Throwing money at a ball teamNov. 6...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Throwing money at a ball team

Nov. 6 will be remembered as the day "Baltimore got the ball back."

It certainly took great sums of money and got a lot of attention. A more worthy day to remember will be when all of that is turned toward education and crime prevention.

That will be remembered as the day "Baltimore scored a real touchdown."

Tom Wellein

Towson

Costs of drug war are unacceptable

Another horrible murder. A young husband and father killed while doing his job as a Maryland state trooper. What started out as a routine traffic stop turned out to be yet another fatality of an innocent victim in the never ending war on drugs.

One of these days we are going to have to come to our senses and straighten out our priorities. In this so-called war which we are losing badly, we have created conditions that have spawned a gigantic, vicious criminal enterprise reaching across national boundaries and social and economic classes, encompassing both the lowliest street dealer and the highest officials of some governments.

The cost of this war in dollars, billions per year, is staggering enough. But the price paid as a result of the various crimes needed to perpetuate the business, including the loss of lives, such as Trooper Edward A. Plank Jr., is unacceptable. And to what end?

Sig Seidenman

Owings Mills

Trial lawyers seeking truth

As a lawyer who has tried cases for more than 25 years, I offer a dissenting opinion to David Mason's (letter, Oct. 26) description of our adversary system of justice.

Court proceedings are not the equivalent of or a substitute for fist fights.

There is no excuse, rationale or justification for abusive or intimidating conduct by anyone involved in the judicial process -- judges, lawyers, court personnel or litigants.

Good trial lawyers use their skills to prove a witness' truthfulness, ability to accurately recall facts and inconsistencies recollection in an exercise that has proven over hundreds of years to reveal as much of the truth as possible regarding a particular set of facts or set of circumstances. Abuse and intimidation have long been discredited as a means to get at the truth.

The lawyer's job is to poke holes in his adversary's case -- not in his adversary.

Benjamin Rosenberg

Baltimore

Bicycles aren't bad for motorists

Vernon W. Robinson said in an Oct. 28 letter that bicycles should not be allowed on the roads in Maryland. He said "the most serious problem we motorists have to contend with today are the bicycles on the roads." Drunken drivers are a far more serious problem for motorists. For example, 45 percent of all traffic fatalities were alcohol related in 1992.

Mr. Robinson further said that when passing bicycles on narrow roads, the motorist is forced to cross the center line and, if caught, may be cited by the police. . . . Crossing a solid center line to pass a bicycle is no different than crossing a solid center line to pass another car -- both are transgressions of the law. Passing a bicycle or an automobile should only be attempted with a broken center line and no on-coming traffic.

Next, Mr. Robinson contended that, "If bikers continue to use the roads, they should be forced to register their bikes and pay taxes the same as we (motorists) do." . . . Mr. Robinson seems to think bikers pay fewer taxes. This is not the case. Bicycles do not pollute our air, they do not burn fossil fuels and they do not tear up the roads the same way automobiles do. One could argue that bicyclists deserve a tax break.

It is too bad Mr. Robinson disposed of his bike because I would like to show him some of the safe and beautiful bikes routes in Baltimore County. Maybe this would encourage him to be more open-minded and tolerant when sharing the road with bicyclists.

Chris Straight

Cockeysville

Stop gambling from running wild

TV-based home wagering is legal in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. To enjoy the convenience of this concept, a bettor has to buy a decoder and remote control. This allows a person to bet on the horses while relaxing in his living room.

At present, there are lotteries in 37 states and casinos in 23 states. Gambling is a $40-billion-a-year industry.

Gambling opportunities multiply as a result of over-dependency by local and state governments on its revenues. As this epidemic grows out of control the U.S. will turn into a giant casino.

Many of us enjoy betting as a form of amusement. However, this system will increase the number of hard-core gamblers.

Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., and Rep. Frank Wolf, R.-Va., are trying to find a way to prevent this problem from running wild. Let us hope and pray that they will save us before this disaster destroys the lives of a large portion of the population.

Joseph Lerner

Baltimore

Subsidized housing lacking upkeep, care

Your Oct. 13 front-page story "Public housing suit tentatively settled" would not be so much a matter of concern, if housing chief Daniel Henson, Mayor Kurt Schmoke and each of the Section 8 (absentee) landlords would agree to have at least one family move to a dwelling in their blocks.

Since "charity begins at home" and "what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," they should be willing to share in the "experience" others have had or are having with low-income Section 8 residents.

Add to this gesture of social engineering the people of the American Civil Liberties Union.

County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger is to be commended for voicing a concern for a constituency whose life savings are tied up in their homes and communities, which will be placed at considerable risk.

It is a pity that city administration officials do not share this concern.

The poor will always be with us and poverty is no crime or something to be ashamed of. Going back 75 or more years during the great migrations to this country from all over the world, we had people with only the clothes on their backs who moved into what was by every measure substandard housing at the time of their initial occupancy.

With a sense of pride and the belief that cleanliness is next to godliness, they fixed up the homes at great personal sacrifice.

Most of those homes in Canton, Highlandtown, Locust Point (to name a few locations) are still standing, in good condition with improvements along the way. Why? Those people cared. By the way, very few of them could even speak English.

The high-rises and two-story projects less than 50 years old have had to be repeatedly renovated because of the trashing received at the hands of occupants and not because of their aging.

Section 8 landlords don't really give a damn because they are getting their money, two-thirds of which comes from the taxpayers. Administration officials voice a concern akin to Pontius Pilate, anything but genuine.

The new City Council taking office in December should make addressing this problem a major priority because the future of Baltimore City is at stake.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

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