The Freshness of Spring
Ah, springtime! A time to turn off the heat and open the windows. A time for gentle breezes, the sweet smell of freshly mowed grass and a pleasant aroma of flowers.
This is just a fading memory now when I open a window. Along with polluted air comes the sickening odor of garbage, which is only picked up once a week.
Not only is this a health hazard, but it also adds to the pollution. Nice going, Baltimore County!
If the state environmental protection bureaucracy can set recycling standards upon a county, why aren't there recycling trucks? They are used with great success in other areas, and smelly garbage is still picked up twice weekly.
If something is worth doing, it's worth doing right.
Don't Talk About It
The last several days I have seen America, Maryland and Baltimore at their best and at their worst.
Recently I had the opportunity to watch as the medical team at Johns Hopkins worked together to provide first-rate care at the out-patient treatment center.
I never gave it a single thought that this team included blacks, whites, Asians, Jews and everyone else that makes up the tapestry of life in our metropolitan area. Every face I saw showed concern for the patient and a desire to be helpful. This was clearly our society at its best.
Unfortunately, this wasn't to last. No, I had no problems with people. I made the mistake of turning on the radio of the car as I drove home. The news was filled with the racial backbiting surrounding the Olesker-Henson embroglio.
That Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson can blame the current problems of Lower Park Heights Avenue on events of 30 years ago is mind-boggling.
That Michael Olesker found it necessary to devote a full column to a racial slight is boring.
That Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke would defend the conversation as spirited is frustrating. This was America at its worst.
I may be a dreamer, but I much prefer the scenario I experienced in the everyday working America of Johns Hopkins to the foolishness I heard coming from our political leaders and media mavens.
I, for one, am tired of racial politics. This is the 1990s and, yes, racism still exists. However, racism is not the cause of the major problems facing our society and should not be the focus of every public discussion.
Edward R. Levy
Robert Dole, the Republican presidential candidate, recently attacked Hollywood film makers for their blatant disregard of family values.
While he views any form of censorship as unconstitutional, Mr. Dole shames those producers "who cultivate moral confusion for profit." He encourages producers to "shoulder their responsibility" to promote family values rather than "mindless violence" and "loveless sex."
Whose responsibility is the development of ideals and morals for today's youth, the producers' or the parents'?
Due to the state of the economy, parents are forced to work longer hours, thus sacrificing important family time. Day-care facilities and latchkey children are encouraged to watch television in order to entertain themselves.
The American culture is losing its character as a nation not because of the producers but because of the lack of family stability and a strong educational system. Graphic movies have always been produced, but the audience has slowly expanded.
It is impossible to solve the age-old problem of explicit scenes or lyrics by attacking any of the producers, actors or salespersons.
The deterioration of the American culture goes beyond the contents of film to a question of the importance of family in our society.
Mr. Dole should concentrate more on the economy and the education system to rebuild a more stable community than on the entertainment business.
This is in response to Michael Gisriel's June 4 Real Estate Mailbag column in which he recommended that the elderly plan early to "protect their assets" by giving money and real estate to their children in order to qualify for Medicare.
This unethical, but legal, transfer of assets to family members is exactly why Medicare spending is out of control. Medicare was never intended to protect the inheritance of the wealthy.
Rather than rail against the pittance the poor receive, Congress should curtail the welfare to the rich. Let them begin with Medicare eligibility.
Alice P. Williams
Kudos go out to everyone working to promote the Inner Harbor.
I have noticed on the past few Saturdays, when I have gone to XTC volunteer at the National Aquarium, that downtown Baltimore is a wonderfully festive place to visit.
The outdoor entertainment, something that is almost an institution in Baltimore City, is always lively, drawing tremendous crowds. On the whole, the merchants in the Gallery and other shops are extremely friendly and make it easier to spend a fortune on lunch.
What impressed me the most, however, was the calendar of events for 1995. Charity races, hot-air balloon rides and even a jazz festival insure that visitors to Charm City and Baltimore natives will not have to look far for weekend plans.
Whether they have large families or are swinging singles, all Marylanders should be encouraged to pay a visit to downtown Baltimore. With the light rail, parking doesn't even have to be a difficulty.
We live in a great town and should take advantage of everything planned for the next few months -- especially when it is free.
The NRA Is a Fine Organization, Not a Menace
Joseph Lerner, author of the letter "NRA a Menace" (May 31), is unjustified and obviously unclear in his harsh criticism of the National Rifle Association and its members.
Mr. Lerner states that the NRA "convinces its members that law enforcement officials are trying to take away our constitutional rights, break down our doors, seize our guns and destroy our lives and property.'
As a member of the NRA I am not convinced of any of the paranoid statements made by NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
In fact Mr. LaPierre was making a generalized comment about law enforcement personnel based on the tragic outcome of the federal assault on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas. These statements have been taken out of context by the anti-gun media and used to foster a negative image of NRA members in an effort to take advantage of the ignorance of the general public on the issue of gun control.
Joseph Lerner has no right to stereotype the 3 million members )) of the NRA with his emotionally pitiful rhetoric.
Wayne LaPierre realized his mistake after he was made aware of the dissatisfaction voiced by many members of NRA. The anti-law enforcement comments were not a reflection of the entire establishment.
Most members of the NRA are dedicated sportsmen and responsible gun owners. The majority of members have joined ** the NRA because of the excellent programs it offers to shooters.
Courses on firearms safety, proper handling of weapons and various certified pistol programs all stress proper and responsible ownership of firearms to its members.
Instead of branding the NRA as a para-military organization, the media and public should get all of the facts before they make unfounded assumptions based on the statements of one individual.
We are not a clandestine group of paranoid white men; we are average men and women who choose and accept the responsibility of gun ownership.
Nicholas A. Frankos
Joseph Lerner's attack on the NRA demonstrates that at least the NRA is getting the message out.
Unfortunately, the mainstream press has failed to properly present the facts concerning actions taken by the rogue federal agents the NRA described as "jack-booted thugs." The NRA has done a tremendous service to our country and our Constitution by describing how our government has been eroding the rights of the citizens.
If the mainstream media (i.e., newspapers and television) adequately reported the reality of Ruby Ridge, Randy Weaver and the resulting court trial, as well as Waco and David Koresh, we would all be calling certain rogue federal agents "jack-booted thugs" and demanding that they be punished for their actions.
The NRA, with its 3.5 million members, is doing a great job of educating the citizens of our country that there is still a Constitution that describes our rights, and even our governments agents are required by law to obey it.
Joseph E. Snodgrass
Joseph Lerner's derogatory remark about the National Rifle Association is absurd. The NRA is certainly not a menace as Mr. Lerner espouses.
He believes it's a menace because it's a zealous group. Obviously, his statement is vague enough to apply to most formally organized groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Association of Retired Persons, Greenpeace, Congress, the Democratic Party, etc.
No doubt many people disagree with these groups as well. Would Lerner agree with those opponents in calling such groups a menace? Perhaps he and many who share his views have some emotional pejorative that is simply anti-gun ownership.
The only thing the NRA can be accused of being zealous about is firearms training and safety.
Arguably, if all gun owners, those interested in gun ownership and many of those who aren't, were active NRA members, needless deaths and many more injuries from firearms would drop dramatically; especially those attributed to accidents.
Advocates of firearms safety and the regular use of one's firearms so as to maintain proficiency should be heralded.
We should all adopt the proper use of firearms as exemplified by the NRA, whether or not one is a member of that fine organization.
Richard L. Saffery