Sandtown changes do not end work
The transformation of Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood began as an ache and a hope in the heart of Jim Rouse more than six years ago. During his lifetime, Jim touched and reshaped Baltimore City in many ways, but the rebuilding of Sandtown-Winchester was, by his own admission, the most important work of his life. It was to this endeavor that he dedicated the last years of his life.
Jim believed ardently in the people of Sandtown and their ability to right what was wrong in their community. He spent many hours walking those streets, attending meetings and imbuing everyone he met with his "can do" spirit.
The Enterprise Foundation was behind Jim every step of the way, helping raise more than $14.8 million in local and national funding. These funds have been used to help create a new elementary school curriculum, provide teacher retraining, create a new health care consortium of five local providers, provide more than 1,000 new and renovated homes and help the resident-led Community Building in Partnership (CBP) fund and oversee many programs. Additional community organizing efforts have led to a 20 percent drop in violent crime.
There are many examples of progress but much more remains to be done. The recent change in Enterprise staff in Sandtown was carefully planned and an indication of progress and continuity. CBP is, as planned, assuming a larger role in the continuation of the Sandtown-Winchester program. Pat Costigan, Enterprise point person there, had planned his own personal transition before Jim Rouse became ill. He stayed on at our request and helped us select a successor.
We are delighted with the work that Ronica Houston has been doing at CBP where local residents are working hard on programs that will shape the future of their community. And we look forward to the arrival of Joan Thompson, who was selected following a national search, to head up our Neighborhood Transformation office in Baltimore.
F. Barton Harvey III
The writer is the chairman of the Enterprise Foundation.
Marine right of ways different from roads
Ginny Phillips' July 27 letter seems ironic in its message promoting safer boating habits, while at the same time displaying a lack of knowledge of marine right of ways.
She makes several statements that compare marine right of ways to being "the same as the rules of the road on I-95." If one can imagine I-95 being a huge expanse of asphalt stretching out in every direction, with cars, motorcycles, tractor trailers and bicycles traveling in all directions at different speeds, then it is clear that this analogy does not hold water.
The Inland Navigation Rules are written so that any given vessel in any situation will either be "burdened" or "stand on." The pecking order for this design places power-driven boats at the very bottom, since they have greater control and maneuverability.
Sailboats operate at speeds that are generally in the range of 6 to 8 knots, and are susceptible to wind shifts and sudden loss of power (wind). At the same time, there are situations in which a vessel under sail must yield to a power-driven vessel. The true menace on the waterways are boat operators who do not have adequate training and understanding of these rules.
Sailors do not raise their sails merely to achieve the right of way. If a sailboat is under auxiliary power, then it must follow the same rules as any power-driven vessel, sails or no sails. A sailor will often "motor-sail" with the mainsail up to achieve greater speed and to add stability in choppy seas. This is quite common and also quite legal.
Ms. Phillips continues her essay on the victimization of power boaters by placing the blame of a recent accident on the marine police. As I have personally witnessed dangerous situations created by inept or downright drunken power-boaters and jet skiers traveling at incredible speeds, I would have to say that the priorities of the marine police are right on target.
Workers lose when stock market falls
Ted Rall's Opinion Commentary article (Aug. 1) neglected to consider the vast stock portfolio held by workers through their defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans.
He says that financial intermediaries hold 80 percent of traded equities, and that only a few workers have 401(k)-type plans which participate in this equity exposure.
In fact, these large financial institutions exist simply to service the aggregated needs of the average investor. They are pass-through devices. Thus, everyone is hurt by a fall in the market.
He claims that 20 percent of Americans report earnings of $5,814 per year. Again, he is needlessly inflammatory, because he neglects to estimate the vast cash flows of the underground economy.
Finally, it is not consistent to compare total assets of his 358 billionaires with the annual income of a set of countries. By this measure, the billionaires' income seems rather paltry.
But more importantly, this group of investors spends only a tiny fraction of its wealth. The rest is reinvested in plant, equipment and research, which is exactly what is needed to improve the income of the rest of us.
As we learned in church, it is both childish and pointless to base your life and your publications on jealousy.
Joel N. Morse
Symphony players' sacrifices praised
Musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra are to be congratulated on the signing of a new contract. They also deserve the gratitude of area citizens for performing the last 10 1/2 months without a contract.
Their new contract calls for reduced pay for most members for the next season and only a return to the current base in the 1997-98 season. It is regrettable that a world-class organization has to make such sacrifices.
In spite of the members' obvious reluctance to accept such circumstances, they are quoted in the Aug. 4 Sunday Sun as being willing to do so in order to continue to "make music" as is their wont.
Such dedication is rare in these days of multi-million dollar contracts for unproven athletes (many with an attitude) and no-talent "popular entertainers."
All Baltimore owes them their loyal support. They are better than major league, and even world-class does not seem to do them justice.
Government cuts threaten services
It is so gratifying to learn of others who share one's views and support one's causes. I am referring to the letter from C. L. Norris suggesting that lottery proceeds be used to finance schools and senior centers.
The governor and our state legislators abolished 100 percent of the state funding of senior centers during the last session. Half of that money had come to centers in Baltimore City.
City senior center directors mobilized and lobbied through the political structure to no avail. The cuts were a "done deal."
Some faith in our democratic system could be restored as well as some vitally needed funds by designating just a few days of lottery profits for senior centers.
And now the city plans to discontinue the distribution of federal funds from the Older Americans Act to the eight non-profit senior centers, starting in 1998. This is our major source of income.
Who will help us reteach government leaders that they have responsibilities, including a fiscal responsibility, to the youngest and the oldest of their constituents?
Diane M. Hood
The writer is director of Senior Network of North Baltimore.
Pub Date: 8/11/96