'The Red Man Had Heroes, Too'
Editor: Bill Rettburg's letter of July 10 decries the proposed re-naming of the Custer Battlefield National Park to the Little Big Horn National Park as revisionist history. There is nothing wrong in revising history to reflect factual interpretation rather than emotional response of the moment.
The battle of the Little Big Horn was not only Custer's last stand, it was also the Indians' last stand. Never again did the Indians gather in such strength to offer major resistance. The long process of subjugating the North American Indian was over. The Indians also had heroes in this struggle.
The awesome Crazy Horse Memorial being carved out of a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota began with a letter in 1939 from an old Sioux chief to Korczak Ziolkowski, a Boston-born sculptor and one-time assistant to Gutzon Borghum, sculptor of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
In his letter, Chief Henry Standing Bear asked if Mr. Ziolkowski would be interested in carving a mountain memorial to the great Chief Crazy Horse. He also wrote: "My fellow chiefs and I would like the White Man to know the Red Man had heroes, too."
The site of the Custer battle should be renamed the Little Big Horn National Park with a memorial giving equal billing to the Indians who fought and died defending their families and homes, letting the White Man know that the Red Man had heroes, too.
Benedict A. Pokrywka.
Baltimore. Editor: The account in Gallimaufry July 22 of a non-endemic canebrake rattlesnake found in an Ellicott City backyard was interesting, but not unique.
Sometime in the late '50s, two small rattlers were killed by a police officer in an alley near Broadway and Monument Street in Baltimore. As a Baltimore Zoo employee at that time, I was called on to identify the snakes, which turned out to be adult massasaugas, a pygmy rattlesnake found mainly in the Midwest. It was learned later that a lumber truck from Indiana had parked on a nearby lot the night before.
A few years later, I was called by police to retrieve a large copperhead from the front seat of a car in South Baltimore. The car's owner had spent the previous several days camping in western Pennsylvania. Obviously, the snake had crawled into the car while it was parked there.
Editor: It is not quite accurate to state that the three city reservoirs, when filled to capacity, hold 86 billion gallons. John Rivera's July 25 article warrants additional information.
The above figure refers to the original combined storage capacity of the three reservoirs. It is not necessarily true today because of the capacity losses due to sedimentation which occurred over the years in each of these reservoirs.
Let me refer to one of them, the Loch Raven Reservoir. According to sedimentation surveys of that reservoir, done in 1961 by the U.S. Soil Conservation (and in which I as the city's watershed forester at that time participated), the capacity storage in Loch Raven in that year was calculated to be 64,072 acre-feet or 20,877 billion gallons. This was 2,623 billion less than Loch Raven's original capacity of 23,500 billion. One may wonder what is it today, 30 years later.
To see an example of what sedimentation can do to a reservoir, I suggest a look at the upper reaches of Loch Raven, above the Paper Mill Road bridge. In 1938 this area of more than 100 acres was a clear body of water several feet deep. Today, except for the original channel of Gunpowder Falls, it is above the crest elevation of the dam and a forest grows there.
In view of the existing upward trend in demands on water supply, it would be interesting to know the actual present storage capacity of our reservoirs. This information may prove to be of vital importance to everybody, and especially to our city government.
Wolodymyr C. Sushko.
Editor: As an individual who has been actively involved in the development of the Towson community plan, most recently as a member of the Planning Board, I applaud your editorial which recognized that the plan is a realistic blueprint for orderly growth and development of the Towson area.
The haphazard development which has occurred in Towson over the last decade has failed to adequately consider the impact on the surrounding residential areas and the interrelationship between the neighborhoods and the town center. I believe that the proposed plan addresses these and many other pressing issues as Towson moves into the next century.
Development has been permitted to occur without full consideration of traffic. This has caused great concern and many problems for the neighborhoods.
The Planning Board subcommittee's recommendations underline the importance of pedestrian access, movement and amenities, proposing enhanced streetscapes, open space and different design criteria which emphasized the relationship between buildings and people.
This plan also seeks to strike a balance between the needs of the business community and the residents who call Towson their home. After receiving additional comments at the public hearings, we must diligently move forward to implement the plan's recommendations to improve the quality of life in Towson.
Stephen W. Lafferty.
Another View on Zapping a ZIP
Editor: I thought your July 18 editorial condemnation of Alderman Ellen O. Moyer's resolution asking the U.S. Postal Service to eliminate use of Annapolis ZIP codes outside the city limits was obviously long on rhetoric and short on logic.
ZIP codes not conforming to municipal boundaries comprise a national problem not peculiar to Annapolis. About 25 years ago, when the ZIP code system was created, federal postal officials began drawing special boundaries for cities and towns, often choosing to disregard the local lines. They have since designated community names and ZIPs based on a cold calculation of what the mail system needs for efficient delivery. It is not as important to call a community by its own chosen name, postal officials insist, as it is to organize, sort and deliver mail. Thus, portions of some cities are addressed as other cities, and some cities receive mail through several different ZIP codes, only one of which may bear its municipal name.
Your reaction here no doubt would be: "So what's the big deal?"
It gets better -- or worse -- from there.
ZIP code-related problems have plagued numerous cities and towns. These problems have included lost revenues, firefighters and emergency medical personnel being delayed in reaching distress calls, parcels undelivered because the mailing address misled delivery personnel, auto and home insurance premiums being improperly set, city residents becoming confused when they are unable to access municipal resources because ZIP code areas are assigned an adjoining city's name, and non-city residents becoming upset and confused when they can't receive city services or vote in the municipal election.
Cities in Maryland have experienced their share of these problems. In Hyattsville, the mayor and council are pleased with their one-minute police response time and low crime-rates. They resent it, however, when higher crime rates and lower response times are reported, when in fact, they occur outside the city limits. This does little to improve a city's image or to foster good morale in a municipal police department.
Another area affected by the ZIP code problem is the receipt of property and business taxes. Some Maryland cities spend considerable time reviewing, recapturing, or refunding taxes erroneously paid (or not paid) to a city. This can also affect rental property licenses and business licenses. Some cities must do a door-to-door verification of each business and rental property so that only properties within the city are inspected.
State-shared revenues to Maryland cities and towns also can be plagued by the ZIP code problem. Income-tax revenues are based on the address that a taxpayer lists on the tax return. If, for example, a person thinks he lives in Annapolis, the city can be credited with and receive 8.5 cents for every income tax dollar paid to the state. Discovery later that the person doesn't live in Annapolis can cause problems with the amount of the income tax budgeted by the city.
Similar [problems can happen] with highway user-revenues that are shared by the state and based partly on the number of autos registered in a city or town. A wrong address can mean no credit or delayed credit and an impact on a municipal budget.
The issue has become of such concern that the National League of Cities has made it one of its legislative priorities. The N.L.C. also is working with the U.S. Postal Service to address the problems caused by ZIP code boundaries.
These efforts have had some recent success. The postal service has announced a policy of allowing patrons to designate in their address their actual municipality in contrast to the name the postal service has assigned the area. Upon request from a city or town, the postal service will deliver mail addressed in this manner. Additionally, the postal service announced the establishment of a "ZIP Code Boundary Review Process" to address related problems.
As you can see, the issue raised by Alderman Moyer is more than municipal identity. It's social, political and economic. It's one that impacts far beyond our capital city, and it's one that needs resolve.
# Jon C. Burrell. Annapolis.
The writer is executive director of the Maryland Municipal League, which represents officials of Maryland's incorporated towns and cities.