Nonsensical transit plan for ArtscapeComing this weekend...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Nonsensical transit plan for Artscape

Coming this weekend is Artscape. This culturally diverse festival is one of Baltimore's finest and probably its largest.

It is a good opportunity to showcase the Mount Royal/Bolton Hill area that is often lost to Marylanders and tourists due to much heavier promotion of the Inner Harbor, Camden Yards and Fells Point.

Located on the light rail line and less than one quarter mile from the subway and Penn Station (although none connect), this festival could also be used to promote our very costly mass transit systems.

If you plan on using the subway, think again. Although subway trains run until midnight on Friday and Saturday, the State Center station (across Howard Street from the festival) closes at 8 p.m.

There is no plan to keep this convenient station open on these two evenings.

It seems ridiculous that we have a $1 billion subway system that will be in operation both evenings but will pass up a stop that could possibly generate hundreds, if not thousands, of customers.

Considering that these two evenings have major attractions and that a large quantity of alcohol will be consumed, you would think that the festival planners and the Mass Transit Administration would encourage use of the subway system along with the light rail.

How much would it cost to keep that one station open an additional four hours for two evenings a year?

If the subway is up and running, Marylanders should be able to use it. It just seems like common sense.

Tom Sunseri Jr.

Baltimore

American dream

I found utterly unbelievable and disgusting the July 1 letter from Bobby Thompson. He claims to have worked for the federal government, but I wonder on which planet he worked?

I worked more than his 25 years for the federal government. Through all those years it was well known among us employees that in pay scale we were falling farther and farther behind private industry.

Many years, as Mr. Thompson should remember, our presidents decided we should get no annual raise at all. Overpaid? Oh come now, Mr. Thompson, you can't be serious.

Many years ago the Civil Service Retirement System was born. That, no doubt, made the federal service, with its retirement plan, more attractive then than private employment which sent you into retirement with possibly a gold watch but probably nothing.

For most of its years, the federal government has offered job security. Mr. Thompson enjoyed it for 25 years, but now seems to bemoan because one can't ". . . get laid off, never get fired unless they kill their boss . . ."

Every job, federal or private, should have the American dream, job security. Perhaps Mr. Thompson is bitter because he couldn't get rid of one of his subordinates.

Harry E. Bennett Jr.

Baltimore

Local standards

For 48 years the families and merchants of Catonsville have supported their Fourth of July parade without the support from any level of government. It seems reasonable to me that if the community of Catonsville was opposed to the Celebration Committee administering the parade, they would withhold their support, thus ending the tradition.

I cannot speak for the community -- and neither can the gay-lesbian groups speak for all gays and lesbians -- but I believe that this is a community of common interest with strong family values and certain standards.

This community has chosen not to have in its parade a public display that it may feel is offensive, by its standards. The media have shown the demonstrations of gay-lesbians groups across the country, a lifestyle which many people find distasteful.

When viewing any show, whether it would be television, a movie or even a parade, people have a choice to watch or not to watch, according to their standards and what they want themselves and their children exposed to. Some may see this as narrow-minded or prejudiced, but a community has established these standards by deep-seated religious and moral beliefs.

If the editorial staff of the The Baltimore Sun deems that the gay-lesbian group's public behavior is acceptable by the newspaper's standards, then maybe the Sunpapers should establish a parade for this group.

There is a difference between a parade and a demonstration.

Tom O'Brien

Ellicott City

Museum access

As a handicapped person, I would like to comment on the charges against the Cloisters brought by handicapped persons.

I have a motorized cart which enables me to shop and to go to many places.

My husband and I have gone to many places -- historic and otherwise -- that were not always accessible to me. In those instances my husband would explore by himself.

I have learned to be satisfied with what I can do and not bemoan what I can't do.

If the handicapped advocates really want to be of service to the handicapped, they should be going after stores and malls.

Have you ever tried to maneuver a wheelchair through the double-door entrances?

Many people are helpful, but there are always one or two who let the doors shut in your face.

Ramps outside are not enough. Automatic doors would be a blessing, not only for the handicapped -- whether in chairs or on crutches -- but also for mothers with small children and the elderly.

Leave the Cloisters alone. Ramps or elevators would ruin the beauty of the place.

Frances C. Miller

Baltimore

Census nonsense

The dilemma faced by Walter Lindauer should show any thinking person just how outrageous and inane it is for our Census bureaucrats to insist that we classify ourselves by "race" ("Mixed-race Americans seek official identities," July 5).

Mr. Lindauer is described in the article as "a German-Russo-Romanian-Jewish-American" who is divorced from someone the article describes as "black."

He wonders how, in future years, his daughter will check herself off on the Census form and has joined those demanding the addition of a "multiracial" box.

Since I strongly believe that we are all members of one human race and that the "racial" categories listed on the Census forms are largely inventions, my solution to the dilemma faced by the Lindauers and people like them is for the government to simply remove entirely all such racial nonsense from its forms.

Kenneth A. Stevens

Savage

Owning a gun is a responsibility

I am writing in response to a July 8 letter from Dara F. Ryan of Baltimore, "Guns kill."

While I can admire and certainly encourage the compassion shown for both the victims and the perpetrators of violence committed with guns, I must argue the conclusion which blames the gun for the action taken by an individual.

The cases cited in support of this belief offered only sketchy detail and paragraph summaries of the circumstances surrounding each event. The events were all too familiar and ordinary in our world today.

Let us look at the root of the tragic events that claim young children's lives and cause others to be maimed each year in our country. The root is the owner of the firearm, not the firearm, as so many would make you believe today. Because of careless negligence on behalf of the owner, terrible tragedies can happen.

It is the owner who decides whether or not to store the gun in a safe place and where to keep the ammunition.

It is the owner who must teach any children in the household responsibility and integrity when the children reach an age at which "safe" keeping is no longer the only means to protect them from themselves. It is the basics of firearm handling that must be taught.

I remember as a small child being told to not point toy guns at anyone or anything.

If the gun isn't pointed at a six-year-old, it won't kill the six-year-old, and if it isn't pointed at the closet, the bullet won't go through the wall and injure someone. Basic lessons, inherent to any responsibility must be taught by the owner in the system we now have.

Owning a gun is a right which we have been afforded, but it is also a major responsibility. It is time that ownership of a gun be given the same attention that owning other property, such as homes and cars, has been given.

As a society, we do not seem to personify the actions of any other tool used to harm another human being. How many murders are committed by household weapons, such as knives and baseball bats?

Someone has to use the weapon and wish harm on someone in order for it to cause pain to another human being.

R. Gore Bolton

Towson

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