Don't Destroy ItIt's a sad day when...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Don't Destroy It

It's a sad day when another Catholic symbol is destroyed in the name of restoration. That is what we see in the case of the 1850 monastery in Cumberland.

The lack of concern and caring for a building that has played a leading role in the Catholic religion and heritage in Cumberland continues to be a surprise. The whole Catholic community should be upset -- locally and statewide.

The weak excuse that there are no alternatives is very poor. There have been many suggestions, but they have always been given a negative reply by the priest.

The whole talk of destruction under the guise of restoration sounds like the Catholic church is failing or declining in the area, maybe even in Maryland.

Planning the destruction of the monastery, as indicated by the priest, should not overshadow the urgent need for the heating system for the parish school.

The priorities should be for the children's safety and comfort, not the demolition of a monastery that has served so well all these years.

All Catholics and Christians should unite to save and cherish this gem in the crown of Cumberland.

Melvin W. Collins

Cumberland

Labeling People

As a member of the Cathedral parish and the Rev. Heinrich J. Losemann's sister, I wish to thank you for printing the rebuttals to both your June 21 article, "Jew complains to cardinal" and your June 25 editorial, "Lessons Still to be Learned."

To further clarify what actually took place at Father Losemann's Mass, which my husband and I both attended, I remember quite distinctly that he stated the following, quoting from the Gospel of John: "The apostles were hiding in a locked room 'for fear of the Jews' (the ones who killed Jesus)."

From the inflection given "the ones who killed Jesus," Father Losemann's emphasis was very clear: that the apostles were not afraid of all the Jews in general.

While I appreciate your printing the letters in support of Father Losemann, I hope that The Sun and your reporter would exercise greater discretion in the future before labeling such a decent person as my brother with the hateful term "anti-Semitic."

It has caused both myself and my family great distress.

Erica D'Alesandro

Baltimore

Closer to God

I am astounded how The Sun could find fault with any gathering such as the "Promise Keepers" event held at RFK Stadium May 27 and 28. What we need is more events like that -- and fewer liberals criticizing something they don't understand.

Your June 25 article -- an entire month after the event -- portrays the organizers and founder of Promise Keepers as anti-homosexual and anti-feminist, not to mention politically incorrect. It proves your writer had completely misunderstood the event.

Men have fallen short in our society. We have shrugged off much of our responsibilities and left them to overburdened family members or state programs. We have set records for drug abuse and alcoholism. We have bought into all kinds of liberal ideas like "sex education works." Or "just a condom" or "abortion is birth control."

These are among many of the shortcomings (do I dare say "sins"?) that men are guilty of. At Promise Keepers, men, without pressure of judgment, are able to come forth and get honest with people who have "walked a mile in their shoes."

Promise Keepers is not a political party. Nobody I met or went there with had a political agenda.

The sole purpose is to help each other to come closer to God, so that we may become part of the solution in our society, rather than part of the problem.

Mark Perrego

Baltimore

Baltimore's Loss

Your July 1 editorial, "'Loyalty Instead of Competence," was excellent.

Having worked with Al Barry, first as a community official and later as a member of the planning commission, I can personally attest to his dedication and thoroughness in the pursuit of his responsibilities, working toward what is best for Baltimore.

This certainly was recognized by the Planning Department and enabled him to climb to the position of assistant director.

His 23 years of devoted service goes down the drain now as the Schmoke/Gibson team continues in its pursuit of "ethnic cleansing," a factor your editorial omitted. Politics was only half of the equation in this move.

Al Barry's loss of his job is also a loss for Baltimore.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Alternative

There is an alternative for good-music lovers lamenting the demise of the classical music format on WJHU-FM who are critical of WBJC-FM's programming.

For listeners with a quality FM radio, WGMS-FM (103.5) in Bethesda has an all-classical music format, featuring a variety of music that would please even the most discerning listener. Its announcers are professional, seeming to really know their music.

The only distractions are the commercials. Even these, for the most part, are in good taste and in a manner that would not be annoying.

I have been a listener of WGMS for many years. The number of commercials would indicate that this is one classical good-music station that will be around for a long time.

It would be nice if its transmitters were also directed to the Baltimore area to insure that all FM radios around here would be able to receive its broadcasts without static.

Morris Grossman

Baltimore

AFSCME Paid for That Impact Study

Oh, now I get it. Yes, now I understand the way the news game is played.

Let's say you're a big public employee labor union with a name that sounds pure Democratic Party -- the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) -- and, of course, you're dismayed at the public clamor for less government.

Less government means less money for your members and fewer of them. But if you argue your case on your own, you'll look like another whining special interest group addicted to the public teat.

So you hire a consultant firm to do a study about the impact of balanced budgets and spending cuts. And whaddya know, the study concludes that an economic calamity just shy of the Great Depression is due if the government's budget comes to balance.

. . . So you announce the shocking findings through a press release, knowing that big-city newspapers will rise to the bait. Arrangements are made to have a third party issue the press release, and your fingerprints are nowhere apparent.

Now let's say you're an economics reporter at The Baltimore Sun. The press release comes across your desk and invites you to call the expert economic consultant, the WEFA Group, to get the straight scoop.

You call WEFA and interview the guy who headed up the study, and they send you a copy. Then you pound out an article which appears on the front page, top left, of the June 28 morning edition under the provocative title "Deficit cuts would hit state hard."

In the article, you tell the reader that the study says Maryland will lose 100,000 jobs, and the country will lose between 3 million and 4 million, all the result of balancing the government's budget with spending cuts or reductions.

You throw in supporting quotes from another economist you happen to know, . . . plus a big honcho from the state government's Office of Economic Development.

Then you spice up the piece with words like "slash" and "take the hit" and "pummeled" to really drive the horror of it all home to the reader. But there's one little fact your article doesn't tell the reader -- the study that predicts a huge economic downside from

spending less public money was commissioned and funded by public employees.

Fancy that. When The Sun reporter who wrote the piece was reached by this writer for comment, he said he wasn't aware that AFSCME was behind the study. When I told him that Ross DeVol of WEFA had said that AFSCME funded the study, he said he was surprised.

When I asked him if he had asked Mr. DeVol who had funded or commissioned the report, he said he had not. When I asked if he would have reported, had he known, that a group with a financial stake in the public's acceptance of the study was the source of its funding, he said yes.

Now I get it. Now I understand. Even if someone goes behind a reporter and checks up on his work, and even if his newspaper prints a letter like this, many fewer people will read the letter than will read the front page article . . .

But I do know that AFSCME -- that behemoth of Democratic Party power -- sits somewhere grinning like a cat with a canary in its belly.

David Dows

Columbia

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