Eyes and Ears
I would like to thank the public safety guides and the clean sweep ambassadors who walk the streets of Baltimore City to provide a safer and more friendly environment for the people of Baltimore and the tourists who visit our city.
Their positive presence on the 106 blocks in the core of downtown Baltimore adds a greater sense of security and helps make downtown a pleasant place to work and visit.
The public safety guides are approachable and very friendly. They are the "eyes and ears" looking out for the safety of all who walk the street of Baltimore.
I congratulate the Downtown Partnership for their good work. They are helping to change the image of downtown Baltimore in a positive way.
The wealthy and well-known who purchased $5,000 tickets to assure the re-election of Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes would do well to keep in mind what one of Mr. Sarbanes' forebears, the brilliant Anthenian statesman Pericles (490-429 BC), said about democracy:
"We Athenians enjoy a form of government different from that of our neighbors; and because we rule the state not for the few but for the many, we call it democracy.
"The citizens, on an equal footing in private life, are selected for the higher positions in the state according to merits, not party and still less according to property."
Obviously, Pericles' Greek democracy expired long time ago. It was replaced by a more modern form of government where those expected to "rule" the state rule for the benefit not of the many but for the "few" who paid to get in. The "many" can mend for themselves.
Senator Sarbanes' $1 million "fund-raiser," and others like it, point out the truthfulness of yet another maxim: "While dogs bark, money talks." The senator's promise that if re-elected, "I will work hard for everyone," is a loud bark aimed at the "many." For the selected "few," he will work much harder. This is democracy.
I was so relieved to read of the formidable team of celebrity defense lawyers assembled by O.J. Simpson.
We can now rest assured that, whether his domestic exploits are limited to simple wife-beating or extend all the way to actual murder, The Juice has the best possible shot at avoiding the embarrassing and even possibly career-wrecking prospect of severe penalty, or, unthinkably, incarceration.
In view of the recent double murders in California, I think the governor should call an immediate special session of the legislature to pass a knife control law.
Malcolm S. Barlow
Brock's Good Work
As a teacher, I value those parents who take an active interest in their children's education and help them develop into good students as well as good citizens. Even more, I value those leaders of our society who give of their time to provide hope and opportunity to those who haven't had all of the best breaks in life. In Montgomery County, tough cancer patients have a sugar daddy in Larry Chloupek of Potomac.
Hundreds of youths in tough neighborhoods in Baltimore, Anacostia and Largo have benefited from the mature guiding hand of Bill Brock, who has seen through his National Academy Foundation that 98 percent of those troubled youths that he has taken under his wing have graduated from high school.
While we hear one millionairess who is challenging former
Senator Brock slinging the epithet carpetbagger at every opportunity, and an incumbent apparently preparing to, I'd be surprised and even shocked to find any evidence that they've given more than a small fraction of the free time in their lives to the truly needy in Maryland that this dedicated Annapolitan has in the last six years.
While I don't agree with Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley or Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke often, they were merely recognizing Bill Brock's hard work and selfless devotion to these kids and our state.
J. Lee Annis Jr.
Prejudice and Fear on the Metro
Edward Lee's commentary (Opinion * Commentary, June 24) regarding the three Asian women and the man taunting them was poignant.
I've tried to defend the people on that train by thinking maybe they were better off leaving the drunk alone. People who are under the influence can do stupid things. Something terrible might have happened.
But I think the core of this matter is that we who were not there should not judge the ones who were there. How would we have reacted? Sure it's easy to say, "If I was there I would have done something." But really, when put to the test, do we do "something"?
Let's hope that when we are put to the test we all will do the right thing.
I am writing in response to the commentary by Edward Lee entitled "Not One Spoke Up" which appeared June 24.
When riding the Washington Metro (subway), I also have witnessed several incidents and have not spoken up.
I would like to explain why. It is fear and certainly not indifference which prevents me from speaking out; living in fear is what has evolved from this society in which we now live.
The latest incident which remains vivid to me is when a woman was ranting, raving and cursing on the Metro.
At first I thought she was directing her tirade to a companion. I soon realized that it was directed at anyone who made eye contact with her. She began walking up and down the aisle cursing at commuters.
You are probably aware that there is a bell to push which enables a person to speak to the driver through an intercom.
I observed a man push the bell three different times. Each time the driver asked "Can I help you?" Each time the man was afraid to answer because the crazy (literally) woman would hear him. The driver never came back to my Metro car to see for himself if there was a problem.
On another occasion, a drunk man sat near me and openly drank from a bottle of liquor. No way was I going to ring the bell and have to state the problem aloud.
As much as I would like to help society evolve (Mr. Lee's words), I admit to being afraid and to imagining dire consequences.
Edward Lee, The Sun intern, is understandably upset over ethnic slurs directed at Asian-Americans. He is Korean.
My wife is Burmese, actually Anglo-Burmese, or Eurasian, or to be politically correct, Asian-American. My wife is also brown.
I met her in exotic Bangkok in the most exotic place in Bangkok, the YMCA. At a square dance. I was teaching school and she was working for the United Nations.
We were married in New York in 1954 and have lived in the Washington area for almost 40 years (with two years out in Illinois and one year out in Syracuse, N.Y.).
We have found more people to be nice than nasty. Overwhelmingly so. I think Mr. Lee and his friends will, too.
My son, who looked Asian when he was little, was often asked in elementary school if he was Chinese, and his standard reply was, "No, I am an American."
Sure, there have been nasty phone calls, glares; the Klu Klux Klan in Illinois was a pain. In our early years in Washington, a lady in a crowded restaurant once said to me in a loud voice, "You are a disgrace to America!"
But all this is trivial compared to the warm reception we have received from most people.
Not to worry. Ignore, or try to ignore the ignorant and the unwashed. Mr. Lee's parents made the right decision to come to America, and in 40 years he will thank them for it.