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Repeat the joy of Million Man MarchI...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Repeat the joy of Million Man March

I am an African-American male who lives in Baltimore and works in Washington.

Although I went to Washington that day by train, I chose not to attend the Million Man March. My reasons were political, religious, cultural and economic. I took considerable criticism from several friends and colleagues because of my decision.

However, the thing that has been most invigorating about the debate over the Million Man March is the ability of African-Americans to make personal choices yet accept differing points of view. . . .

On every train station platform that day, the mass of black maleness was ever present, and the jubilation rose higher and higher with each stop as we neared our Washington destination. As I journeyed to work via the Washington Metro, I saw many white persons who averted their eyes at the sight of me and other African-American males, or who studiously viewed their newspapers and crossword puzzles as if the true meaning of life was contained therein.

There was only the look of resignation and discomfort in the eyes of those who furtively glanced in my direction. On the job, there were smiles and excessive graciousness, as if I would summon my brothers from the mall if they failed to treat me with utmost deference and respect.

I see a need for African-American males (and females) to celebrate their accomplishments and bask in the joy of this day, and in our ability to affect our future.

I was joyous in seeing my African-American brothers in harmony, I see a need to replicate this joy and harmony in our homes, on our streets, on our jobs and in our souls.

James C. Morant

Baltimore

It's time for change

We, Republicans, could hardly have made a better case than Barry Rascovar did on Oct. 22 for not re-electing Mayor Kurt Schmoke.

All too often during these last eight years Mr. Schmoke's administration has been characterized either by dithering incompetence, when decisive leadership was called for, or, less frequently, by hastily cobbled together politically palatable policies which often proved ill-advised both in their formation and their execution.

What more evidence does the voter need than all the recent fiascoes. Mr. Schmoke has had more than enough chances to redeem himself. It's time for a change.

His temporizing on casino gambling, his ill-timed education suit against the state of Maryland and his unbelievable plans for resettling low-income families without consulting neighboring jurisdictions in advance are, unfortunately, merely recent instances which conform to an elongated eight-year-pattern that a new public relations image will hardly erase.

Our can-do candidate for mayor, Victor Clark, offers a refreshing contrast to the elitist, lawyerly Mr. Schmoke.

Although both are Afro-American, the similarity ends there. As a successful Poly graduate who worked at Bethlehem Steel while he earned an accounting degree from the University of Baltimore, Mr. Clark understands how important hard work and determination are to getting the job done, irrespective of how tough the job might be.

Dick Fairbanks

Baltimore

Poly principal's toughness praised

There is some hope for Baltimore City schools, if other principals follow Poly's example.

Recently, some 40 seniors were suspended from school for one day for cutting class after an assembly. What principal Ian Cohen demonstrated to these youths was that there are consequences for misbehavior. This fundamental educational principle is sorely lacking in many of the city's schools, and Superintendent Walter Amprey would do much to improve them if he demanded more of it.

As an alumnus of the school, I was proud to see that Poly isn't backing off from its commitment to discipline and making excuses for students -- we all know that's the last thing they need. Demand more and students rise to the occasion. Set low expectations and students will meet them 100 percent of the time.

Thank you, Mr. Cohen. The thousands of alumni who worked diligently to bring national recognition to Poly over the last half century fully support your efforts to maintain high behavior and academic standards. To expect anything less would be a tremendous disservice to former graduates' accomplishments.

I encourage all alumni who agree with his decision to call Poly and let him know.

Jim O'Toole

Baltimore

Does Will just like trashing liberals?

The elitist George Will takes space on your Oct. 12 Opinion * Commentary page to criticize the "liberal establishment." This time it is because the American Civil Liberties Union and many others opposed Colorado voters' attempt to prohibit protection for gays, using a state constitutional amendment.

Mr. Will asserts that when the state supreme court threw out the amendment they thwarted "popular sovereignty" of Coloradans. The amendment purported to nullify ordinances passed by Denver and other cities in Colorado prohibiting economic discrimination against gays. What about the sovereignty of the people of Denver and the other cities? Does Mr. Will also support that, or does he just like trashing liberals no matter whether your argument makes sense?

Philip L. Marcus

Ellicott City

Old benefit at expense of young

I am so tired of seeing elderly people complaining every time Congress tries to make sensible changes to save the long term solvency of Social Security and Medicare. The ones protesting any cuts have paid piddly taxes most of their lives and are now reaping huge benefits at the expense of the young. Even if substantial cuts were made immediately they would still be making out like bandits.

Due to increasing costs of medical care and life expectation Medicare is scheduled to go bankrupt in the year 2002.

Congress is trying to make sensible changes to preserve the long term integrity of the program. By introducing HMO options big savings will be made tough competitive market forces without sacrificing the quality or the individual expense of health care.

In any case the elderly should be thankful they got in early on the pyramid scheme. Mild changes should be made now rather than await catastrophe when the baby boomers retire.

While the elderly try to milk the system for all they can the young should be fighting for moderate cuts now lest Medicare and Social Security go bankrupt before they retire.

Michael Benuska

Baltimore

Overstating profits of video poker

In your story on gambling in Louisiana (Oct. 20) you fan controversy by imprecise financial language. The makers of video poker machines "expect profits of $540 million." In fact, this is a gross sales figure. Profit might be 5-15 percent of that number.

Of the 85-95 percent of the revenue stream which might be a reasonable estimate of the costs, a fairly large amount might well represent set-up, maintenance and licensing expenditures in the casinos' local economy.

Joel N. Morse

Baltimore

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