Fine PresidentI want to thank you for...


Fine President

I want to thank you for the very fine Sept. 24 article regarding President Bush, "A believer, bloodied but unbowed.'

It was good to read something upbeat for the president as it seems so much is negative in all aspects of the media.

I assume your newspaper will endorse Governor Clinton, and that is why I did want to thank you for writing something good about our fine president. He deserves better treatment than he has been getting.

Frank L. Meade


Too Big and Noisy

As president of the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside Civic Association (which encompasses the east and north sides of Memorial Stadium) I must say no one knows more than we do the need to be flexible as far as special events at the stadium site. The revenues generated for these events only benefit us as a neighborhood, since the cost of maintaining the site is astronomical.

We have been more than gracious over the years dealing with trash, noise, crowds and traffic, but that comes with the territory of living near a stadium, which the majority of us knew when we moved here.

The flea market concept is a good one. Unfortunately, the market grew to such proportion that it is entirely too large for the stadium lot, creating an abundance of trash, parking and traffic problems at 5:30 a.m. It has even brought the sales of firearms to our neighborhood, which is totally unacceptable.

I can tell you that Councilman Bill Cunningham acted on behalf of the neighborhood, since complaints were many.

Living across from the stadium only allowed him to see things first hand, but the ultimate pressure came from the residents.

Hopefully with the new location at the vacant Eastern High School and some new guidelines, the flea market can be what it was intended to be: a successful operation for the vendor and additional revenue for the city.

Brian P. Hannon


Dangerous Shears

What a happy day it must have been for Tim Baker! The state's latest round of budget cuts allowed him to fetch, yet again, his prized University of Maryland System pruning shears. Surely Mr. Baker will not rest until the regents close or merge something -- anything -- at his behest.

In his latest gardening effort, Mr. Baker implores the regents to have the courage to "saw off limbs." Yet he is loath to suggest which limbs he might clip. Perhaps he can find the courage to describe exactly what he would prune.

Further, Mr. Baker continues the theme The Sun's editorialists have proclaimed for some 15 years, that Maryland's public universities are deeply flawed (and, of course, desperate for his rescue). As always, this thesis is not argued, but merely asserted.

Finally, Mr. Baker somehow finds illegitimate the role of each campus' "powerful constituency." Certainly students, faculty, friends and alumni should not alone dictate the course of the UM system. But their voices merit strong consideration, along with those of taxpayers, legislators, the governor and the regents (and even Tim Baker).

As others have ably noted, Mr. Baker continues to confuse vision and fantasy when discussing Maryland higher education. Until he clears his head, he should put away his shears, lest he hurt someone.

Patrick J. Casey


Bentley's Help

Frank Kelly (letter, Oct. 8) blatantly misrepresents Rep. Helen Bentley's positions on a number of issues. More to the point, he chooses to ignore Ms. Bentley's tireless efforts on behalf of her constituents.

The past spring, an automobile accident took the lives of several students on the "Its Academic" team at Edgewood High. As one of her many local activities, the congresswoman raised money to send surviving team members and alternates to a regional competition in Chicago.

She was active in efforts to heal the trauma experienced by students over the loss of their friends and coordinated donations for the school's alcohol-free prom.

No one could possibly work harder for her constituents than Ms. Bentley. On the other hand, the last time most of us in Harford County can recall hearing about her opponent, Michael Hickey, was when he ran for the Democratic nomination in 1990.

Too many members of Congress come around only at election time. Voters in the 2d Congressional District should hold on to the one congressperson they can count on, day-in day-out, in good times and bad.

Howard S. Klein

Bel Air

Abortion Opponents' Stand Questioned

As a pro-choice legislator who was deeply involved in the successful passage of Senate Bill 162 and in the unsuccessful fight to pass a pro-choice bill the year before, I write to refute the arguments of Jay Schwartz and Randall Wetzel that appeared recently in the Letters to the Editor.

As an attorney with a large lobbying practice in Annapolis, Mr. Schwartz should know that his claim that S.B. 162 was not a compromise because it was supported by the National Abortion Rights Action League is not true.

During the 1990 session, the first time a codification of Roe vs. Wade was attempted, NARAL repeatedly threatened to scuttle the bill because it had a parental notification provision. NARAL capitulated only after I and other bill leaders insisted that we needed a moderate compromise bill to address the concerns of the public.

Its current support of Question 6 is in deference to the political realities and not the pure codification of Roe vs. Wade it would wish.

As to Dr. Wetzel's ridiculous charge that under S.B. 162 a dermatologist could perform abortions, I can only say hooey!

The rules of medical practice would not allow Dr. Wetzel as an anesthesiologist to perform an abortion, neither will they allow dermatologists, psychiatrists or neurosurgeons to perform abortions. The "licensed physician" clause of the bill is a safeguard, insuring that nurses or midwives would not be allowed to perform this procedure.

As for liability, the medical procedures of abortion are no different from any other.

Under S.B. 162 the physician is not held liable for a decision to abort made under the standards of medical practice, but, like any other physician in any other circumstance, no physician is free from the consequences of his acts. If during the performance of an abortion a physician commits malpractice, he can be sued just as if that malpractice occurred during any other circumstance.

Dr. Wetzel's letter is a classic example of obfuscation. So are the ads against Question 6. Abortion is a medical procedure and is regulated by a body of law and practice as is any other medical procedure. If the abortion opponents were honest about their opposition, they would tell you that they really want abortions to be illegal altogether.

Their attempt to appear as moderate opponents of S.B. 162 should be put to the test. They should be asked if they would support any codification of Roe vs. Wade. I guarantee that the answer is no.

Barbara A. Hoffman


The writer is a state senator representing the 42nd legislative district of Baltimore City.

Vacant House Loans

In reading The Sun Sept. 13, I was pleased to see the editorial regarding the Baltimore Community Development Financing Corporation's vacant house loan program.

As stated in the article, the program is designed to encourage Baltimoreans like Stephen Church to remain in the city as a stabilizing force by renovating vacant properties where they will reside.

The Community Developemnt Financing Corporation is very excited about providing citizens of Baltimore and surrounding counties the opportunity to invest in and be a part of the city's future. We must, However, temper our excitement with a sense of reality and pragmatism.

Steven Church, for example, told The Sun he hopes to move into a new home by the end of the year, perhaps even by Thanksgiving.

However, due to the level of deterioration sustained by structures on the city's vacant house list, properties such as 1614 E. 29th St. will typically require a six month rehabilitation period after an approved borrower's loan closing, and it may be physically impossible to move as quickly as Mr. Church would like--but we will move.

In addition, we want to make sure that these properties are affordable. As The Sun pointed out on Sept. 1, while Mr. Church has been accepted for the VHLP program, Mr. Church has not yet qualified for a loan on the 29th Street property.

We must guarantee that the costs of the house remain within reach. Therefore, as any prudent lender would, we must compare the costs of the financing with the resources of potential owners.

Putting rehabs on the express track may seem appealing, but experience has shown that such efforts can move all too rapidly in the wrong direction and then derail.

Since the announcement of the VHLP, hundreds of other families have contacted us to take advantage of this new housing opportunity in Baltimore City.

Robert W. Hearn


The writer is Baltimore City's commissioner of housing and community development.

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