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Issues of the black men's march in...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Issues of the black men's march in D.C.

I respect the inherent right of columnist Gregory Kane to take legitimate issue with both the concept and leadership of the Million Man March (as articulated in the Oct. 11 Sun).

On the other hand, I question both the wisdom and good taste of his decision to resort to barnyard epithets in detailing his disenchantment with Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Rev. Benjamin Chavis, originators of the project.

It's beyond debate that the public record of the performance of both of these men is a far cry from perfection. I suspect the same is true of columnist Kane.

It is reasonable, I think, for us to expect Mr. Kane, or any other responsible columnist, to observe the rules of civilized debate while engaged in legitimate public dialogue.

For the record, I'm persuaded that the march, and the purpose that drives it, are bigger than Minister Farrakhan, the Rev. Mr. Chavis, Mr. Kane and all other critics.

Even the remote possibility that the march will help to enhance the unity of black men compels me to participate.

George W. Collins

Baltimore

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Gregory Kane's column of Oct. 11 should be made mandatory reading in our schools. Seldom do we see a writer who has the heart to tackle such a controversial topic head-on as he has done.

Mr. Kane understands that crime is not a black issue or a white issue. It is a crime issue. Reasonable people of good will, both black and white, understand this as well.

We want criminals locked up, not because they are black or white, but because they pose a risk to the safety and well-being of all law-abiding people.

Men such as Ben Chavis and Louis Farrakhan make fortunes stirring hatred and resentment, making every issue black and white. As long as people of their ilk are around, both black and white, racism and poverty will remain industries for racists to profit from.

Instead of helping their constituency, they keep them feeling victimized. They don't want understanding; that would lose them their jobs.

$Stanley J. Stryjewski Jr.

Bel Air

Senior citizens home furor in Catonsville

After reading the article headlined "Senior home elicits community contention" in the Oct. 2 paper, I was appalled. What is this world coming to, when senior citizens are not wanted in the community?

It must be especially heartwarming to the parents of Kirby Spencer, president of the Old Catonsville Neighborhood Association, to know of his feelings about old people.

With criminals running rampant, killers out on work release, the criminal justice system in need of reform, the residents of Catonsville are worried about too many senior citizens in their midst?

Horrors of horrors, one old person was actually seen walking the streets! I think they need to get their priorities straight.

Frances W. Jordan

Pikesville

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I feel compelled to write to correct the impression left by your Oct. 2 article on senior assisted-living in Catonsville.

Unfortunately, our community was portrayed as a group of Not In My Backyard naysayers interested only in keeping the elderly out of our neighborhood.

In fact, our concerns have always centered primarily on ensuring that the owners of the facility featured in the article -- Our House -- comply with the regulations in place to protect the institution's residents and its neighbors.

When our neighborhood association pressed these issues in a public meeting, we verified that this facility currently exceeds the maximum number of people permitted under its license and did not have in place the fire and safety measures required by law.

As a result of voicing our concerns, the owners are now applying for a license for a senior assisted-living facility, which will require the sprinkler system and the quarterly health and safety inspections we have always felt were crucial.

In this meeting we also raised the issue of how many of these businesses any neighborhood can adequately absorb.

Catonsville has many nursing homes, domiciliary care homes and other types of elderly housing units in its midst. Senior citizens are our neighbors, our friends and valuable members of our neighborhood association.

We only object when the owners of these facilities ignore the laws and regulations designed to protect us all.

Chris Brennan

Catonsville

Cooking the books with ketchup

Washington is now considering tinkering with the cost of living index (downward, of course), to help balance the budget.

They claim, among other things, that it does not account for factors such as changes in habits. An example is given: "If the cost of beef rises, more people eat chicken," thus lowering the index.

This approach to calculating the cost of living index is known as the ketchup-is-a-vegetable method.

Sanford Hershfield

Glenarm

George Will's twisted argument

George Will's Oct. 12 "Another supreme defeat for the liberal establishment" is full of misconceptions and half-truths.

Amendment 2, passed by the "good" people of Colorado, essentially repeals the rights of gay people to seek any redress for discrimination, and nullifies protections passed by the cities of Denver, Boulder and Aspen. It is no wonder that a federal judge first ruled it unconstitutional, as did the Colorado Supreme Court. The law's constitutionality is being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Will claims that homosexuals are seeking "special rights." The right to hold a job, live where you choose and equal acceptance in public accommodations are not special rights. These are basic human rights that ought to be available to all Americans. Yet we know they aren't always. Amendment 2 says it's OK to discriminate against homosexuals only. Can the good people of Colorado also decide that they've had enough of protections for African Americans? How about Jews or Muslims?

Mr. Will has twisted his argument to make us believe that the Colorado Supreme Court has turned the Bill of Rights on its head and created some new legal caveat. In fact, the court has rightly protected the ability of minorities, however unpopular, to have equal address to the system.

If the U.S. Supreme Court does not uphold this viewpoint it will be a frightening day for any minority. It is not just homosexuals who have a great stake in how this ruling goes, but anyone who fears that the majority population might infringe on the minority population if given a referendum to allow it to do so. Hate does not deserve to be protected through popular referendum.

Thomas L. Ditty III

Baltimore

Man has lost nature's rhythm

Tom Horton's Oct. 6 column should be required reading for every human occupant of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Bay -- and our larger environment -- will become healthy again when lifestyles evolve to include "untrammeled time" when "pattern and form, ritual and rhythm" become more important than gross national product, O.J. and The Streak.

The natural rhythm of the earth and all its inhabitants is perfect. Only one creature -- homo sapiens -- is out of sync.

Listen to the wisdom of Mr. Horton. He defines heron-time and human-time and begs that we each attempt to better understand nature's natural rhythms in order to "repattern our experience of time."

L But is there time to save the Bay? Yes, it's called "today."

Kirk S. Nevin

White Hall

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