Park HeightsAfter reading Scott Shane's two-part series...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Park Heights

After reading Scott Shane's two-part series on drugs and drug-related violence in Northwest Baltimore (Sept. 12 and 13), I felt compelled to inform your readers of how residents of the Park Heights community and participants in the Park Heights Renaissance Project have come together to address our social, physical and economic needs.

Although the numbers used in the articles may show increasing drug-related deaths, these statistics do not accurately reflect the energy and work community residents have expended to address drug-related problems.

For example, the Park Heights Renaissance Project is working with city agencies to establish a community organization to coordinate activities and services that will enhance the quality of life in our community.

The business development/job creation programs, a drug-free treatment center, a youth recreation initiative and a citizens' judicial monitoring program will address the core causes that lead to our youth getting involved in the deadly drug business.

We believe initiatives that focus primarily on our young people and community empowerment are essential if we are ever going to stem the tide of destruction related to the drug business.

We challenge the public and private sectors to join us in our renewed efforts to revitalize our community and stop the tragic "epidemic of murders."

Linwood Cole

Baltimore

The writer is a co-convenor of job creation programs at the Park Heights Renaissance Project.

Panhandlers

I am writing in response to the panhandling bill brought about to prevent panhandlers or beggars from becoming too aggressive.

Under the bill, police officers would be able to arrest any beggar whether or not they receive a complaint about that person.

As I walk to baseball games at Camden Yards, I am confronted by beggars who become quite aggressive. Whether or not I want to give money is my decision.

I am sure there are other aggressive behaviors that I am not aware of, but is it really necessary to go around and arrest those who are just trying to gain a buck?

Without a complaint, how is the arrested person supposed to receive a fair trial? False arrests will frequently occur due to the varied ways of panhandling. One can be quite aggressive and still not be creating any disorder.

Anyway, why would you want to waste time and money arresting beggars that could be used in the protection of the many lives which are endangered every day?

It will be rather interesting to me the ways this is handled.

Jerry Chuasiriporn

Timonium

Both Sides of Choosing to Die

Bravo to reporter Michael Ollove and his editors for the service they provided for Janis Greenhood (Oct. 1). They helped her die, and die in peace, as she wished. The article -- "A cancer patient gets her final wish" -- did a good job of presenting various arguments on both sides of the choose-to-die issue.

I think Mrs. Greenhood's asking for The Sun's ear was God's way of disseminating this information to a large number of readers. By including the pro and con expert opinions and those of the patient herself, the article succeeded in remaining pretty neutral about the issue. Thus, readers had to draw their own conclusions. I found it difficult to do, for most all the arguments have merit.

Following the line of logic presented by Mr. Ollove, one could conclude that Mrs. Greenhood probably did lack the final bit of conviction which would have been required for suicide.

However, she seemed truly miserable, and I think that your decision to present her story allowed her to leave this realm of pain and suffering in peace. She was finished living, due to the hand she had been dealt.

Once her story was told, she could let go. It seems that wa what she wanted.

Stephanie Panos Link

Hampstead

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We would like you to know that the article you printed about our wife and mother, Janis H. Greenhood, truly conveyed the message she was trying to send.

It is our belief that she would have been very pleased with the tone and sensitivity with which reporter Mike Ollove wrote.

We are grateful to The Sun for giving her the opportunity to express publicly that which was so important to her, although she knew it was too late for her.

Euthanasia is a very sensitive topic. However, we hope that her story will prompt others to come forth and petition their &r; legislators to continue to focus on the needs and wishes of terminally ill patients.

Alfred A. Greenhood

Ilene G. Blum

Kathy G. Weinberg

Baltimore

Blatant Disregard

Melody Simmons' Sept. 27 article focused on the need for community mediation between homeowners and the residents of William Connolly Jr.'s property at 644 Parkwyrth Avenue in Waverly.

hile this anticipated intervention will be helpful, it will not address the situation's fundamental problem: the long-standing neglect and resulting decay of the property.

The Department of Housing and Community Development has been aggressive in the issuance of housing and health code violations against the property. Countless fines have been assessed.

Bob Dangler, chief of housing inspection, is in weekly contact with community members. On-site inspector Ed White responds to neighbor and resident complaints within 24 hours. Still, staff cutbacks and outdated laws limit the department's effectiveness.

The housing courts, after granting many continuances, will often reduce a property owner's fine to a negligible amount, in some cases suspending them entirely. For the irresponsible landlord it is far more cost effective to pay court fines than to correct the violating condition.

JTC The Waverly Improvement Association and the residents of Parkwyrth will continue their vigilance against such blatant disregard for the community's well-being. We urge city legislators to carefully examine the current ineffective housing laws.

C. Docie

Baltimore

OC The writer is president of the Waverly Improvement Association.

Unworthy

Secretary of Defense Les Aspin's refusal to grant the request of our military leaders in Somalia for equipment that they knew they needed is a good example of a non-military type as head of the Department of Defense.

Les Aspin was anti-military as a member of the House Armed Services Forces Committee. It would be interesting to know how Aspin would react if he were placed in the position of those fighting a very ungrateful people and needing the equipment to do it and being refused that equipment.

If he were any kind of man, he would step down and allow someone more experienced in military matters to take over the job of secretary of defense.

It boggles the mind as to why a nation of hungry, starving individuals would bite the hand that feeds them knowing that one individual, Mohamed Farah Aidid, is responsible for all their ills.

Now we have the Black Caucus responding cautiously to the furor created over the U.S. mission to Somalia. Why in God's name must the question of racism arise in this unfortunate situation?

I don't care if the body that was dragged through the dirty streets of this African nation was black or white. It was the body of an American soldier who gave his life to a humanitarian cause, only to end up like a side of beef and humiliated by an undeserving people who have shown that they are still one step from being civilized.

This situation is not restricted to only the American troops, but to all the United Nations troops that are engaged in what was supposed to be a mission of mercy.

If Mr. Aidid really were a leader, he would have used his leadership to see that all of his people were fed, and it would have served his purpose to be looked upon as a true leader. Instead, he and his cohorts did all they could to stymie the deliverance of that food to all those who needed it.

The loss of life of one American service man or woman is not worth the misery that Mr. Aidid has inflicted on his nation or the peoples of this world that have joined together to do a humanitarian thing.

John F. Thomas

Catonsville

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