The Lucas art deserves home in the county
Since early in February 1995, the argument has raged here about the fate of the Lucas Collection, the strengths of which should be obvious to us all.
Now, even as the courts labor toward a final decision on the fate of that remarkable collection of European and American art, some questions occur to me, and so I ask the following:
* Since Baltimore County has lost both the Cloisters antiquities and the Villa Pace Museum, shouldn't Baltimore County make a bid to buy the Lucas Collection and house it in a museum of its own?
* If this were feasible, are there not many, many residents of Baltimore County who would be willing to make monetary contributions to that end, even at great personal sacrifice?
The Lucas Collection, in that manner, would indeed have left the City of Baltimore, only to be relocated at stone's throw away from its original home at the Maryland Institute, College of Art.
An urban county as large as Baltimore County (with over 700,000 residents) surely can afford to have at least one such venue for fine arts.
Let's open up a new discussion on the future of the Lucas Collection. Better yet, let's open up our wallets.
I was driving home to Philadelphia when I was involved in an automobile accident May 17 at St. Paul and Fayette streets.
I am writing to try to express my gratitude to several citizens of Baltimore and Towson who witnessed the accident and were very kind and considerate to me, a stranger.
It was a miserably rainy afternoon. One man sheltered me with his umbrella and copied the names and addresses of the people who offered to be witnesses for me.
These helpful people renewed my faith in humankind. Thanks, Baltimoreans.
Both taxes bad
The Sun can't see the forest for the trees. You have successfully framed the bottle tax/property tax reduction debate Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's terms.
It was not an either/or proposition. Baltimore can afford both without reducing essential police, fire or education services. Any independent cost-reduction consultant could prove that.
Also, stating that a measly five-cent reduction in property taxes won't reverse middle-class flight misses the point.
Everyone agrees that Baltimore's property tax rate is unreasonably high, and a five-cent reduction, more than being a flight reduction tool, is a necessary public gesture to show that the city's managers are fiscally responsible and are able to operate more effectively with less resources. (Ask the business world how this is possible.) The reductions have to occur, and a small cut is better than no cut.
Lastly, the editor's logic that implies that a bottle tax is somehow more unfair than an outrageous property tax rate. Horse hockey. Both "unfairly single out Baltimore residents." Remember, landlords pay the property tax and pass it on to "the state's poorest citizens."
And why hasn't anyone raised a ruckus over Baltimore's exorbitant water and sewerage taxes? These are roughly eight times higher than Baltimore County's. And the county uses city-owned pipes, reservoirs and pumps. Tell me that isn't another hidden tax burden.
They did run
In regard to the May 31 article ("Henson's resignation %J demanded") in which a Jewish organization (People Against Hate) experienced great anger at remarks by Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III regarding how Jewish people leave neighborhoods at the first "move-in" by 'Afro'-Americans, that group should look through Ashburton, which was formerly Jewish (they ran) and is now occupied by "Afro'-Americans.
Maybe Mr. Henson should have said it out of the hearing of the press. All black people know it and acknowledge it. Mr. Henson should not apologize, just drive them through Ashburton.
Gwendolyn B. Stewart
Silence the buses
I was awakened at 6 a.m. the other day by what sounded like General Patton and his Third Army rolling down Harwall Road in Catonsville.
To my surprise, it was not a column of Sherman tanks, but a lone MTA bus. It was so loud that my brick townhouse shook and the windows rattled.
Our cats ran for cover and my wife covered her head with a pillow. The runway at Baltimore-Washington International Airport would have been quieter.
I know that the MTA bus lines are a necessary evil, but why can't the buses be silenced?
The MTA just poured millions of dollars into the subway system, why can't some money be allocated to fix the noisy and smelly bus fleet?
Isn't there a law in Maryland regarding noise pollution? Please, either shut them up or shut them down.
It's the doctor
I read with interest the May 20 letter from Gunther Hirsch, "Doctor's Orders.' His point was well taken that "every person should have a basic physician to guide them in their health care.'
What he does not realize, however, is that the health maintenance organization serves as a basic family physician.
The HMO has not abandoned the concept of family doctor; it has elevated it.
The primary care physician orchestrates the patients' care in an HMO. The physician orders all referrals, receives notes from all specialists and is aware of all lab, X-ray and any other diagnostic tests ordered on the patient -- whether those tests were ordered by the primary care physician or by the specialist.
In the past, the family doctor could be completely left out of the loop if a patient chose to go to specialists on her own.
The patient could be taking excessive medication and having duplicate tests because there was not the excellent communication we now have in the HMO.
The MRIs and expensive tests that Mr. Hirsch alluded to are not ordered because the family physician is in an HMO (this certainly contradicts the theory that HMOs don't spend money on patients), but rather because technology is improved.
The human factor has not been lost, it is alive and well in our HMOs.