Tommy D'Alesandro was Baltimore's first modern mayor
To add a slight nuance to my comments linking the riots of April 1968 to Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro III's decision to leave office after his first term ("At peace in quiet," The Sun, April 4), I believe, from the perspective of 30 years removed, that the upheaval of that spring affected us far beyond anything we understood at the time and perhaps do not fully understand to this day.
The riots per se were not the proximate cause of the mayor's decision not to run again. Many factors went into his decision. In my view, the rioting stood at the heart of everything the D'Alesandro administration accomplished, attempted and failed to do in trying to govern the city at a critical time. The civil disturbance was the culmination of the brutal pressures building on the city's streets and neighborhoods for years, as well as the launching pad for extraordinary initiatives by city government under the leadership of a young and dynamic mayor.
Richard O'Mara's fine piece on the former mayor has been long overdue. Tommy D'Alesandro was Baltimore's first modern mayor. He not only presided over its emergence as the Renaissance City it is today, but he also gave it unmatched leadership. Much of what other mayors get credit for began in those tumultuous four years, from urban design and labor law reform to streamlined governmental administration and the flowering of the vital alliance between the city and the Greater Baltimore Committee.
The riots might have left a permanent blight on the city. They did not, because a can-do spirit emerged, enabling succeeding mayors, administrators, city councils and an aroused citizenry to overcome formidable obstacles. That, not the memory of the riots, is Tommy D'Alesandro's legacy, and it shines brightly today long after the fires of April 1968 burned out.
John W. Eddinger
The writer, now director of corporate communications, Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc., was press secretary for Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro III.
Use Wyndham subsidies to lure conventions here
I am appalled by the way the Wyndham hotel is being rammed down the taxpayers' budgetary throat. I thought the goal of having a new hotel was to promote and fill the expanded convention center, not to drive existing hotels out of business.
If Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and the City Council's motives are as pure as they profess to be, then I have a suggestion that should guarantee a fully booked Convention Center from 2000 to 2008 and maybe beyond.
It seems obvious to the entire world except the blind mice running the city that the Grand Hyatt proposal makes the most sense for the Convention Center. If they doubt this hotel will fill the Convention Center, I have news for them.
Apparently the city has a spare $37 million to build anything it wants. Instead of building an extra hotel why not funnel that money into the advertising and marketing budget of the convention center over the next six to 10 years?
I am not a city resident. But my money was used to build the convention center and is used to subsidize the city on a yearly basis. This issue involves every Marylander who watches helplessly as their investment is wasted by the mayor of the city.
Peace in Ireland would merit Nobel
Should an enduring peace finally emerge from the recent intensive and critical meetings between England and Ireland to stop the blood-letting between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, a heroic man with the wisdom of Solomon deserves to be crowned this year with the Nobel Peace Prize -- George Mitchell.
Church had a role in Nazi anti-Semitism
Congratulations to Professor James F. LaCroce of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland for his Opinion Commentary analysis of the root cause of anti-Semitism ("On this Good Friday, let's hear Christ's message to forgive," April 10). It took a great deal of analysis and courage to say what he did. To be forgiven, you must feel the deep-rooted need to be forgiven; this need comes from individual and collective acknowledgment, embarrassment and shame to ensure the learning experience of yesteryear.
It is important to remember that the infamous Nazis did not just spring up from nothing. These Nazis, who were so out of control in their hatreds, were born into Christian dogma and psyche and when they died, they were buried under the sign of the cross, never the swastika.
Christians of conscience must look into the mirrored reflection of themselves within the context of church teachings (not Christ's teachings because Christ did not teach hatred) and through the eyes of the countless victims of Christian anti-Semitism through the centuries. Only then can forgiveness be in order.
Bravo for success of Children's Chorus
Congratulations to the talented children and dedicated teachers of the Children's Chorus of Maryland for their recent performance at Carnegie Hall (April 11).
In a world where we frequently hear of the troubles and misfortunes of children, it is inspiring to know that children's hard work and talent can lead to accomplishment and distinguished recognition.
Michael J. Mauro
Ballpark concession prices are not out of line
I always thought one of the cardinal sins of journalism was to rely on the cliche. And yet, The Sun seems to persist in repeating, in one form or another, the tired canard that Baltimore baseball fans are being subjected to outrageous prices.
Recent surveys show that our prices compare very favorably to other entertainment venues. The average ticket price at Camden Yards is less than half that for fans choosing to attend Ravens, Capitals or Wizards games. Our concession prices are below the national average for professional sports venues and that of local sports franchises. In addition, our prices are in line with those of other entertainment options. Have you seen what a small bag of popcorn and a drink cost at many first-run movie theaters?
While The Sun persists in beating a dead cliche, baseball fans are turning out in record numbers. We are already well beyond last year in ticket sales with more than 3,2 million tickets sold as of Opening Day (an increase of more than 200,000 tickets from this point last year). The 1998 Orioles are a championship-caliber ballclub that will draw nearly 2 million more fans than 1983's World Championship team, and more than 2.5 million more fans than the 1966 and 1971 World Champion ballclubs.
Let us also remember that the Orioles are not the only ones to whom these revenues go. Substantial parts of the revenue go to the city and state. Part of each dollar spent at Camden Yards goes toward rent payments to the Maryland Stadium Authority and admissions tax paid to the state of Maryland. This will amount to approximately $15 million this year.
The fans seems to realize what The Sun does not -- concessions and tickets are a part of the necessary revenues we need to place a highly competitive team on the field. All available revenues are being put back into the team with the owners of the Orioles not taking one penny of profit.
Joseph E. Foss
The writer is vice chairman and chief operating officer of the Baltimore Orioles.
A fair fee for Angelos from tobacco settlement
I am writing this letter in response to the April 12 article "Angelos rejects bid to cut fee," concerning the tobacco settlement and the fee paid to attorney Peter Angelos. I must voice my strong opposition to the state of Maryland's reduction of the amount it agreed to pay Mr. Angelos for his work on behalf of the people suffering the ills of tobacco addiction.
I think that a fee of 25 percent is too modest and if the state is going to alter its compensation to Mr. Angelos, it should be raised, not lowered.
With victory at hand, now is no time to cheapen the value of his contribution. I am of the opinion his fee should be raised to 50 percent or even 75 percent of the settlement. With the extra $1 billion or $2 billion of the projected $4 billion settlement, Mr. Angelos would be able to make a profit and a decent return on his investment of time and money.
We all know how difficult it is to get by today. He could possibly get rid of some debt, start turning a modest profit on some of his other business ventures and sleep a bit better at night.
Pub Date: 4/19/98