Free IrelandEditor: For over two decades The...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Free Ireland

Editor: For over two decades The Sun has been giving its editorial support to British misrule in the six occupied northeastern counties of Ireland.

The latest Whitehall scheme to settle the Irish Question, devolution, has failed in the past, and can be counted on to fail again. Barring Sinn Fein, a legal party and the voice of the Republican Movement, from the ongoing talks, is like having a peace conference on South Africa and prohibiting the African National Congress from attending.

If it was wrong for Iraq to occupy Kuwait, then it is just as wrong for the British to claim sovereignty over the Six Counties (Northern Ireland). It is time, finally, for the British to announce their intention to leave Ireland. Justice and morality demand the Irish Communities be allowed to forge their own concept of national identity, without any British colonial interference, consistent with the noble principle of self-determination.

illiam Hughes.

Baltimore.

Senior Rides

Editor: Several senior citizens have tried to get an I.D. card to take advantage of the lower city bus fare. They have been told that no application forms are available and it may be weeks before the forms will be again obtainable.

How about an emergency supply of forms made on a copier?

Rick Palmer.

Baltimore.

Gun Control Laws

Editor: As if any were needed, the article "Federal Agents Probe String of 19 Gunshop Burglaries" (The Sun, June 18) certainly should provide proof that the Brady Bill and all these so-called "Gun Control" laws are simply a waste of the legislature's time and taxpayers' money.

Laws against guns simply will not affect the crime problem because the criminals, who are the targets of these laws, don't buy guns legally. They steal them in gunshop burglaries or buy them on the street from the people who steal them in burglaries.

I don't know an answer to the crime problem, but I know that no answers will be forthcoming until we concentrate on controlling the criminals and not the tools of their trade.

Charles A. Frainie.

Woodlawn.

Legal Defense

Editor: For a newspaper which routinely derides the pernicious effect of sound bites in other media, The Sun ought to be ashamed of its June 12 zinger, "Drunken Driver Goes Free In Case of Double Charges." I refer to the quotation excerpted in bold print from the defendant's "Annapolis attorney," Gill Cochran: "That was fun. We wrote the check right here in office. I knew they'd blown it."

Mr. Cochran's unguarded expression of professional zest has been unfairly taken by many readers, who are unfamiliar with him personally, as an indication of his character. This sound bite-created image of a "flippant," cold-hearted shyster cackling with wicked glee over somebody getting away with murder does not accurately sum up Mr. Cochran's moral views. In this instance, a more appropriate (if less sensational) subheading might have called attention to the useful legal surgery performed on Maryland's "fatal accidents" criminal procedures as a direct result of Mr. Cochran's successful representation of his client.

I can only hope that those who condemn Mr. Cochran for his "insensitivity" are never in the position of a plaintiff or defendant whose legal counsel does not perform at his or her professional best because of any kind of prejudice.

Frank Tait.

Catonsville.

Preservationists

Editor: In his article, "Parking the Art in a Garage" (June 9), Edward Gunts rightly commends the Museum for Contemporary Arts for their visionary choice of the Greyhound service garage as gallery space for their current exhibit. He also worthily congratulates the developer, contractor and tenant of the newly restored Greyhound terminal building.

Glaringly absent from his article is a huge tip of the hat to the Baltimore Art Deco Society and Baltimore Heritage for fiercely fighting the demolition of the garage in 1987. Also, these two groups, plus the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation and the Maryland Historical Trust, watchdogged the entire restoration of the terminal, ensuring that it was indeed "lovingly restored," as Mr. Gunts so aptly describes its transformation.

It's terrific to see articles about how historic preservation can benefit everybody. However, let's give credit where credit is due and often denied when innovative projects such as Greyhound come to fruition -- to the preservationists.

Frank Pratka.

Baltimore

Minority Business

Editor: Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke has been the target of criticism because of the city's alleged lax enforcement of its minority business enterprise law. Critics charge that the Schmoke administration has granted wholesale waivers from that law on such projects as the new stadium.

As an author of both the original state and city minority business enterprise programs and others across the country, I am compelled to counter this unwarranted criticism with a few boring, but inescapable truths.

First, the city has no control whatsoever over the stadium project, which is entirely under the jurisdiction of the Stadium Authority, a state agency.

Second, many areas of procurement, including the health field, have been opened to minority participation for the first time by Mayor Schmoke. In fact, unlike hundreds of other political subdivisions which terminated or indefinitely suspended their minority business programs in response to the Supreme Court decision in City of Richmond vs. Croson, Baltimore, under the mayor's leadership, has expanded both the reach and enforcement of its program.

For sure, minority participation, in spite of the mayor's efforts, continues to fall short of the ultimate goal of true parity. In large part, this reflects a national mood -- ignited by President Reagan and fueled by the Bush administration -- that sufficient remedy has been provided for any past or present discrimination.

The mayor, I believe, recognizes that economic parity for black Baltimoreans is not just an issue of providing a remedy for the past but, more importantly, one of eliminating the seemingly race-neutral attributes of public contracting which predictably ensure continued, limited participation for the majority population of this city.

To accomplish this objective within the legal, practical and political constraints which he must observe is no small task. I applaud his courage and I am eager to be counted among those who will answer his call for support in the struggle which is at hand. Mayor Schmoke offers leadership, we must provide help.

'Robert Fulton Dashiell.

Baltimore.

Fred Weisgal's Bright Light

Editor: Rarely does a person contribute both life and music to his community. Fred E. Weisgal was such a man. He loved the Bill of Rights and he loved music.

Shakespeare wrote that "the man that hath no music in himself, nor is moved to the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils. . . . Let no such man be trusted." This was not Freddy. Many put their trust in him as he defended the weak and the poor against the encroachments of government. He played music with the same conviction, usually from his soul.

Without music, Shakespeare went on, "the motions of his spirit are dull as night." Freddy's liveliness radiated into every room he ever entered: the courtroom with his conviction; the tavern with his music.

Jack Fruchtman Jr.

Baltimore.

____________

Editor: Of all Fred E. Weisgal's many achievements in his lifetime pursuit of social justice through the law, perhaps his most important contribution was his unfailing and infectious good humor.

As his comrade in many civil rights battles, I felt that Fred viewed his commitment to cheerfulness as his first obligation to others, no matter how daunting the difficulties. He expressed his geniality not only through bouncy piano tunes that he played so joyfully and skillfully but also in a rollicking repertoire of anecdotes and jokes, often with himself as the butt.

He did serious work but never took himself seriously. He enlightened and brightened his time. He was a uniquely blithe spirit who will be long remembered and sorely missed by the many of us who worked and laughed with him and loved him. In a dark world, a bright light has gone out.

Jack L. Levin.

Baltimore.

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