Manley Didn't Threaten Council
This letter is written on behalf of all Baltimore County Council members, regarding the Oct. 9 editorial in The Sun critical of 1st District Republican Councilwoman Berchie L. Manley.
According to the editorial, entitled "Berchie's Blackmail," Mrs. Manley had issued a "threat to go public with allegedly embarrassing information about her colleagues, should they fail to agree to the down-zoning" of the Catonsville campus of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, for which a research facility is proposed.
Mrs. Manley made no such threat, and not one member of this council for a moment thought that she had. Mrs. Manley's comments came during a lengthy, candid discussion of this and several other comprehensive zoning map issues. The discussion took place at a public meeting of the council held on Oct. 1.
During the discussion, Mrs. Manley referred to information in her possession about the UMBC issue which was characterized as negative and ugly. She declined to comment on the nature of the information.
No one present at the meeting, including The Sun's reporter who later filed a report about the meeting, heard Mrs. Manley threaten her colleagues on the council.
The council learned that the report which appeared in the Oct. 7 edition of The Sun was altered so that Mrs. Manley's comments were said to have been directed at her colleagues; the alteration was made because an editor inferred that the comments were so directed.
A clear majority of the council disagrees with Mrs. Manley on the merits of the UMBC zoning issue. However, none of the other members has ever questioned Mrs. Manley's sincerity or integrity on this or other issues and has certainly never been threatened or felt threatened by her actions or statements.
Berchie is an effective advocate for her constituents. She has a great deal of knowledge of the county's development process and zoning process. Though we occasionally disagree with her conclusions, we respect her right to voice them.
All the members of the council are concerned that an editorial alleging "blackmail" was written on the basis of statements that were never made. The press may characterize an elected official in any manner it chooses, but it should do so on the basis of facts, not inferences.
William A. Howard 4th
The writer is the chairman of the Baltimore County Council.
On Oct. 7, an article titled "Manley irks council by refusing to budge on rezoning issue" appeared in the Metro section of The Sun.
I regret that Michael Himowitz, a Sun editor, chose to change reporter Patrick Gilbert's report of the County Council's Oct. 1 work session regarding the 1st District zoning issues, which includes the University of Maryland Baltimore County research park issue. . .
This discussion centered around my reasons for not negotiating with UMBC to plan an industrial research and development park within old "community conservation" committees.
On Oct. 9, an editorial appeared without the writer of the editorial verifying his information, based upon Mr. Gilbert's article. This is irresponsible, inexcusable and reprehensible editorializing by the powerful press.
When you are in opposition to the "powers that be" on the state level, you may have a losing situation, but I shall continue to represent the wishes of my constituents as I committed myself to do during my election campaign. . .
The writer represents the 1st District on the Baltimore County Council.
Black Jackets, High Boots and Bloody Marys
Two articles on the front page of The Sun Sept. 29 concerned me greatly. In one, the city's "weller-to-do" were continuing their migration to the county; in the other, foxes were migrating from the county into the city. There is a way to reverse these trends.
The Schmoke administration should immediately establish a quasi-governmental organization called the "Druid Hill Hunt." The purpose of this organization would be the eradication of foxes from Druid Hill Park by encouraging within the city the time-honored sport of "riding to hounds" (fox hunting).
Countians from the manor and elsewhere, clad in black jackets, high boots, spurs, gloves and whips, would flock to the city. All the city would have to do is provide a traditional hunt breakfast in the park. Fox hunters are notorious for their ability for tracing the scent of the Bloody Mary.
Before the animal rights lobby gives tongue to this idea, it should consider the fact that fox hunters do not kill their quarry, unlike what the foxes are doing to the inhabitants of the zoo. Over time and given enough harassment from hunters, the foxes will vacate Druid Hill Park.
To keep the hunters in town as taxpayers, however, the city should do what all reputable hunt clubs do -- require that one own property within the boundaries of the city to be a member of the Druid Hill Hunt.
If Mayor Schmoke prefers not to embrace this idea, I'm sure Gover Andrew and Sherri Joyce nor Schaefer would. I don't think he's had a chance to don a fox hunting habit and have his picture taken.
Harry B. Turner
Congratulations to Glenn McNatt for his accurate appraisal and denunciation of Louis Farrakhan ("The Final Victory of Malcolm X," Oct. 10).
Unfortunately, most black leaders and politicians, from Jesse Jackson down, have neither the courage nor integrity to do likewise.
The writer is professor emeritus at Howard University.
In your Oct. 11 editorial "Abortion and Physicians' Liability" you state that "psychiatrists do not perform knee surgery for one simple reason -- doing so would put them at overwhelming risk of malpractice charges and no one would insure them." This is simply false.
Psychiatrists do not do knee surgery because it would require four years of training to gain the expertise to perform such a difficult procedure. Secondly, such surgeries are performed in hospitals, where credentialing committees would not grant a psychiatrist privileges to do orthopedic surgery.
Abortion is a different matter. It is a very simple "skill" for a physician to acquire. Furthermore, abortion clinics do not have credentialing committees to prevent incompetents from performing abortions.
This is why any psychiatrist or M.D. can, and in some instances does, perform abortions in these unregulated clinics. Unfortunately, they often don't have the knowledge to deal with the complications that frequently arise.
Not only does Question 6 fail to protect women, it jeopardizes their health. The only thing this extreme bill does is protect the abortion industry. I urge Marylanders to vote against it.
Paul M. Rivas, M.D.
I am writing to protest your Oct. 10 editorial about Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's plan to ask city voters to support a $2.5 million city bond issue to provide loans to meet settlement expenses. This is blatant discrimination against poor and working class people.
Your editorial was in error.
The program you described for homes valued between $16,000 and $100,000 would be a significant program for a range of potential homebuyers.
The actual program, described in an Oct. 9 news article, requires a minimum sales price of $60,000. This would exclude the working class of this city and the many moderately priced homes that we are fortunate to have available.
Purchasing a home is a task everyone struggles with, but no one more so than those at low income levels. It would seem only fair and just that a new program with limited government funds to help people with their settlement expenses target at least a portion of the aid to those most in need.
It is truly shocking that Mr. Schmoke's program completely fails to do so.
The writer is executive director of the Maryland Low Income Housing Coalition.
Your Oct. 8 headline, "60 city workers facing layoffs due to aid cuts," is somewhat misleading.
While the city may be suffering from the state's failure to dispense more aid, the mayor and housing commissioner continue to allow the most lucrative tax base to disintegrate.
How can this city expect to survive when it cannot protect the homeowners who want to live in decent, well-kept neighborhoods and are willing to pay taxes to protect their investment?
Why are the mayor and housing commissioner allowing existing housing to decay while planning new and renovated housing for tenants who permit their homes, not necessarily their buildings, to rot beneath them?
For the city to blame the state for the layoffs is similar to the car owner blaming the finance company for repossessing his car when he didn't make the payments.
The housing department has allowed the tax base to dissipate and now the city cannot protect its citizens, cannot see that the tax base needs protection, cannot educate its children.
Money is the solution and expansion of the real estate basis is a big part of the solution. Enforcement of existing laws is the least expensive way to preserve and increase this asset.
The time for action is now. It shouldn't be necessary for The Baltimore Sun to go into another expose to get action for all of the people who are interested in having neighborhoods to be proud of.
Charles D. Connelly