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Symbol of decadence: Camden YardsEntering Baltimore from...

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

Symbol of decadence: Camden Yards

Entering Baltimore from the south these days, I am struck, eerily, by the sight of the new stadium at Camden Yards. Its similarity to the Coliseum in Rome is undeniable. When one approaches Rome, there is it, that vision of ruin, smack on the side of the highway at the entrance to the city. Although romanticized in childhood classrooms, it was a symbol of decadence. The architecture of our stadium is suddenly reminiscent.

Now we read that the University of Maryland at Baltimore will close its doors to 4,000 students and faculty members rather than deal with the parking and traffic nightmare expected on the Orioles' Opening Day. "We'll think of it as a snow day," one of the administrators was forced to admit.

If attendance meets expectations, there could be a lot of "snowy days" this baseball season. What other educational and cultural activities will suffer from this new and expensive stadium?

J. G. Beck

Columbia

Oil Guzzlers

Transportation accounts for two-thirds of the imported oil that we use.

In the U.S., there is an abundance of natural gas that is cheaper, safer and more efficient than gasoline. If more corporations would use natural gas vehicles, our dependence on foreign fuel could be reduced and new jobs would be created.

As a larger number of trucks and autos turned to this clean form of energy, the economy and ecosystems would improve. We must take positive action.

The United States cannot remain E Pluribus Unum so long as the average politician feels that unum outweighs pluribus.

Joseph Lerner

Baltimore

Gas tax folly

Maryland politicians are rallying around a 5 cent a gallon tax increase as a way to spend our (their) way out of the state's recession.

In today's tight economy or in any economy, most people only have so much money to spend, whether it be for food, housing, clothing, entertainment or taxes.

An increase in taxes just reduces the amount left to spend on other items, leaving total spending by consumers constant. Jobs that politicians claim will be created by a gas tax increase will be offset by a loss of jobs at the local mall, grocery store or restaurant.

Walt Blakeslee

Baltimore

Taxing services

General Assembly leaders reportedly are to propose a sales tax be levied on services for which doctors and lawyers charge a fee.

And why is the targeting of these two professions necessary? It is because our legislators are unable to curb their appetite for the welfare state. They must have more money for welfare, more money for education patronage (middle-class welfare), more money for government employees and more money for continued increases of politician salaries and benefits.

Barbers, hairdressers, accountants, members of the construction industries and trades, teachers, preachers: You're next.

Bill D. Burlison

Crofton

Rigged ballots

Even though the legislature killed H.B. 358 banning segregated ballots, Maryland Democrats may send a message to their party leaders that voters want democracy instead of rigged rules.

As Frank DeFilippo reported Feb. 17, Democratic voters "are now being told how to vote." If voters attempt to exceed the 50 percent "gender quota" for delegates their levers will lock in the polling booth.

But if the voters pull the lever marked "Uncommited to any presidential candidate" the party bosses should get the message. Eastern Europe is moving toward democracy and looks towards the United States for an example. The Soviet Union, with its totalitarian rule and rigged rules, has crumbled. It's about time the Democratic Party begins to practice what it preaches.

Kauko H. Kokkonen The writer is an uncommitted candidate for delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Protect youngsters

The idea of a 14-year-old boy packing a gun at school is frightening enough, but that he would be doing so in proximity to children as young as five years of age is positively bone-chilling.

Yet that was exactly the case at Roland Park School where a 14-year-old student, recently transferred because of disciplinary problems elsewhere, shot a school police officer.

Roland Park School is one of several in the city which houses elementary and middle school students. While the two groups are treated as separate entities, their paths will inevitably cross during the normal school day.

In the wake of the Roland Park shooting we are being told that students who present serious disciplinary problems are routinely bounced around from one school to another with little attempt to deal with their behavior. While this policy -- or non-policy -- constitutes a threat wherever these troubled youngsters are transferred, it is especially dangerous at schools which serve elementary students.

Solving the disciplinary problems of city school students is no easy task, and School Superintendent Walter G. Amprey is certainly correct when he says values must be changed.

At the very least Dr. Amprey should immediately institute a policy which prevents the transfer of volatile middle school students to any school sites where elementary students also attend. Given the serous threat some of these older students present, anything less would be a dereliction of duty.

Howard Bluth

Baltimore

Unbelievable

Can you believe this? "Murder suspect, stopped for speeding was freed." I can't. I don't know whether to laugh, cry or just thank my lucky stars that I am not in need of police assistance.

If police put as much effort into apprehending criminals as they do in radar enforcement of speed laws, the crime rate would be reduced considerably.

Frank W. Soltis

Baltimore

Fewer pickups, more blight

Baltimore City's decision to reduce the collection of "real" (spoilable) garbage to only one day per week disturbs us greatly.

While we fully support the recycling efforts, we strongly oppose a weekly collection of other trash.

Much trash is spoilable matter that should not remain in homes or neighborhoods for prolonged periods because it attracts rodents, roaches, and other pests which not only are nuisances but also dangerous health threats.

Moreover, if a city holiday fell on the weekly collection day (as was the case in our neighborhood on four Wednesdays this year) the trash would have to be retained by homeowners for two full weeks.

Our taxes certainly warrant better service that that. We in the 3600 and 3700 blocks of Echodale and Gibbons avenues take great pride in the appearance and cleanliness of our neighborhood. We urge the city to consider other options.

One possibility might be to develop a two-week rotation schedule each month, whereby trash is collected, for example, on the first Wednesday, the first Saturday, and the second Wednesday, with the second Saturday designated as "blue bag" day.

The cycle could then be repeated for the next two weeks with the fourth Saturday designated as "newspaper" pick-up day. This would reduce the frequency of collections for the recyclable trash (which can wait and accumulate without causing odor, pest, and health problems) while increasing the collection of spoilable trash by 50 percent each month.

Consider the real cost of prolonged accumulations of spoilable trash to the city as it tries to control rodent and insect infestations and related outbreaks of illnesses, to say nothing of the unsightly filth which will litter sidewalks, alleyways and streets.

Charm City is already struggling to stay charming.

We look to our city leadership to help find ways to improve, not worsen, these problems for the citizens of Baltimore.

Toni Worsham

Baltimore

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