Americans must know more about MexicoEarly this...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Americans must know more about Mexico

Early this month, President Clinton paid homage to a memorial of the slain Mexican heroes at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City, the same memorial visited by President Harry Truman 50 years earlier.

One-hundred-fifty years ago, General Winfield Scott's troops stormed and captured the castle, which was defended by only six cadets, who chose to commit suicide rather than surrender to the Americans.

When President Truman visited, he placed a wreath on the Los Ninos (the babes) Monument and bowed his head in tribute. The Mexican cadets comprising the honor guard at the time openly wept.

To see an American president humble himself before a monument commemorating the lives of Mexicans slain by Americans was overwhelming to them.

Although Bill Clinton's visit to El Ninos was not nearly as historic or as symbolic as that of Harry Truman, the visit should remind us of our need to be mindful of Mexican history and tradition.

That we as a people know a great deal more about European history than we do about the history of our most immediate neighbor to the south is perhaps the best testament of all to our insecure southern border and the influx of contraband into our country.

Jamie Blount

Baltimore

Least Jay could do is gets facts right

Peter Jay, in his May 8 column on the now infamous Greenspring Valley "tree" case ("The topless towers of Towson"), ignored the facts and thus contributed to feeding the public's desire for inflammatory misinformation. What made Mr. Jay's errors so egregious was that in an editorial that same day ("Lawsuit lovely as a tree") the essential facts of this case were correctly elucidated.

This was not a case of a judge utilizing "wacky wisdom," it was a case of a judge doing his job as his oath required. This was not a case where some theoretical right to a view of a skyline was being advanced, it was a case of enforcing the neighborhood covenants of which all parties to the controversy were aware when they purchased their property.

One neighbor planted trees. The legal issue, as reported, was whether the trees were a "hedge" and, as such, violated community covenants. A jury (not Judge Alfred L. Brennan Sr.) decided the trees were a "hedge." An appeal was taken and three judges in Annapolis on the Court of Special Appeals agreed with the jury.

The case then returned to Judge Brennan, whose responsibility it was to see that the decision of the jury and the appellate court was enforced. Judge Brennan, who no doubt loves trees and natural beauty just as much as the rest of us, encouraged the parties to achieve a settlement. When they were unable to do so, he was left with no choice but to enforce the decision -- whether he liked what he was doing or not.

While I personally agree with your May 8 editorial that "most of would have amended our vision of paradise" and allowed the trees to stand, the plaintiff in this case was entitled to ensure that the bargain he made when he purchased his home would be fulfilled.

Mr. Jay, the farmer, probably would not have been so outraged had this case been about a neighbor of his who violated covenants that benefited Mr. Jay by erecting a local sewage treatment facility next door to Mr. Jay's farm.

Bruce A. Kaufman

Towson

Music training is key to school curriculum

I don't often write letters to the editor, but I feel compelled to do so about Glenn McNatt's May 4 column on music in the public school curriculum. He is right in every aspect of the argument.

I was raised in Europe and when I came to America was appalled by the attitude here of educators in regard to music. I am also stunned by the amount of time and money spent on athletics. All this because sports represent big bucks.

As far as the educational value goes -- well, let us look at the quality level of our greatest people: A large number are arrogant, almost illiterate and show a great deal of unbecoming behavior, both on and off their playing places.

How many classical concert pianists or violinists, on the other hand, curse their critics and spit in their faces publicly? (Or do drugs or illegal commerce?) Would it be fair to ask for a parent's voice in the decision of where to spend the time and money for school programs?

Pauline Vigeveno

Westminster

Baltimore intersection ideal for cameras

The picture in The Sun May 1 of an overturned Jeep Cherokee at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Fayette Street was dramatic. What the brief item did not report is that this intersection has been the site of at least four less photogenic, but more damaging, accidents of the same type. They all resulted in personal injury; one tossed a teenaged pedestrian 30 or 40 feet.

My office overlooks this intersection and I have become used to the sound of crashing vehicles and ambulance sirens. All the accidents are caused by speeding and running red lights. This is an ideal intersection to experiment with cameras to catch red light violators.

David A. Knapp

Baltimore

Pub Date: 5/14/97

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