offer him a place "home" any time he wants to come back.

Cecile Hamermesh



New Costs

The numbers used in Irene L. Pigman's April 22 Opinion * Commentary article, "The Price of Love," are somewhat distorted.

In the case of Bouncy and Flouncy, single and over 65, $1,500 of the Social Security income is taxable (not 0, as in the example).

The standard deduction is $4,600 (not $3,700), taxable income is $18,550 (not $17,950) and tax is $2,786 (not $2,696).

This reduces, but does not contradict, her point on the price of love (or perhaps more literally the cost of marriage).


The example gets even more ludicrous using the 1994 tax rates. Then unmarried Bouncy or Flouncy would each pay $2,749 for a total of $5,498, compared to the married Ed and Edwina paying $8,745.

I should note that these calculations apply to two people who have roughly equal income. If the income of taxpayer and spouse are greatly different, then there is tax advantage to marriage. Consult your tax expert before filing for divorce.

Walter Z. Seldon, C.P.A.

Severna Park

Bay Pollution Is Not Quaint or Romantic

Tom Horton's "On The Bay" column usually succeeds at focusing attention on important Chesapeake Bay issues. So it is particularly disheartening that Horton, normally a champion of bay cleanup efforts, used his April 9 column to encourage state ** regulators to look the other way while an environmentally unsound waste disposal practice continues on Smith Island.


At issue is whether Smith Islanders should be allowed to simply toss crab scraps back into the bay after the crustaceans have been picked clean. This expedient and inexpensive practice has been the norm on Smith Island.

However, crab waste is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, the two substances primarily responsible for bay water quality problems.

In fact,the oxygen-robbing capabilities of rotting crab scraps are two to three times that of raw human waste. Would Horton stand by while residents around the bay dumped buckets of human waste off the ends of their piers? I would hope not!

Horton's advocacy of this practice is sadly reminiscent of attitudes that prevailed when the bay cleanup began years ago. In the not-too-distant past, some people did not think twice about pouring used motor oil down a storm drain. "It's a big bay, a little motor oil won't hurt."

In the case of Smith Island, Horton is encouraging a return to this type of thinking. We all must take responsibility for actions that affect the bay. That is difficult to do if practices are judged on whether they are convenient or steeped in history.

There is no shortage of disposal options for crab waste generated on Smith Island. With some minor modifications, the island's incinerator could handle the waste.


In addition, the waste could be transported to Somerset County's landfill or to an existing mainland crab-waste composting facility.

State agencies have made concerted efforts to develop workable solutions, but we must be met half way by residents and local officials.

Any of these solutions will require a change in attitude and carry some cost.

While the state is actively working to identify grant funding to defray the cost of environmentally sound disposal, Somerset County officials must also take responsibility for this local waste disposal issue.

Romanticizing the bay's rich history makes for good reading and enhances its appeal. In fact, widespread affection for the Chesapeake has eased the way for many cleanup successes.

But as we work to restore the bay to its past glory, it is counterproductive to promote the types of practices and attitudes that made the massive cleanup necessary. We can all do much better.


David A. C. Carroll

Nelson J. Sabatini


The writers are, respectively, secretaries of the state Department of the Environment and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.