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Polluters must pay to clean up sites...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Polluters must pay to clean up sites spoiled by toxins

I write in response to "Too 'civil' " (Jan. 8). Whether or not John Travolta was the right man for his role in "A Civil Action," the pain toxic pollution causes for people is a real problem that must not be ignored.

We know that children in Woburn, Mass., died of leukemia caused by pollution. What will be the outcome of the Condea Vista Co. explosion at Wagner's Point, which has put thousands of Marylanders within range of a toxic cloud?

Congress passed the Superfund law to clean up toxic waste in Woburn as well as other areas of the country. This law is being attacked by polluters and their congressional allies. Superfund needs to be strengthened by Congress, not weakened.

The polluters must be the ones who pay to clean up these sites and compensate the victims. Residents need to know when toxins are used or released in their neighborhoods. Congress should increase financial assistance for citizens to participate in decisions concerning the cleanup of local sites. We owe it to ourselves and to our futures to see this accomplished.

Eric Milstead, Cockeysville

Patapsco greenway plan goes against preservation

Greenways are corridors of preserved land that follow rivers, streams, valleys and other features. They protect water quality, control floods and provide critical habitats for fish and wildlife.

The Patapsco Valley State Park is a greenway running along the flood plain and valley slopes of the Patapsco River through Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties. The beautiful Patapsco River Valley is the site of the oldest and most heavily visited state park in Maryland.

Unfortunately, the term "greenway" has been misused to co-opt supporters of the original concept. The Patapsco Heritage Greenway Committee, organized by developers and other entrepreneurs in Oella and Ellicott City, has targeted our Patapsco Valley State Park as the centerpiece of an economic development package with publicly funded paved ways and parking lots.

Their plans have nothing to do with preserving or restoring the natural resources of the park or the watershed, except as window-dressing to attract business.

Everyone interested in protecting and enhancing the Patapsco Valley State Park should help stop the construction of this "greedway" by writing to Gov. Parris N. Glendening and demanding that our precious few public parklands not be sacrificed for private profits.

Beth Doyle, St. Denis

Collective bargaining bill rewards only AFSCME

For some reason, Gov. Parris N. Glendening seems to believe that he has helped state employees by implementing collective bargaining "Taxes at top of Assembly agenda" (Jan. 10). But all we have gotten so far is a small pay raise.

I have no doubt that any collective bargaining bill backed by the governor will impose service fees on state employees. This arrangement would reward the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which supported the governor's re-election campaign, but it would harm employees.

Which union to support should be my decision, not the state's. And for the governor to use state employees to honor his commitments to AFSCME is repulsive.

Pauline Gray, Baltimore

Substitute teacher salaries demean college graduates

It is a scandal to pay substitute teachers in Baltimore County, who have college degrees, such a low salary, even with the raise to $55 per diem ("Substitute teachers in line for raises" Jan. 4). Jobs at McDonald's pay about the same.

Also, shame on the school administrators and parents who would accept a substitute without at least a college degree. I am a retired high school teacher with two master's degrees and 29 years of experience who would not stoop so low to accept such a demeaning salary.

When will administrators in Maryland and, indeed, in many other states, realize that they have to pay a reasonable salary to get quality people involved with our schools?

The effort to attract more substitute teachers is a step in the right direction, but more has to be done. The effort will be doomed unless the salary level is raised even more than is now contemplated.

Mark Davidoff, Baltimore

Observation of Sabbath could test Maryland team

When the University of Maryland offered Tamir Goodman a basketball scholarship, it took a huge risk.

If the Talmudical Academy basketball star does not change his decision not to play on the Jewish Sabbath, he may not be able to play in all of Maryland's games ("Scheduling a factor for Terps, Goodman," Jan. 12).

Possibly the Atlantic Coast Conference will be able to schedule Maryland's games around sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, and Maryland will avoid losing him for five or six games during the regular season.

However, the ACC tourney always schedules half its quarterfinals on Friday nights and its semifinals on Saturday afternoons. These games are during the Jewish Sabbath. In addition, the National Collegiate Athletic Association tourney of 64 teams plays in a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday format for the first two weekends. This includes many Friday night and Saturday afternoon games that occur during the Sabbath.

And if Maryland makes the Final Four, the first game would start at 5: 30 p.m. on a Saturday, if the NCAA follows its usual format. These tourney times are decided by television revenue and will not be changed for religious beliefs.

If Tamir Goodman is a Maryland hoops player, he must play on the Sabbath or admit that he may not be there for his teammates when they need him most: ACC and NCAA tourney time. I assume that Maryland coach Gary Williams is hoping that the young man will change his mind about playing on the Sabbath. Unless that happens, Terps team unity will face a test like never before.

Marc Starnes, Baltimore

Support of gays, lesbians shows governor's courage

I applaud Gov. Parris N. Glendening for his courageous support of equal protection for the gay and lesbian citizens of Maryland ("Governor calls for rise in gas tax; Legislative priorities also include state law prohibiting gay bias," Jan. 8).

And shame on Baltimore County Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., who professes to have no anti-gay feelings but feels that employers should not be forced to hire gays against their will. In other words, it's OK to discriminate against some of the people some of the time.

In recent years, similar civil rights proposals have been tied up in legislative committee and left to languish and die before reaching a vote. With such disregard for human rights, we can only hope and pray that God will guide the sword of justice to protect gays and lesbians from passive and aggressive acts of bigotry.

Ted L. Pearson, Baltimore

Stung motorists broke law driving while suspended

In response to the article "Caught in the act: Howard sting snares 28 suspended drivers" (Jan. 8), I thought it was a privilege to have a driver's license, not a right. If the drivers do the crime, they pay for their crime. Maybe then they will appreciate the privilege they have (or had).

Casey Reider, Baltimore

To our readers

The Sun welcomes letters from readers. They should be no longer than 200 words and should include the name and address of the writer, along with day and evening telephone numbers.

Send letters to Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001. Our fax number for letters is 410-332-6977. The e-mail address is letters@baltsun.com.

All letters are subject to editing.

Pub Date: 1/14/99

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