As a resident of Boston Street, I am subject to the heavy truck traffic which has been the subject of some controversy. Yes, they are noisy, create congestion on streets not designed to carry them, and tear up the road beds.
It would be logical for me to support The Sun's editorials which point out that the harbor tunnels were built at much expense to divert this kind of traffic from the downtown streets. But I do sympathize with the truckers who find this an expensive diversion.
It seems that a $4 fee each way is too much to pay, so why not
reduce the fee to $2 specifically for the large trucks, thus eliminating their argument. The resulting increase in truck traffic through the tunnels should offset the financial shortfall that is presently being experienced and will most likely result in making all four of us happy: The downtown residents, the truckers, the city and the state.
No 'Guilt' Here
I enjoyed Peter Honey's March 22 piece, "Afrikaners Step Away from 1heir Stigma." However, I take strong exception to a peripheral comment he made in the article, in which he equates the guilt he believes South African whites feel for apartheid with the guilt (he again believes) the Germans feel for the Holocaust and which Americans should feel for dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
I strongly reject his politically correct equation of our use of a catastrophic weapon during wartime with the deliberately-planned systems of repression installed by regimes in South Africa and Germany.
Revisionist arguments stating the United States dropped the bomb for reasons other than bringing a quick end to the war have not held much water (except in Japan), although Mr. Honey apparently subscribes to them. It would be quite interesting to have Mr. Honey defend his stand in front of some people who had to fight against the Japanese or, more interestingly, against people who live in countries under Japanese domination at that time.
Although I doubt many Americans go around doing a victory dance on the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I also believe there is no reason that Americans should feel collective guilt for this terrible event.
James B. Whitney
Thank you for Barney Kirby's Opinion * Commentary article, "Orioles Don't Want Fans; They Want Investors."
Like most middle-class Baltimoreans, I've felt I had no voice in the stadium process. I've known all along this new stadium was not built for the people of Baltimore, but for the tourist industry.
I've gone to see the Orioles since 1964. My husband and I have taken our two sons to the Orioles games regularly for 18 years. My youngest son's birthday is April 3. We have celebrated his birthday along with the opening day celebrations at Memorial Stadium. But this year we couldn't get tickets to the new stadium's opening.
When the Colts football team was here, we could never get tickets to any game, so how could we miss them when they were gone? It seems the same elitist thing will be happening with the Orioles if the big interests buy up all the good seats at the new stadium.
Mr. Kirby was right, the new stadium "excludes rather than includes," and "is a country club . . . serving that old time baseball favorite, nouvelle cuisine."
Sure, they tell us there will be plenty of things for the common man, but there won't be if we can't get tickets or won't go 'D because we don't feel welcome.
Yes, the new stadium will have a Camden Club and cocktails, but the average Baltimorean will be watching the games at home, one of the few places we feel welcome in our own city.
Ugly in the Park
Having just visited the magnificent Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I must say that I was totally impressed by its architecture, its setting, its amenities and its ambience. Unfortunately, I was .. also impressed by the tackiness inherent in the advertising signs erected on the facade of the club-level seats and the outfield walls.
How a setting with such complete graphic coherence could be defaced by a collection of unrelated advertisements, apparently taken from Ritchie Highway in the dead of night, is beyond my mortal comprehension. Surely, the Orioles are not in such dire financial straits that they need the marginal revenue generated by this assault on the artistic senses.
I have mentioned the incongruity of this aesthetic nightmare to several people, and they reacted like I had four heads. Am I the only person in this area who thinks that a $100 million (plus land cost) ballpark should not look like a strip center? I urge all fans, taxpayers and critics to write the Stadium Authority and the Orioles, and let their opinions be known.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski is right on target regarding The Sun editors' challenge to state her defense-cutting preferences. The editors' endorsement of Defense Secretary Dick Cheney's proposed reduction of forces concerning the Army National Guard and other military reserve components seems poorly conceived and ill-advised.
The guard and reserve have historically provided the most cost-effective method to protect our citizens and augment our national defense when needed.
In addition, the guard and reserve also provide the knowledgeable manpower required to keep the tremendous amounts of military hardware in a state of acceptable readiness.
Our nation can ill afford such a peace dividend as presently proposed by the Pentagon; therefore, Secretary Cheney should go back to his drawing board.
In a column April 1, Cal Thomas echoed the words of our do-nothing president, describing AIDS as a "behavior problem."
He insists that AIDS is of no concern to heterosexuals who don't inject drugs. This is an ignorant, dangerous lie. The behaviors that place people at risk for contracting HIV are sharing needles when injecting drugs and having unprotected sexual intercourse.
Most Americans don't inject drugs. Those who do are addicts. Addictions are not conquered by an individual's will or advice from a public health official. Addictions are conquered by treatment, which is unavailable to most addicts because of the Reagan administration's budget cuts. Until we are willing to face the reality of addiction (to tobacco, alcohol and "illegal" drugs), providing clean needles to addicts will save the lives of thousands of men, women and children.
Most Americans do engage in sex. If we only examine the numbers of people with "full-blown AIDS," we are looking at the epidemic as it was five to ten years ago. When we look at seroprevalence rates (the numbers of people infected with HIV in more recent years), we see that in adolescents, infection is spread almost equally among young men and women through unprotected heterosexual intercourse. There is no reason to doubt that these infected individuals will develop "full-blown AIDS."
Mr. Thomas, like our ill-informed president, imagines that only sex between gay men magically infects one with HIV. Mr. Thomas, obviously comfortable with his head buried in the sand, encourages a society which would rather lose an entire generation to HIV than honestly discuss sex and addiction.
Mr. Thomas, quoting Dr. William Roper, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, suggests we adopt the model of the public health battle over tobacco addiction to fight HIV. This effort, over the last three decades, has reduced the number of people who smoke. Today, with over 1 million Americans infected with HIV, we can't afford three years, let alone three decades, to mount a massive risk-reduction campaign which is available to everyone. This campaign must begin immediately, provide honest advice (which means latex: condoms, dental dams and gloves), as well as the chorus universally trumpeting abstinence.
Many of our children will have sex before we want them to. It is their body -- their choice. Many of our children will be addicts. All we can provide is love and treatment. Many of our children will be gay or lesbian. Nothing we do will alter that. Adolescents must be given enough information to make their own informed choices. Their lives depend on it.
Mark A. Shaw