Wagner's Point seeks a speedy settlement from a city 0) government
We are mothers of five children, ages 5 to 11. We live in Wagner's Point, at the tip of the South Baltimore peninsula, in a neighborhood that was once a thriving company town. Now it is a no-man's land, and we live in fear for our children's lives.
Seventy children live here, in 100 rowhouses that are literally overshadowed by huge chemical plants and bulk petroleum storage tanks. In our four-block neighborhood, cancer has claimed two dozen victims in half as many years. We cannot protect our children from the pollution that is an invisible and gradual killer.
Last week, an explosion at the Condea Vista plant rocked our houses and sent flames shooting into the air. This incident is the third, and by far the worst, chemical emergency in our neighborhood the past two years. How many incidents will it take for the city, state and chemical industry to rescue us and our kids?
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's immediate response to the Condea Vista explosion was to threaten to seize our homes through eminent domain. We understand why the mayor is panicked, but this approach will not get us where we need to go; positive negotiation will.
One day before the explosion, we sent the mayor a petition asking him to give us a chance to negotiate an agreement with the city voluntarily. We want out, and we want it quickly.
But we want City Hall to give the people of Fairfield and Wagner's Point a chance to begin a new life in a residential neighborhood that is like ours -- before it was turned into an industrial park.
The writers are, respectively, president and secretary of the Fairfield-Wagner's Point Neighborhood Coalition.
Thoughtful article showed important government role
Erin Texeira's article "High Court is target of protest over law clerks" (Oct. 6) was thoughtful, informative and fair.
Her article accurately reminded us of the important role unseen government employees, such as law clerks at the Supreme Court, often play in creating public policy.
I believe most of us know in our hearts that discrimination still exists, even in the best of places. Kweisi Mfume, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and other brave men and women who demonstrated for fair employment policy spoke loud and clear for all of us.
Preservation society's find gave us Baltimore's past
We would like to thank Ernest F. Imhoff for his article about the Fells Point Synagogue Project ("Archaeologists dig for Jewish history," Oct. 3).
There is one point we would like to clarify. The site was discovered by Pete Middlethon, Doug Anderson and Pat Enright of the National Society for the Preservation of Early American Artifacts. Their discovery has given us a rare opportunity to study the history of our city through archaeology.
Much of the city's political history is recorded in books. But the past lives of ordinary citizens are not. Archaeology enables us to look at the objects that people used every day and to reconstruct the social life of a group.
This is especially important when we talk about the history of women, minorities, immigrants and other communities that are generally ignored by standard histories. The society, in sharing the discovery of the Fells Point site, has given all Baltimoreans an opportunity to study not only the history of Fells Point, but the history of the first meeting site of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. This is a gift for which all of us should be grateful.
Esther Doyle Read
Barry M. Gittlen
The writers are, respectively, director of the Baltimore Center for Urban Archaeology at the University of Baltimore and professor of biblical and archaeological studies at the Baltimore Hebrew University.
Pension for Ruppersberger too much of a Dutch treat
Does County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger want a retirement that will increase the tax burden on Baltimore County taxpayers after he retires? For only 17 years of service to Baltimore County, is $89,500 per year to much retirement?
Even if his friend Stephen G. Sam Moxley is pushing this issue in the County Council, it sounds very expensive for taxpayers. Maybe some of the backers of Mr. Ruppersberger and Mr. Moxley will start to remove the signs from their lawns for these two increases until they come to see what is good for their political careers is not a tax increase.
Republican John J. Bishop would hold the county executive to half of his salary when he retires. This would be $52,500, not a bad retirement after only 21 years on the job.
If the Democrats continue to push for the Dutch treat, I will vote for the Republicans in these two races in November.
Thomas C. Rothenhoefer
Curran is perfect match against tobacco industry
Your story on the major tobacco case filed by Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. raised questions about whether election politics will influence the result ("State feels heat on tobacco," Oct. 11).
Before Mr. Curran and other state attorneys general acted, the tobacco industry had successfully stymied all action in Washington and Annapolis. Children and teen-agers had ready access to tobacco. This year, tobacco money ensured that the Republican Congress again refused to lift a finger to block illegal sales, such as the simple step of banning tobacco vending machines. (We don't put Valium and Jack Daniels in vending machines why tobacco?)
The attorneys general are our only major hope.
Mr. Curran has been in the forefront of filing major cases to benefit Maryland consumers. The tobacco case is the most important of all. With a two-decade record of doing the right thing for Maryland, there is no way Mr. Curran would trade his record and his reputation for an election-eve gimmick.
Charles G. Brown
The writer was Attorney General of West Virginia from 1985 to 1989.
Sauerbrey would improve state's business fortunes
Amid the reams of anti-Sauerbrey press orchestrated by the Glendening campaign, The Sun did accurately report Gov. Parris N. Glendening's recent refusal to appear for the traditional gubernatorial debate sponsored by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.
But then, who could blame the governor for not appearing? As Ms. Sauerbrey correctly stated, "Virginia is cleaning our clock" in terms of economic growth and attracting new business. Why should Virginia fare so much better than Maryland?
Perhaps because Virginia is not governed by an entrenched liberal Democratic Party dedicated to high taxes and bloated government. As well as much higher taxes, I suppose the governor could have appeared and boasted much higher violent crime rates than our neighboring states, partly a consequence of 20 years of Democratic judicial appointments.
Maryland desperately needs a change in leadership.
Jeffrey S. Gulin
Starr may surprise as witness for prosecution
President Clinton's defenders are certainly following the old court adage that: If you don't have the facts, attack the law; if you don't have the law, attack the facts; and if you don't have the facts or the law, attack the prosecutor.
U.S. House Judiciary Committee ranking Democrat John Conyers wishes to subpoena independent counsel Kenneth Starr to testify at the impending impeachment hearings.
Perhaps Mr. Conyers and other Clintonites should be mindful of another old adage: Be careful what you wish for, you might get it -- especially if, when he finally gets to have his way in public, Mr. Starr proves not to be the demon that Clinton forces portray him to be.
Robert A. Erlandson
House softer on its own than it is on president?
The House ethics committee has dropped the three remaining ethics charges against U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in spite of finding that he repeatedly was in violation. "The committee believes you have been adequately informed and cautioned on (the rule) issues and anticipates full compliance in the future," the letter said.
Doesn't this indicate to the House an optimal direction in which to act with regard to President Clinton?
Mary O. Styrt
Pub Date: 10/19/98