Regarding Ruth Wylie's Feb. 22 letter, she is "shocked, frightened and outraged" at the wrong thing. It's about time somebody took aim at the Environmental Protection Agency, another well-intentioned government bureaucracy gone bad.
It has evolved into a self-serving, dictatorial, power-hungry agency that seldom ever has to answer to anyone.
If the public realized what this agency has cost consumers, the reaction would be stronger than that to the abortion issue.
I am not anti-environment. My point is that the policies regulating the environment are often ill-conceived and unnecessary.
Many construction projects require costly environmental impact studies prior to execution. Why should there not be an economic impact study required?
Prior to retirement I was an independent sales representative for several manufacturing companies. One, a wood fabricating plant New York State, showed me the EPA requirements for cutting an opening in an outside wall of the plant for a fan in a newly created ladies room.
The requirements were so complex it was necessary for them to hire an engineering firm and a law firm to prepare the paperwork.
Another firm that had a paint facility was paying $1,000 per 55-gallon drum of paint scrap to a hazardous waste contractor for disposal, forcing them to stop painting their product and eventually forcing them out of business.
Granted, paint scrap has to be disposed of properly, but not a shred of common sense was displayed in the regulations.
The lists are endless. Add to this the totally dictatorial attitude of the regulatory agencies and it is high time somebody took a hard look.
I have been "shocked, frightened and outraged" over these things for years. I am not at all convinced that the Republicans writing the "Contract with America" are overburdened with common sense either, but I'm sure glad to see this Pandora's box opened up.
J. Bard Anderson
Line item veto
Your Feb. 15 edition containsed an article by Cokie and Steven Roberts, "Mr. President, veto the line item veto." The Robertses are good commentators of some experience, but they should have done a better job of research.
In 1974, the Congress passed the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act, limiting the power of the president to impound and apportion appropriations.
It did this to discipline President Nixon, who in 1973 impounded some $18 billion of funds appropriated for projects he deemed wasteful and not in accord with his budget plan.
From the time of President Jefferson until 1974, presidents had exercised this power on the theory that the president would not spend funds he deemed unnecessary and, after passage of the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, not included in the president's budget.
In a classic instance, President Truman impounded funds for the Air Force which he had not requested in his budget.
I recall during my tenure in the United States Bureau of the Budget under President Roosevelt the plight of a member of Congress who wanted a dam built in his district. He could never get it included in the president's budget.
At long last he secured legislative authorization of the project and an appropriation. We called him and told him that President Roosevelt would not apportion the funds. He said that if the dam were not started, he would be defeated in the next election. He was.
Presidents have always needed the line item veto. They also should have the power to impound unnecessary appropriations. Congressional appropriations in excess of the president's budget are a principal cause of the federal deficit.
It is important to remember that appropriations are made by law, and it is the president's constitutional duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed.
John A. Donaho
Perry Hall schools
The present plans for improvements to Perry Hall Middle School are not in the best interest of the Perry Hall community. The building which served as Perry Hall High School in the early 1960s has long needed repairs and improvements, but the plan about to be implemented is wasteful and short-sighted.
xTC In this plan, the present Perry Hall Middle School will cease to exist. It will be replaced by two new middle schools on the present site sharing such facilities as the gymnasium, library and cafeteria.
This is intended as a quick-fix for the present over-crowding at Perry Hall Middle School. But what is the point of this plan?
Granted, instead of one school with 1,500 or 1,600 students, there will be two middle schools with only 700 or 800 students each, but they'll still all be in the same building. It's simply not worth the millions of dollars that are about to be spent.
This present plan underscores the short-sighted, helter-skelter development of Baltimore County.
The rapid growth of the northeast corner will soon force the construction of a new middle school, probably two.
If the present plan is implemented, when those new middle schools are built, the citizens of Baltimore County will be left with a very expensive white elephant.
Why not get ahead of the game for once? Divert some of those millions from the present wrong-headed project and use that money as a down payment on one of those new middle schools.
James W. Dempsey
Plan to cut DALP program is shameful
I was shocked to learn that Gov. Parris Glendening has deleted the Disability Assistance and Loan Program from the state budget.
By doing this, he is denying Maryland citizens who are very poor and either permanently or temporarily disabled from receiving $157 a month as their only source of income.
In addition, he will be denying disabled people state medical benefits.
It's important to note that this program is only for Marylanders who have been certified by a doctor as disabled and who are not receiving federal disability benefits.
Essentially, what our fearless leader is telling these seriously disabled Marylanders is either get a job, get lucky or drop dead.
Rumor has it that the governor wants to save DALP money for a future tax cut.
Well, Governor Glendening, you can keep your lousy tax cut. It is blood money.
I do have a dream, however. . . . Wouldn't it be nice if the 22,000 DALP recipients and their family and friends decided to bring the business affairs of this state to a grinding halt by collectively participating in acts of civil disobedience?
They could block highways, roads, airports, government buildings and bridges.
Think of all the local, state, national and even international press these actions would generate.
I bet Governor Glendening would restore the DALP program money in a big hurry and find other ways to cut taxes.
Black teens endure traumatic experience at the aquarium
Feb. 26 was Dollar Day at the National Aquarium to celebrate the significant contributions of Henry Hall, an African American.
Two of my grandsons and their friends decided to go. Being teen-agers, they admitted to some playing around. But what ensued became a traumatic, terrifying experience they will never forget.
They were detained and interrogated to the point of harassment by security at the aquarium because some visitor said one of the young men had attempted to pickpocket.
At no time did they do anything that could have been construed as pickpocketing or aggression of any type. However, they were photographed, denied permission to call their parents and escorted from the premises in humiliation.
No charges were brought against them, no facts presented. After leaving they immediately called me. My husband and I went with the young men back to the aquarium to hear the "other side."
We were told the children were cooperative and respectful in every way. I asked for the return of the pictures since there were no charges placed against them. We were told it was the aquarium's policy to take pictures of "potential security violators."
But when I asked for a copy of this policy, it was "unavailable."
To say I was distraught is putting it mildly. Number one, these kids, being innocent, had a trust in fair play violated.
They believed that their willingness to cooperate would be given some consideration. Much to their dismay this was not the case. They were assumed to be guilty and treated like criminals; their word meant nothing.
Tell me, are all young African American males thought to be thieves, crooks and hoodlums?
How do I explain to my grandchildren and other clean-cut, law-abiding young males (and females) of color that they will be judged by their character and not by their color? Or is this just a dream?