Eamonn McGready's (letter, Oct. 26) on the photo accompanying John Breihan's Oct. 12 article "Baltimore Bombers" needs some clarification. The picture is not of a "North American" A-20, as Mr. McGready states, but of a locally manufactured Martin Baltimore A-30.
World War II A-20s were produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company. Hundreds were delivered to the British as Bostons and Havocs, not as Intruders.
Mr. McGready confuses the name Intruder with the Douglas A-26 Invader, a variant of the A-20, active during the latter part of the war and operational in Vietnam.
Although there were superficial similarities between the Martin A-30 and the Douglas A-20, the photo clearly shows a Baltimore. The exceedingly slim nacelle, the tall antenna and the straight-angled tail section are all characteristics peculiar to our Baltimores. The A-20 had, among other features, a truncated antenna, more upswept tail wings and less prominent air intakes.
A closer reading of the Oct. 12 article would disclose that it is not about the Martin B-26 Marauder, as Mr. McGready suggests, but a good story of Baltimore and its place in World War II aviation history. Grumman Aircraft produced the Intruder, a jet assault plane, the A-6, first flown in 1960, 15 years after the heyday of both the A-20 and A-30.
Robert Patrick Adams
The writer worked on the Martin Baltimore A-30 and the Marauder B-26 bombers between 1940-1942.
4 Lousy Lawyers
The four members of the Court of Appeals who have voted to delay the execution of John Thanos, against the will of the condemned man himself, have reiterated their arrogant disdain for popular government. They know perfectly well that the legislative intent, reflecting the popular will, behind the contested stay-of-execution statute is to expedite executions, not to impede them with new and pointless delays.
Robert M. Bell, Howard S. Chasanow, John C. Eldridge and John F. McAuliffe may see themselves as judicial heroes of mercy toward condemned murderers. In my view they are lousy constitutional lawyers who have betrayed their trust.
The Nov. 10 article, "Gala launches gourmet society," by Karol V. Menzie, is in error.
A spokesperson for the American Institute of Wine and Food, Martha Royal, is quoted as saying that AIWF is "the only organization around" that deals with both professionals and nonprofessionals.
To the contrary. The Chaine des Rotisseurs, an international wine and food society founded in Paris in 1950, has a very active Maryland chapter, counting as members some of Baltimore's finest chefs, restaurateurs, caterers and hotel food service personnel.
About 40 percent of its members are professionals.
While I wish the local AIWF great success, its members and its spokespersons should recognize the contributions other, established organizations, such as the Chaine des Rotisseurs, have made toward the cause of good food and wine.
I know for a fact that Bob Schindler, co-chairman of the new chapter, is very well aware of the long-standing activities of the local and international Chaine.
The Walters While Directorless
Although I might have hoped for a different headline than "The Headless Museum," your Nov. 12 editorial on the Walters Art Gallery represents, aside from an unkind cut or two, a fair evaluation.
The trustees acknowledge with regret that our exhaustive exploration of the art world has not discovered a new director.
As our former director Bob Bergman has observed, the search for museum leadership is a national problem: 15 major art museums are currently without directors. The root of our difficulties lies with the changed nature of museum management.
Twenty years ago the Walters, and most other art museums, were quiet, introverted places where directors doubled as curators. No longer. To achieve the high standards of exhibition excellence and community responsibility which you correctly identify as our proper mission, the director's job has changed dramatically.
Above all, the expanded mission requires him to raise money. Over the last 12 years we have completed three major capital campaigns and dozens of exhibition fundings, and each year we raise about 75 percent of our $7 million operating budget.
In the future, as you point out, we need to renovate the 1974 wing and to build endowment. The director must spend enormous time on fund raising and political advocacy.
In addition, he must build community relationships by spending time with people, attending committee meetings, speaking before community groups and working the crowds at civic gatherings.
Yet the Walters, and virtually all major art museums, still search for their directors among curators and scholars, people inexperienced, untrained and frequently unsuited for these demands.
Leadership talent in these ranks is hard to find. Thirteen years ago the Walters searched for 19 months before Bob Bergman took office. He was certainly worth the wait.
The trustees believe that, among all our responsibilities, the most important is the selection of the right person as director.
If that responsibility means that we must take 14 months, or 19 months, or longer, or that we take some heat on the pages of your newspapers, so be it. As the 12 years have demonstrated, inspired leadership will produce results that make all of us proud and thrilled to have this great museum in our community.
Are we "desperate"?
The irony of our difficulty in finding a new director is that, unlike many directorless museums, including Los Angeles, Detroit and Boston, the state of the Walters has never been stronger.
Our attendance for 1993 is 25 percent above last year, which was a record year. Exhibitions like "Sisley: Master Impressionist," which attracted over 150,000 visitors, and "African Zion: The Sacred Art of Ethiopia," which has forged new friendships with the local community, are emblematic of the Walters' dual commitments to high artistic quality and strong community relationships.
And, thanks to record giving from our members and supporters, the Walters will complete its 11th consecutive year with a balanced budget.
Meanwhile, is the Walters a "headless" museum overseen by a "self-perpetuating" board? On the professional staff, the Walters has two heads.
Kate Sellers, our deputy director, who served as acting director while Bob Bergman was on a year's leave in 1989-90, has played that role again magnificently since Bob's departure, and has been for six years the driving force behind the Walters' successful fund-raising, "family" building and community outreach.
Gary Vikan, our assistant director, has been our visionary curatorial leader for nine years, and the progenitor of a host of superb special exhibitions like "The Art of Holy Russia" and "African Zion."
If by "self-perpetuating" you mean that the Walters board has enduring qualities of strength and renewal, you are quite accurate. We are indeed blessed with a board of model diversity, extraordinary ability and thorough dedication.
Through mandatory term limits we bring new blood on the board every year: 15 of our 30 elected trustees have joined the board within the last five years.
And in June, 1994, there will be rotation at the top. Adena Testa, who has been an outstanding leader among the trustees for many years, will succeed me as president. It will be she, and a new director with corresponding high professional abilities and standards, who will lead the Walters to new heights of accomplishment.
Jay M. Wilson
The writer is president of the Walters Board of Trustees.
Make BG&E; Pay for Its Breakdowns
I read where the Public Service Commission has ruled that "consumers" (gas and electric users) must pay for an equipment breakdown of BG&E.; How could this be justified?
We, as users, have no say so over a monopoly of a utility that Maryland has allowed to control the entire market. We have no alternative to buying from the only electric or gas supplier there is, other than getting a wood-burning or propane heat source and lanterns for light.
Let the stockholders and bond buyers who have loaned money to BG&E; stand the cost. Or better yet, let BG&E; swallow the cost out of its contingency funds. But it is in no way the responsibility of the buyer of a product to make up for a firm's financial loss or increased cost of making a profit.
The state of Maryland has licensed BG&E; where does the state avoid responsibility? I never signed a contract with BG&E; that makes me responsible. Did BG&E; sign one with the state?
I write this as both a consumer and as a stockholder.
Gilbert L. Brandon