Letters to the Editor
Vol. 9, No. 10
March 8-14, 2001
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Speaking Up on Mute Swans

Dear Bay Weekly:

Bittersweet Hill Nurseries' suggestion for the mute swans: Instead of killing the swans [Commentary: "Speak Up on Mute Swans" Vol IX, No. 8: Feb. 22-27], why not let the state spend money on soil erosion around the Bay? I am sure we lose more grasses in just washing away than the swans eat.

There will always be something - animal, insect or human - that some organization doesn't want around. But killing is not the answer.

-Hildreth Morton, Davidsonville

A Third Look at Greener Washing

Dear Bay Weekly:

I read with some bemusement a letter to the editor [Vol. IX, No. 8: Feb. 22-27] calling my concerns about washing machine regulations "cynical and distorted." The correspondent then distorts the issue and insinuates that these concerns arise from a nefarious "alli[ance] with business."

However, as mentioned in the column, the washing machine manufacturers are gung-ho in advocating for the rule the reader finds so life-affirming. The new washing machine rules were manufactured in a backroom deal between business and anti-energy activists, leaving consumers high and dry. Very few consumers want the "efficient" front-loading machines already on the market, as evidenced by their sales figures, and they certainly don't want to be forced into paying more than $200 extra for them.

But I guess the real choices and problems of real consumers don't amount to much to epistolary activists with agendas to push or businesses with profits to be made. Is that observation cynical - or just realistic?

-James Plummer, Washington, D.C.

Editor's note: Plummer is the author of "Washing Greener: A Primer on Laundry in 2004," a commentary that appeared in Bay Weekly Vol. IX, No. 7: Feb. 15-21. He write the "Commonsense Consumer" column for the organization Consumer Alert.

Department of Corrections

Reader J. Leyden correctly takes us to task for our quiz on African American history ["Not Just for Kids, Vol. IX, No. 8: Feb. 22-27]. We erred in identifying Harriet Beecher Stowe as a black woman when she was, as Leyden points out, "not a black woman but a member of a distinguished white family. Her brother was Henry Ward Beecher, a famous Abolitionist preacher."

We further erred in using the word all in the question "What document signed by President Abraham Lincoln freed all slaves?"

In Leyden's words: "The Emancipation Proclamation did not free all slaves - only those in states fighting against the Union. It did not free them in border states, such as Maryland."

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly