to the editor: bette dewing's april 30 column ("lend a helping hand") is her usual mix of badly needed truths and gross mistakes with a generous dose of confusing the issue. a few specifics: 1. based on what i've read, the amount of mercury emitted by a typical power plant to power a compact fluorescent light bulb during its lifetime, plus the amount in the bulb itself, is less than the power plant would have emitted to power the "non-toxic" incandescent bulbs that the fluorescent bulbs replace. 2. based on what i've heard, the reason why there isn't more babysitting by grandparents is that some-not all-grandparents feel that they've done enough child-raising. 3. based on my own experiences, the reason why people don't carry bags for strangers is that if you accept such help, you may be asked for a lot of money, and the demand for money may come at the end of the trip when it's too late to say "no" if you want your bag back.
alan r. brown west 79th street
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