Flea market nets cash for city
As a flea market dealer and shopper and a full time Health Care Financing Administration employee, I was outraged that the city of Baltimore has tried to squash the new Memorial Stadium flea market.
After hearing Baltimore city officials cry for so many months, while the bidding war for the new HCFA site raged, that the suburbs were stealing business from the city, Baltimore decides that it does not want the formerly suburban Edmondson flea market dealers and shoppers in the city.
There must be something I do not understand here. There is certainly a lot less noise at the flea market than was generated by the ballgames, which often did not end until late at night during the work week.
In addition, promoter Jay Harris keeps the flea market fenced in and cleans the parking lot very thoroughly at the end of the day.
Finally, the parking problems generated by the 500 customers per hour at the flea market are minuscule compared to the problems generated by the fair held there recently or the 40,000 to 50,000 baseball fans that clogged the area during the evening rush hour. Does Councilman Wilbur Cunningham want to see NFL football banned at Memorial Stadium also?
Not only would Baltimore lose the estimated $2,000 a week from promoter Jay Harris, but it would also lose some of the sales and income taxes generated by the market. Many of the thousands of customers who come to the market every weekend (one antique dealer I know comes from Gettysburg) stay in the area for the day to enjoy the city's other offerings. For you cash-strapped city officials who do not understand they spend more money within the city boundaries, which generates more money for the city treasury.
Finally, the compromise offer of the parking lot at the old Eastern High School for the flea market also has its problems.
It is far too small and the lot is in total disrepair. This will hurt the market in the long run, as many dealers who sell higher-end merchandise such as antiques and collectibles will look for a better and cleaner location.
The market will then lose its attractive, festival-like atmosphere as it slowly becomes just another junk market and the suburbanites will stay home.
I hope that the city will admit its hasty decision was wrong by again allowing the flea market to be held at the Memorial Stadium parking lot. In these tough economic times, everyone in Baltimore will benefit from the revenue it generates and the 33d Street area will again offer the local community a new focal point to replace some of what the Orioles took with them to the new stadium.
John P. Albert
New district lines unfair to some voters
Regarding Robert Erlandson's Sept. 14 article in The Sunday Sun about Maryland's new 11th Legislative District ("Redistricting Turns Political Friends Into Bitter Rivals Vying For New Turf"), I find it ironic that so little attention has been given to what many public officials believe to be the true crime committed during February 1992 -- the shuffling of thousands of Baltimore County residents into legislative districts dominated by Baltimore City.
Nowhere is the harmful political gerrymandering more blatant than in my present 10th District, where large segments of communities such as Ruxton and Riderwood have been shoved into the city's 42nd District.
This attempt at the wholesale disenfranchisement of Baltimore County citizens is really a "two for one" by the Democrat leadership. The new lines effectively negate the votes of more conservative, Republican-oriented voters in these areas while giving Baltimore City more legislative seats (and political clout) than its dwindling population would otherwise justify. One-party politics at its finest!
I should add that other Baltimore County citizens in Pikesville, Dundalk and Arbutus-Catonsville suffered the same fate, a fact almost totally ignored in your coverage of legislative redistricting to date.
Hopefully, the numerous suits now filed in the federal District Court for Maryland and the Maryland Court of Appeals will result in more sensible lines that properly respect existing political boundaries and communities of interest.
If not, "taxation without representation" will be the unfortunate legacy of this last-ditch attempt to generate "seats for the city."
If the courts should fail to rectify these injustices, however, I sincerely hope Baltimore County voters will remember this insult when selecting a new governor and General Assembly in 1994.
Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
The writer is a delegate for the 10th Legislative District in Baltimore County.
Unfair helmet law
With all due respect to the Maryland State Police and Governor Schaefer, the recent decisions concerning the helmet law are unfairly aggressive and untimely.
The helmet law is good and I support it. But I also supported the seat-belt law and never saw even a nominal effort made to enforce it.
I also question the constitutionality of making the wearing of helmets a primary offense but not doing so for the other safety equipment issue.
Many people opt to purchase a motorcycle out of economic necessity. The motorcycle is initially less costly, easier to work on, less expensive to maintain, burns less gas and is easier to park.
So to launch an enforcement crusade and adopt a policy of "show no mercy" on this one group by insisting on no warnings, only citations, seems to me, dare I say, prejudiced?
Adding to this argument is the fact that seat belts are already in most automobiles and there are non-profit organizations set up to help people get children's safety seats, such as K.I.S.S. (Kids In Safety Seats).
However, there are no such avenues for the motorcyclist. Helmets, at $75 for the cheapest that will pass the standard, cost twice as much as the safety seats.
Considering the economy and the wave of violence our state has fallen victim to in the last couple of months, this hardly seems a really good use of our police force.
The helmet law should go into effect, but bareheaded motorcyclists should be treated no differently from those who drive in cars with their shoulder harnesses dangling.
Regarding Patrick Gilbert's article "Baltimore Co. expected to bolster recycling goals" (Sept. 18), may I add that the Texas landfill recycling center is to be highly commended. It is very well organized; the people in charge are unfailingly helpful, cheerful and enthusiastic.
There is a steady flow of participants who are made to feel as though they are really helping. This attitude makes a great difference for members of the public who are trying to help rather than merely thinking "let's not bother; they don't care anyway."
Rosemary A. Goodbar
Ross Perot, with his elusive, on-again-off-again antics, has quite clearly demonstrated to his starry-eyed followers the lack of regard or gratitude in which he holds their loyalty and trust.
His followers can be quite accurately likened to lemmings, the small Arctic rodents that, for no explainable reason, commit mass suicide by rushing headlong into the sea.
Perot's followers need to be made aware of the fact that they are merely the tools to feed the large ego of a small-minded man.
Blanche K. Coda
In real life
Douglas Davis' radical suggestion (Other Voices, Sept. 22) for the election debates is sound and sensible. What better way for the electorate to see into the contenders' souls, so to speak -- to ascertain exactly what their differences are.
Watching three five-hour debates -- on domestic affairs, foreign policy, and personal and cultural values -- wherein both candidates answer questions being called in by the television audience should enable voters to go to the polls better prepared to decide who is the more likely choice for implementing the change his country so desperately needs.
As for the Murphy Brown/Dan Quayle brouhaha, considering Mr. Quayle's stance on abortion, his criticism of Murphy is ridiculous. This pregnancy was unplanned, not the result of promiscuity but the product of Murphy's unexpected reconciliation with her former husband, which, unfortunately, did not work out.
These things do happen in real life. In Murphy's position, I wouldn't have dared to have the baby. Would Mr. Quayle have approved my choice?
Sunny V. Robinson
Why ban rifles?
According to a Maryland State Police report cited in The Evening Sun, rifles were used in only 2.4 percent of the murders recorded in 1991 ("569 murdered in '91 in Md., police report," Sept. 22). Handguns accounted for 60 percent.
In view of these data one wonders why Governor William Donald Schaefer is so determined to ban rifles.
Charles F. Havens