Bentley deserves honor of port name

Kudos to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for the well-deserved honor he bestowed on Helen Delich Bentley by naming the port of Baltimore in her honor. And shame on The Sun's editorial board for its response to this grand gesture ("Name-dropping," editorial, June 5).

Those of us who have been privileged to know Mrs. Bentley for many years know that there is no more fitting tribute to this great lady than to have the port that she has served for nearly six decades bear her name.

Even Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, who spoke on behalf of Maryland's congressional delegation at the port gala, was visibly moved and lauded the governor for the honor that he had bestowed on her friend and former congressional colleague.

And The Sun's editorial response was riddled with error. There is, in fact, a precedent for this honor. The port of Miami is named after former Florida Democratic Rep. Dante B. Fascell.

It is silly to question whether we will next see the "Harry R. Hughes Chesapeake Bay" or the "William Donald Schaefer City of Baltimore."

In fact, both of these very distinguished leaders are already appropriately honored by having significant state assets named in their honor: The William Donald Schaefer State Office Tower in Baltimore and the Harry R. Hughes State Office Building in Anne Arundel County.

Both of these assets were named by executive fiat, and I don't recall The Sun complaining about the cost of either choice.

Michael S. Kosmas


The writer is a former congressional aide to Helen Delich Bentley.

Legendary name belongs on the port

During her more than half-century of work in the maritime field, Helen Delich Bentley has aggressively promoted the advancement of America's maritime community and the importance of this country's industrial and manufacturing trades.

Although I have been a Marylander for only one year, Mrs. Bentley has been a valued historian, adviser and consultant to me during my brief time here.

Her loyalty to this port, city and state are unquestioned.

While it may be rare, as The Sun suggested, to name a port after a living person, in this case it was a worthwhile, well-deserved gesture ("Name-dropping," editorial, June 5).

Mrs. Bentley's name is legendary in worldwide maritime circles, and it is our extreme honor to have it forever linked with our great port.

F. Brooks Royster III


The writer is executive director of the Maryland Port Administration.

Foam container ban shows real foresight

City Councilman James B. Kraft is to be congratulated on his proposal for a ban on foam containers in Baltimore restaurants ("City bill aims to ban use of foam," June 5).

The chief threat to our civilization is not terrorism; it is degradation of our environment.

Dirty water, polluted air, dependence on fossil fuel and climate change threaten our way of life, even our survival.

Anything we can do, no matter how small, to reverse this trend, we must do.

The trivial cost difference between foam containers and biodegradable or recyclable containers is a small price to pay for preserving the beauty of the Earth and protecting the welfare of future generations.

Now, will some far-sighted politician in Baltimore County introduce a similar measure?

Bill Breakey


Cheap polystyrene exacts heavy costs

I applaud Councilman James B. Kraft's leadership efforts to ban products made of polystyrene from city restaurants ("City bill aims to ban use of foam," June 5). I hope all Maryland counties will follow his lead.

Not only is polystyrene nonbiodegradable, it is also a petroleum-based product.

Although they are cheap and readily available, polystyrene products have a high environmental cost. Since the products are not biodegradable and are also bulky, they require more landfill space to be created.

The foam that does not make it to the landfills often ends up littering our communities and waterways.

The fact that polystyrene products are made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource, should also spur retailers and consumers to consider other options.

Mr. Kraft realizes that what appears to be a "cheap" product is actually something our society cannot afford.

When will the rest of us?

Ann Hackeling

Ellicott City

Success stories for city schools

Michael Hill's report on his family's successful experience in the Baltimore public school system should have been on the front page ("A Baltimore public education that nourishes success," June 4).

My family has just been through a similar experience.

As a student at city public schools her entire life and as a recent graduate of Western High School, my daughter received an excellent education - one equal to or better than any from a private school.

The vast majority of her teachers, administrators and support staff were top-notch, dedicated professionals.

Mayor Martin O'Malley acknowledged the quality of the city education system in his address to Western High graduates last Saturday.

He noted that Western has existed since 1844 because of the high quality and dedication of the school staff, along with the active involvement of the parents and alumnae association.

With all of these forces working together, it will continue to succeed for many years to come.

Frank Pratka


Roll back tax cuts to fund research

I agree with the column by Newt Gingrich and Robert Egge that cuts in funding for cancer research are unwise and will work to the detriment of every American ("Cuts in cancer research will hinder quest for a cure," Opinion * Commentary, June 5).

However, the examples of "pork" that he offered to illustrate how GOP lawmakers waste money would have been more honest if he had cited the obscene tax breaks this congress and president have given to multimillionaires and corporations.

Reducing those unfair tax cuts could free up billions upon billions of dollars for cancer research, to say nothing of helping untold generations of yet-unborn Americans who will pay for the deficits that this Congress and president have created.

K. Gary Ambridge

Bel Air

How can Congress cut cancer funding?

My wife succumbed to breast cancer in April after a 10-year fight, and I now read that Congress is contemplating reducing the budget of the National Cancer Institute by $40 million ("Cuts in cancer research will hinder quest for a cure," Opinion * Commentary, June 5).

Either our elected representatives have never experienced the devastation that cancers can inflict or they have turned a deaf ear.

They should be turned out of office before they choke on their ignorance.

Stefan N. Miller


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