Murphy RareEditor: As Reg Murphy departs The...

Murphy Rare

Editor: As Reg Murphy departs The Baltimore Sun, somebody should point out that his decade there included a remarkable, overdue increase in the number of women and of black persons on the news and editorial staffs. Their hiring and promotion extended even into management. Rare, in that large regard, is Reg Murphy's record.


James H. Bready.



Puzzling Letter

Editor: Moise Goldstein's Oct. 28 letter, "Deaf Children and Hearing," is puzzling for a number of reasons.

First, as a consultant for the Food and Drug Administration's panel on cochlear implants, he pejoratively states that implants are expensive and highly experimental. The very tone of his letter indicates he is not one who supports the use of implants for young children. He also employs the old canard that children must first learn to sign.

Cochlear implants are costly. But if deaf children and adults can be given a reasonable degree of hearing, is any cost too expensive?

Should a child who has an implant also learn to sign?

Mr. Goldstein states that learning to sign will not prevent a deaf child from learning the spoken language. He claims that it helps. Therapists who work with implanted children would disagree because they know signing impedes progress. Children who sign rely too heavily upon signing to communicate and will not make the effort needed to use the hearing afforded by the implant.

When implanted children receive proper auditory training, i.e. learning to listen, as well as proper post-operative auditory management from a qualified audiologist, the results can be phenomenal as evidenced by those implants at the New York University Medical Center.

Our four-year-old granddaughter, who has had an implant since she was two-and-a-half years old, is proof of the potential of the cochlear implant. Born deaf, she now understands language almost at a three-year-old level.


She is not an exception. Most children who have received an implant followed by proper training in learning to listen are as successful as our granddaughter.

'Kay and Allen Kershman.


Is Baltimore Art-Bashing?

Editor: I read with interest Edward Gunts' Oct. 27 and Nov. 1 articles regarding Lane Berk's problems with a B-A-L-T-I-M-O-R-E

NTC pylon on her roof on Montgomery Street. Yes, the city is still art-bashing.


I am a black artist who hoped to place a sculpture in Druid Hill Park. But my work was literally smashed in a city warehouse and no responsibility was taken by the city.

I am horrified to see the city at it again. In neither case was it costing the city any money to build or mount the art. In both cases the city has impoverished its citizens.

I don't live in Federal Hill, couldn't afford to. I am a starving artist, but I would like to see any part of the city made more interesting with exterior art. That way, children and old people, rich and poor -- even criminals needing to raise their consciousness -- can see things which are usually cramped up inside the houses of the rich.

Don't spend our money dragging down good civic elements that would attract tourists when we're looking so hard for money.





Editor: As a former Baltimore area resident now residing in the flatlands of Texas, I was bemused to learn of the lawsuit filed against Lane Berk.

When I lived in the Baltimore area, I remember coming up from the Inner Harbor, seeing the pylon and thinking of it as fun and wonderfully promotional of the Baltimore spirit.

In this same fashion I found Baltimoreans to be cultured, philanthropic, witty and intensely aware of life and their own history. In short, I came to appreciate Baltimore and its people.

I hope the city will appreciate its own promoters by finding worthier dragons to slay than Lane Berk and her pylon.

Greg Brown.




Editor: I happened to be in Washington for a few weeks. Ed Gunts' article aroused my curiosity.

When I saw the sculpture, it seemed so unobtrusive that I wondered what the fuss was about. All I could see seemed to be consonant with the improvements that Baltimore has so impressively undertaken and so splendidly achieved since I last visited the city some years ago. I perceived the sculpture as an enhancement of the charmingly revived quarter of the historic town.

Geddes MacGregor.

Los Angeles.


Red Herring

Editor: Ray Jenkins' column decrying President Bush's reference to Congress as a "privileged class" (Nov. 3) was an educational exposition of the biographies of our legislative emissaries to Congress, but as criticism of the president, it was just a lengthy red herring!

Bush's point, as Jenkins certainly well knows, is that Congress, having exempted itself from many laws, and in short-cutting decent standards of behavior (check-kiting, fixed tickets, free lunches . . . on and on) has made itself into a privileged class. The contention had nothing to do with anyone's pre-congressional background, social standing or the like, as Jenkins must be aware.

I'm not sure what Jenkins' point was, unless he intends to downplay the failure of the Beltway mentality in Washington to reflect the true national interest, and to distract us from the necessity of actively working for term limitations. Apparently, he is happy with the process which has become self-serving and incestuous; the bloated tax-and-spend bunch that has produced our four trillion dollar debt and travesties like the Thomas-Hill fiasco.

I say they are a privileged class and out with the whole lot, George Bush included!

!Franklin W. Littleton.



Stop the 'Studies'

Editor: After reading Liz Bowie's Oct. 29 article about oysters, and having caught oysters half my life and being in the oyster processing business 25 years, I feel obligated to respond to some of the comments by William Hargis and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Mr. Hargis said he would be a millionaire in three years if he owned half the oyster beds in Maryland. The only way he could become a millionaire would be if he were able to sell the oysters. If he would talk to the oyster packers in Maryland and Virginia, he would find that because of the negative publicity the past four or five years, oyster sales are at an all-time low. Many oyster packers have closed their doors during this period.

Besides that, the 30,000 or so productive acres in Maryland already produce millions of dollars for watermen, oyster shuckers and many others in the small towns and the two islands in the middle of the bay. These people survive on harvesting the oyster during the winter months. They have nothing else.

Rather than state officials sticking their heads in the sand, I believe the scientists and environmentalists are doing so, because they keep ignoring the fact that the major problem now is Dermo. If they were to spend their time developing a disease-resistant oyster or some practical way to eradicate Dermo and MSX. from the bay, their jobs would be justified.


Personally, I believe they are somewhat afraid for their jobs and are continually pushing for more grants and state money to continue their "studies." We have studied the bay to death, and caused untold hardships, by some irresponsible "studies" that eventually turned into laws. We all know the bay has suffered from pollution and needs cleaning up, but if these people continue to be stubborn and arrogant in their views, then maybe our representatives in Annapolis should review how grant moneys are doled out.

I worked on the water catching oysters in the '40s and '50s and I saw poor catches back then as well as now. Everything on the bay comes and goes in cycles, but I have never seen oysters as hard to sell as they are now. Most of this, I believe, is because of continual bad publicity and the mention of disease. Dermo and MSX are harmless to humans.

Please tell the public this, and the fact that oysters from the Chesapeake are a low-calorie, healthy food source.

Ray Sterling.


Knotted Knots


Editor: Barbara Tufty's lovely article on the monarch butterflies was mildly marred by a classic land-lubber's error. The wind, she said, "flows at 15 knots an hour." Since "knots" means "nautical miles per hour," Ms. Tufty, in naval terms, has committed a redundancy for which the punishment is writer's court-martial.

Gwinn Owens.