Maxey Flats II?
Thanks for Shaila Dewan and Stuart Eskenazi's powerful account ["Trench Warfare," July 23]. Once the radioactive waste (mostly from commercial nuclear reactors) goes into the sand at Sierra Blanca, companies like Houston utilities and Texas utilities unload their responsibility for it on Texas taxpayers.
Apparently, utility money easily purchased votes of most of the Texas delegation to the U.S. House. Governor George Bush has always claimed that he would not support the Sierra Blanca dump if it was judged not safe. Now that two judges have stated that it has not been proven safe after months of hearings, why, I wonder, is Governor Bush still promoting it in Congress?
Houston's powerful Medical Center did its part to persuade the entire delegation from the Houston area to vote for the compact. Were the doctors not aware that, in spite of all the bells and whistles, this Texas dump is just another hole in the ground like the leaky dump in Maxey Flats, Kentucky -- which Kentucky now must clean up at a cost of $144 million?
Thank you again for your courageous work.
I want to commend the Houston Press and Russell Contreras for their coverage of the plight of Central American war refugees in the story "Deporting Disparities" [August 6].
It is a great example of what happens when strong writing and investigative skills tackle an important issue. It's a shame that the Central American war refugees were not given political asylum when they first requested it during the '80s. But at the time, the United States could not acknowledge the plight of these refugees without admitting that its ideological war against communism was manifesting itself in 3-D, in shrapnel, in blood, in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras.
Justice means permanent residence for all Central American war refugees. The Cold War is over. Democracy won. It's time we let freedom ring.
Director, Cultural Exchange Department
Central American Resource Center
Kelley's All Wet
John Kelley's outdoor air-conditioning scheme ["Going the Distance," by Richard Connelly, August 6] won't work very well in Houston's summer! Spraying a water mist can't lower the surrounding air's temperature below the dew point, and that is only 80 degrees when the ambient temperature is 90, with 60 percent relative humidity.
In Kelley's Arizona example, 90-degree air at 20 percent humidity can be cooled to nearly 60 degrees. That's why swamp-box evaporative air conditioners will work in West Texas but not in Houston.
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Dialing for Dollars
I also entered the 1998 Polaris Giveaway contest hoping to win the $25,000 ["Time Lines," by John Carroll, August 6]. However, when I got the "you are a major prize-winner" letter, I actually read the fine print and figured out that if I did indeed trudge up to Lake Conroe, all I was going to get was a sales pitch and the "ten day-passes" booby prize. I suppose the 150 people who turned up the same day Carroll did are also the types who will sign things without reading them.
I haven't received the "more than six phone calls" from Silverleaf Resorts, either. But a little less "casually" than Carroll, and a lot more credulously, I neglected to put down accurately my unlisted phone number on the entry form.
Ellen G. LeFever