Volume 12, Issue 3 ~ January 15-21, 2004

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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your letters and opinions. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at editor@bayweekly.com.

More on Diesels and SUVs

Dear Bay Weekly:
I appreciate the response of Gabriele Koenig to my letter concerning air pollution [Letters: Vol. XI, Nos. 49 and 51]. SUVs may be held to the same emission standards as my car, but they still are classified as light trucks for the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards. For automobiles, that average is 27.5 miles per gallon. For light trucks, the standard is 20.7. Very few models reach this standard for city driving, and a surprising number can’t do it on the road, either. If you want anything approaching the car standard, you need to go with the mini-SUV (four cylinder) models. Most people do not opt for these. Emissions come from the combustion of fuel. If you burn more fuel, you pollute more.

Where I totally agreed on is her excellent point about diesel engines. They should be held to the same standards as gasoline engines. We are energy gluttons here in America. I know, I am part of the problem. We all try to do our part, recycling, carpooling and other conservation efforts. Is it too much to ask our government to use a little common sense and encourage our efforts? Or do we really need to help the automotive industry sell its product?

— Box Boxwell, Prince Frederick; Chair: Lower Potomac Tributary Team

2004’s Big Question

Dear Bay Weekly:
President Bush and other Republicans think tax cuts for the rich and messing around with Medicare are enough domestic vision to hoodwink enough of the middle class for a victory in 2004.

But polls show the messing with Medicare is not popular. Many seniors can’t figure it out. Many are more afraid now than three years ago about how they will pay for their drugs.

Republicans have never liked Medicare. Led by Bob Dole, they voted against its creation in 1965. Many now suspect they are trying, by cutting out the middle class, to turn it into a welfare program. And we well know the fate likely to befall a welfare program.

Republicans have never liked Social Security. They voted against its creation in 1935. There is also the suspicion that if the 2004 election continues with a Republican president and Congress in power, they will sink their claws into Social Security.

Middle-class seniors may wise up to the Republicans, but will younger middle-class people? Jobs for them are not growing in spite of growth in the Dow. Bush has cut out overtime pay for eight million workers. Health care costs are soaring. Bush’s education mantra, “No child left behind,” is so unfunded that it really means “No child gets ahead.”

The younger middle class faces the biggest state college tuition increases in a generation. State and local governments are in a squeeze. They must raise tuitions and taxes because Bush has cut federal aid to them to allow big tax cuts for the rich.

What is Bush’s reply to all this? “Let’s go back to the moon!” It’s a new twist. Will the younger middle class wise up to this stark reality? That’s the big question for 2004.

— J.A. Hoage, Severna Park

Department of Corrections

In “Why Herons Do Tai Chi,” the feature story in Vol. XII, No. 1 (January 2), Natural Healing Wellness Center director Leslie Baumhower’s name was misspelled.

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Last updated January 15, 2004 @ 12:13am.