Wyndham Hotel will draw large crowds to...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Wyndham Hotel will draw large crowds to waterfront

When Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that "every great and commanding moment in the annals of the world is the triumph of some enthusiasm," he could have been describing last week's groundbreaking for the new Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel.

This event, which drew more than 300 people, celebrated the collective enthusiasm and vision of this city and its leaders which, in just two short years, will produce one of the finest convention and business hotels in the country.

We at Patriot American Hospitality Inc. and Wyndham International share the excitement that was so palpable at last week's ceremony and commend the city and its leaders as well as our partners, H & S Properties, Stormont Trice, H. J. Russell, Armada Hoffler, Cooper Carry and Beatty Harvay Fillat for their dedication to creating greater opportunity for Baltimore, its families and its businesses.

This opportunity will take the shape of a 750-room, four-star waterfront hotel that will create nearly 2,000 jobs, increase convention business, bring more visitors to area businesses and promote the continued restoration of the Fells Point and Little Italy neighborhoods.

And with our new European reservations systems, we at Wyndham are excited to put Baltimore on the global map as a leading business and leisure destination.

The site's proximity to the Baltimore Convention Center, the allure of a waterfront location and a spectacularly designed hotel will create magnetic appeal for business and leisure travelers alike.

We are confident that our hotel will draw millions of visitors around the waterfront, creating an active hub around which the city will grow economically.

We understand the magnitude of the expectations for the Inner Harbor East development and will take great pride in meeting and surpassing them.

James D. Carreker

Dallas

The writer is chairman and chief executive officer of Wyndham International Inc.

Mixing guns with religion shows absurdity of the NRA

If there are two things for which the National Rifle Association deserves credit, they have to be tenacity and daring.

Since its inception, the NRA has maintained its right to delete part of the Second Amendment to accommodate its self-interests merely on NRA authority. Now, more than 120 years later and in spite of U.S. Supreme Court decisions to the contrary, it remains undaunted in its stance.

And in response to the public outcry from children shooting children in schools across the nation with increasing regularity, the NRA asserts that not only the U.S. Constitution, but God himself, supports its position.

To set the stage for this gigantic transition, it elects Charlton Heston as national president, as a way of saying, in the words of Executive Vice President Wayne La-Pierre, "Hey, Moses is on our side. ("Charlton Heston is elected NRA leader," June 9).

Then, rookie gun dealer Rob Shiflett shares that divine inspiration drove him to open his gun shop next door to a Catholic elementary in Parkville ("Where religion, guns mix," June 20). In defense of the name "Christian Soldier," he applied his own interpretation of a familiar Bible story, claiming that had Jesus had a pistol when he thrust the money-changers out of the temple, "he probably would have shot a few rounds in the air."

Like Mr. Shiflett, I grew up in Parkville. I graduated from St. Ursula Elementary School next door to his shop. I do not remember being taught anything there or anywhere else that would lead me to believe that Jesus would possess a pistol, let alone shoot off a few rounds. I was taught that Jesus preached nonviolence, to the extent that he went willingly to his death for the good of mankind.

I hope your readers have dismissed Mr. Shiflett's absurdities as simply the crazed ramblings of another NRA extremist. I certainly do not envy Mr. Heston's job of attempting to paint the NRA as regular, all-American folk. He has his work cut out for him.

Ginni Wolf

Glen Burnie

The writer is education coordinator for Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse.

Message on religion was answer to prayer

I would like to say a huge amen to Jack L. Levin's "The prayers our schoolchildren should say," (June 18, Opinion Commentary).

I would hope The Sun seeks a rejoinder because it would be interesting to see how anyone can refute or spin what he has written.

I would add only one thing to what needs to be pointed out to the "evangelicals on the Christian right" of which Mr. Levin speaks. That is, simply: The cross of the crucifixion was not painted with red and white stripes and white stars on a field of blue. That cross was just plain wood and very universal in its message of hope.

I would like to thank The Sun for Mr. Levin's comment. It has needed saying for a very, very long time.

Randall Miller

Ocean View, Del.

Providing parking for 'people mover'?

I read about what I consider the wildest adventure Baltimore ever considered: a "people mover" through historic parts of Baltimore.

Does the mayor plan to provide parking for cars along Boston Street so people can hop on and off as they choose to see Fells Point, Little Italy, the Shot Tower, the Aquarium and Harborplace?

Granted, many parking garages are at Harborplace, but what about the other end?

I am sure the monorail in Disney World works great because feasible parking is provided on both ends.

Irene Spatafore

Dundalk

Heroin for drug users, drug limits for the sick

I am disabled as the result of an emotional condition and receive help for medications from the state's pharmacy assistance program. Each year, I am reviewed to see if I qualify for the program.

My mental health provider has recently encouraged me to seek a job for 10 hours a week. Heaven help me if I make a little over an allotted amount and can no longer qualify for the needed pharmacy assistance.

Now there is serious consideration that drug abusers may be eligible for free drugs, free needles and free condoms.

If handouts of illegal drugs are given to drug users, the message will only suggest that drug abuse is acceptable. Disabled folks with legitimate medical needs will be penalized for having income.

What kind of message is being sent? Something is not right.

Marcia Ann Schuett

Baltimore

Marriage of business and the environment

I wish to emphasize a point that was omitted in the letter "No 'right to pollute' under proposed rule for emissions bank" (June 21). The letter was correct from an environmental standpoint, but the business perspective needs further clarification.

The proposed Emission Offset Banking and Trading Program, which is being developed to allow economic growth while promoting better air quality standards for Maryland, gives businesses the flexibility to achieve clean air standards while ensuring economic vitality. The program is not unique to Maryland. Most Mid-Atlantic states have comparable programs.

It has been proven time and time again that we must maintain a strong economy while protecting public health and our natural resources. The goal of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development is to make Maryland business-friendly and to create, retain and attract jobs. To that end, we have made great strides, and we will continue to do more to ensure that we protect the public and our environment and create jobs for this and future generations.

James D. Fielder Jr.

Baltimore

The writer is acting secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Atlantic City extended rights denied in Md.

The editorial "Atlantic City's gamble has not been a winner" (June 14) took me back to the days of bus rides and car drives.

My best friend and I would take our children to Atlantic City to enjoy the beach and nightclub entertainment after putting the children to bed when visiting a friend there.

As an African-American senior citizen, I now can recall the fun at Carr's and Sparrow's beaches before they closed. We were a more loving, caring group in those days in spite of discrimination in Maryland.

We were welcomed at Ocean City only as someone's maid or butler. Instead, we took ourselves and our money to Atlantic City, where we enjoyed privileges denied in our own state.

Mary H. Hall

Baltimore

Airing radio debate: Does Morgan's WEAA need racial or ideological diversity?

I read with interest Michael Olesker's May 12 column and the subsequent letters in support of A. Robert Kaufman and his "plight" in regard to gaining a radio talk show on WEAA-FM.

After reading these items, I had just one question: How many times has Mr. Kaufman publicly criticized or helped lead a lawsuit against the many radio stations that are owned and operated by his Jewish brothers and sisters that for years have denied on-air opportunities to black Americans? I certainly can't recall any such efforts by Mr. Kaufman.

I am a regular listener and participant of WEAA's two-way talk show lineup, and I am also very familiar with Mr. Kaufman's views. I can say for a fact that he will not bring anything new or different to the table.

His general themes of government intervention, tax increases and class-envy are not examples of the different thinking that is needed by the black community.

Anyone seeking a radio show on WEAA with a notion that he or she will be challenging the people to think differently must be someone who will work to encourage the black community to rely less on government programs and public institutions and to get away from class envy and the general distrust of market forces that unfortunately exist in our community.

That is an example of diversity. Not another liberal, who just happens to be white and Jewish, again trying to convince black people that the government will take care of us.

What WEAA needs is ideological, not racial, diversity.

Christiaan Blake

Baltimore

Kudos to Michael Olesker (May 12) and Richard O'Mara ("Class Warrior," June 16) for giving voice to the intriguing controversy which Morgan State University's WEAA is inviting by its continuing refusal to allow A. Robert Kaufman to host one of its publicly supported radio station talk shows.

In my decades of adult life in the city, I've had dozens of occasions to run across this highly articulate, no-holds-barred civil rights activist. While his directness and assertiveness are sometimes discomfitting to the conversationalist, these very qualities could only make him all the more interesting as a talk show host.

Speaking (and speaking out) is something he does very well. Mr. Kaufman was the host of a long-running singles potluck speaker series for years at Homewood Friends Meeting House, addressing a vast array of topics. Letters to editors of local and national publications both local and national bear further witness to the wide range of subjects with which he is conversant.

What would make a Kaufman show worth listening to is the uncommon progressive philosophy with which commentary is sure to be seasoned. Mr. Kaufman is beyond race obsession and solidly into class analysis -- an important direction in which we all need to turn in the coming millennium if we ever want to truly understand and address the principal underpinnings of racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance and the increasingly attendant violence in our lives.

WEAA would be a perfect place to find this discussion: It has a long history of progressive programming and would add to that legacy with a Kaufman show. By branching out even this little bit from its own African-American centricity, WEAA would help take us all to the next level of global village community consciousness.

Louis Brendan Curran

Baltimore

Before The Sun published its "Class Warrior" article on my ferret and me (June 16), staff writer Richard O'Mara warned me that I might not like it. Aside from the caption writer's goof that I want a "deejay job" at WEAA, the story was honest, and both Munchkin and I appreciated it. Just a few points could be clarified to make it even more honest.

First, Mr. O'Mara refers to "that small coterie of capitalists he believes own this country." The 1986 report of the Joint (House and Senate) Economic Commission, using numbers compiled by the Federal Reserve Board, estimated that one-half percent of American families own more wealth than 90 percent of all the rest of us combined. (These figures were so embarrassing to our democracy that they haven't done follow-up figures since 1986!)

The fact that I believe this is about as relevant as me believing that the sun rises in the east.

Hitler's very first concentration camp victims were not Jews, Gypsies or gays. They were fascism's political opponents . . . Germany's Communists and Social Democrats.

I did not lose my appeal to the Human Relations Commission. It refused to even consider my eight-page appeal in which I refuted WEAA's overtly dishonest deposition.

As to my "being black," ethnically and culturally, I'm not. But politically, I insist that I'm as black as anyone in town.

When Ford's Theater finally integrated, after a five-year struggle, Lillie Jackson, NAACP president, bought Adah K. Jenkins and me orchestra seat tickets as the two people most responsible for breaking Ford's color barrier.

Although I did drop out of Goddard College after one semester, I went back 2 1/2 years later where, among other things, I discovered Marx and studied socialism.

I've been at it for five decades, not three.

I never realized that Edgar Feingold had been following my career so closely. I haven't seen the man in some 30 years. I'll have to activate him. But I'm not as lone a wolf as Mr. Feingold assumes. A precious handful of co-thinkers lead the City-Wide Coalition. A larger circle of supporters attends our Progressive Media Discussion group meetings the third Thursday of each month at the Homewood Friends Meeting House.

Any city-initiated insurance co-op would be authorized to sell auto and home insurance throughout the entire state.

A. Robert Kaufman

Baltimore

Sunday church traffic a sign faith is alive -- and growing

The article on the traffic jams caused by "growing churches" is really remarkable ("Church traffic ties up Granite road," June 22).

I do understand the concern of the residents, but churches have a reputation for improving the area they move to -- it is in the nature of the people who attend.

I do hope some solution can be found, but really, I see a miracle!

Traffic jam? People going to church? What a wonderful headline. It sure beats many of the horrible headlines about murder, drugs and rape.

It is great to see that God is alive and still growing.

Jane E. Fout

Rodgers Forge

Bethel AME Church is a victim of its own success ("Bethel AME to buy land in Granite," June 17). It has outgrown its location on Druid Hill Avenue. What a nice problem for an urban parish to have as many others are scrambling to attract new members and to keep budgets solvent.

The residents of Granite are justified in wanting to preserve their relatively rural ambience rather than living next to a megachurch with its attendant traffic, noise, pollution and the inevitable quest by others who would like to develop commercial or residential real estate nearby.

Similarly, the members of Bethel AME are justified in wanting to move from their too-small urban venue to a modern, larger site.

Is anybody right or wrong? Is God leading the churchgoers to their hoped-for location while the devil is conspiring with the residents of Granite to prevent them from moving there?

The issue is not a choice between right or wrong or a fight between God and Satan. What is at hand is the wise use of land. Open land is not as available as it was 50 years ago. The days of nonchalant building in the counties surrounding Baltimore are over.

The once-touted life in the suburbs is now viewed with reservation as expensive roads, water and sewer, public services and other amenities are ushered in as greenways, woodlands and open space disappear forever.

Older, established communities must forgo services and improvements in their areas as new development is provided elsewhere in part by their tax dollars. The Granite-Bethel conflict is a case in point.

The Granite site sought by Bethel is on agricultural land. Again, the real issue is not that of pollution, noise or church growth but stewardship for the land we are entrusted to leave for future generations.

Jamie Blount

Baltimore

Pub Date: 6/27/98

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