No joy or happiness after senseless murder
This is an answer to the June 3 Opinion Commentary column by Nathaniel Johnson Jr., a prisoner serving a sentence for armed robbery and attempted murder.
He calls it cheap politics and senseless to allow victims of crimes to be present at the guilty inmates' parole hearings. He feels it serves no purpose. The victims are only reminded of their grief and forced to relive it "like having to review a distressing old movie in weirdly colored detail."
Believe me, as the mother who has been through the horrible nightmare of a senseless murder, the pain and grief never go away. I cannot believe he could heartlessly compare it to watching an old movie.
As a family, we were competely devastated. I cannot begin to add up the money spent on doctors' bills and counseling to try to cope with the grief.
Our family was unique in every way, closely knit, musically inclined, filled with love and very happy to be together. But now, nobody feels much more like singing or smiling any more. It's like a huge metal door came down and locked us up in sorrow.
Constance M. Dewey
Policy change hurts the poor and homeless
As a social worker who deals with the homeless, I absolutely agreed with Lauren Siegel's June 3 Opinion Commentary article. We as a society are not doing enough to assist the homeless in finding housing.
The Baltimore City Housing Authority is now seeking to implement a policy to further this neglect of the city's poorest and most vulnerable residents. On July 1, Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III will end the practice of giving preference to those living in substandard housing, the homeless and those paying a large percentage of their income in rent. Instead, the Housing Authority will be giving preference to those TC city residents who are employed.
This new policy will be sure to increase the city's homeless population. If the administration's policy is to abandon this most vulnerable population, where will they find housing and who will step to the plate to create enough jobs?
Some federal workers can't get comp time
As the parent of four children of school age and younger, I have often wished for the opportunity to receive compensation time off for overtime worked.
I agree with the editorial (June 4) that workers should be given this option.
I feel you should be made aware of a misrepresentation in your editorial.
I have been a federal employee for 17 years. For the last 12 years, my position has included 250 or more hours of overtime per year (some of it forced).
At no time have I, or several hundreds of my wage-grade co-workers at the U.S. Coast Guard Yard, been given this option.
You do a disservice to the public as well as to my co-workers and myself when you erroneously state that this benefit is offered to "all federal workers."
Stephen D. Fleck
Parks are oases in gritty cities
I absolutely agree with Friends of Druid Hill Park's president Judy Morris and her disgust with the Department of Recreation and Park's move to open a crab house in Druid Hill Park (letter, May 12).
As an active member of Friends of Druid Hill Park in the 1980s, I witnessed numerous battles to preserve the beauty of Druid Hill Park.
There are similarities between Charlotte's 106-acre Freedom Park -- our city's largest -- and Baltimore's Druid Hill Park. The No. 1 problem in both parks is the costly intrusion of automobiles.
In Charlotte's case, the board of recreation and parks decided to simply dig up the main road that runs through the park. The board also eliminated dozens of parking spots to create baseball fields. Today, Freedom Park has more pedestrians, less car cruisers, less noise, less trash, more green space and plantings. The park costs a lot less to maintain because the heavy auto usage is extinct.
Parks should be developed and maintained as green oases within a gritty urban environment.
Keep the crab house idea for the tourists down at the harbor.
County Council urged to define tattoos
Baltimore County zoning regulations permit only those land uses defined or identified in the regulations. Tattoo shops are nowhere defined in the regulations. Thus such businesses are arguably not permitted anywhere in the county, a conclusion which is manifestly unconstitutional.
Tattooists have labeled their businesses as other identified land uses in an attempt to obtain zoning approval. Applications have been received, and denied, for tattoo shops as beauty salons or barber shops, for example.
The only approved application was for Gypsy's Tattoos, an establishment on Eastern Avenue in Essex. As your June 4 article points out, approval was granted in that case as a "residential art salon."
The proprietor persuasively argued that his shop was located within a structure used as an apartment and that his services were original works of art. A "residential art salon" is defined as "a portion of a dwelling unit used for the exhibition and sale of original works of art."
I urge the County Council to pass legislation defining tattoo shops and regulating in which zones and under what circumstances they may be approved.
Lawrence E. Schmidt
The writer is Baltimore County zoning commissioner.
Lawsuits could bedevil presidency
The Supreme Court decision in the Paula Jones case is more complex than many take it to be.
The decision was legally correct; nowhere does the Constitution indicate that the president is exempt from lawsuits or any other legal action. A unanimous decision was warranted, and as far as law is concerned, Ms. Jones' lawsuit should proceed.
But I question whether this is right for the country and the presidency.
The decision increases the likelihood that future presidents will face civil lawsuits, including frivolous ones, that distract them from their duties.
The best thing for our country would be for Ms. Jones to wait until President Clinton has completed his term, so that he could perform his duties as president with as few distractions as possible.
I fear for the future of the office.
Pub Date: 6/08/97