Boergers CandidacyNews accounts in The Sun and...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Boergers Candidacy

News accounts in The Sun and other newspapers handicap the Democratic governor's race in Maryland as a two-man field.

Clearly, this does seem to shape up as a two-man race. But I'll wager that Mary Boergers will be Maryland's next governor.

Mary Boergers is a tough, articulate, focused and tireless campaigner. She has a formidable command of the issues and she knows how to get her messages across.

The 20-year veteran in Annapolis she defeated by a 3-1 margin to gain her Senate seat would probably tell anyone who is interested that those who take Senator Boergers lightly do so at their own peril.

Adopting a strategy to ignore, trivialize or marginalize outstanding women candidates doesn't work anymore. Just look the women now sitting in the U.S. Congress who were either hardly mentioned or considered "long-shots" during the 1992 primaries.

Like Mary Boergers, they ran smart, issue-oriented campaigns that made sense to the voters.

Sima R. Osdoby

Rockville

Butchers Hill Pride

As a resident of Butchers Hill (just north and west of Patterson Park), I must take exception to Michael Olesker's characterization (column, Sept. 2) of our East Baltimore neighborhoods as places from which everyone desires escape.

His suggestion that residents and city officials have had their heads in the sand regarding neighborhood problems, and made no effort to solve them, is patently ridiculous.

Mr. Olesker points out that nine houses are for sale in the 2300 to 2900 blocks of East Baltimore Street. In case he hasn't noticed, the real estate section in The Sun just keeps getting bigger.

Numerous "For Sale" signs can be seen in many neighborhoods, not just in East Baltimore. People move and houses remain on the real estate market for a variety of reasons; neighborhood abandonment is but one of myriad causes.

However, for every negative in East Baltimore, there are many positives. When my husband and I decided we needed a larger house last year, we only looked one place -- our own neighborhood. We moved just one block away.

What do we like about East Baltimore and Butchers Hill?

Patterson Park and the pagoda, which our neighborhood has been restoring; being at work in 10 minutes; our fabulous neighbors, who are like family (and with whom we have worked on Citizens On Patrol and neighborhood cleanups too numerous to count, as well as pleasant events like our annual holiday dinner complete with caroling and Easter egg hunt); being a part of larger community improvement efforts by such groups as the South East Planning Council and Ed Rutkowski's Patterson Park Neighborhoods Intervention Initiative.

Of course we are concerned about threats of drugs and violence to our community, in East Baltimore and the city as a whole. But we are not ignoring our problems; we are working to make things better. And for the most part, we're not moving away.

Mary Sloan Roby

Baltimore

The Good and Bad of Amtrak

I must take exception to the negative criticism of Amtrak by Thomas DiBacco. Writing in The Sun Sept. 26, Mr. DiBacco thinks that American trains are the worst in the world. This just is not so.

Amtrak has done a wonderful job of improving American passenger trains since it was created by Congress in 1971.

Northeast corridor trains have captured over half the non-automobile traffic between Washington and New York. Long-distance trains are popular, very comfortable and are often booked for months in advance.

Trains are energy efficient. Amtrak averages just half the airlines' energy consumption.

Amtrak consumes 2,462 British Thermal Units per passenger mile while airlines use 4,814, according to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Transportation Energy Data Book.

Trains take relatively little land. The Dallas-Fort Worth Airport uses almost one and one half times the amount of land as the 459-mile Washington-to-Boston northeast corridor.

Trains make cities livable. They usually serve the hearts of cities, often connecting with local transit systems and sometimes sharing tracks with commuter trains. The outlying location of airports means that a far larger portion of airline passengers and employees must drive to the terminal.

Airports also often spawn massive development of energy-inefficient auto-dependent businesses.

Matthew C. Fenton IV

Baltimore

____________ The column by Mr. DiBacco reverberates with negative connotations of which can only be expected from one who sees the opportunity to criticize.

The accidents which have happened in the past are largely due to human error beyond Amtrak's control. I have worked for Amtrak for 10 years, and let me assure you that no one I know is getting rich from our tax dollars.

Actually, we generally earn about 10 percent less than other railroads for performing at least 15 to 20 percent more work.

rTC The budget ax comes down on Amtrak every year. How can anyone expect European railroad quality when our operation isn't funded in the same proportion?

Scott Wilbur

Reisterstown

Germany is a Country That Works

What is wrong in this country? We just returned from the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, and this is what we experienced:

Crowds exceeding the thousands in over seven buildings all the size of the Baltimore Arena, no fights, no messy beer on the floors, toilets that were maintained continuously by workers and huge crowds that were clearly having fun, no hassle and no fuss.

On an evening excursion to Salzburg, Austria, after all the shops were closed, we kept thinking, what is wrong with this scene?

Finally, someone mentioned that the storefronts which were closed for the night but lit up, were actually showing their wares in the windows. In one shop we saw nothing but Rolex watches along with expensive diamond jewelry.

Lo and behold, the next shop displayed all kinds of guns, rifles and knives. It was a sporting goods shop. Clearly there were no concerns of the windows being broken.

Can you imagine a jewelry or gun shop in Baltimore leaving merchandise in the window after hours and not having bars or extensive burglary alarms? We will probably never see this in our lifetime.

While driving on the autobahn, we never saw a police vehicle. We were told that very seldom is one needed on this famous highway. Drivers respect each other.

When a violation is committed, such as not letting a driver into another lane when his blinker is on, the license will be suspended. The laws are tough and the people obey the law.

In visiting the oldest public housing, or ghetto as it was described back in the 1600s, we were told that it cost one deutschemark or 63 cents a year to live there. Still, it has to be maintained with cleanliness, and if you live like a pig you will be thrown out.

Also, the gates are closed at 10 p.m. and you cannot get in or out. I mentioned that it seemed barbaric to keep people locked in or out in this day and age. The reply was, "If you need the government to take care of you and supply the means of living, you have no business on the streets after 10 p.m."

Maybe they have the right way of thinking. They experience no problems and there is a waiting list to get into this low-income housing community. By the way, the windows were so clean, you thought there weren't any. There was not a speck of garbage or trash.

I could go on about the lifestyle in Germany, but maybe our law-makers and so-called public servants should take an extended trip.

It seems that a lot of us originated from Europe, and it is a shame that every year we lose more and more of the customs, cultures and plain good living habits that were once visible but are no longer mentioned as the right way of life.

The media are also much to blame. When we arrived back home, on "20-20," we watched the wife who hacked off her husband's penis being glorified. On "Day One," we watched how a robber does his work. Every movie of the week is about one criminal or another.

Give us all a break and treat hard-core criminals as they treat us, as non-human beings, and let our community once again become a safe place to live.

Linda M. Hess

Sparks

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