Status quo candidates offer little real hope...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Status quo candidates offer little real hope for Baltimore's poor

The media have decided there are only three realistic candidates for mayor of Baltimore. So we've been treated to televised debates involving just three men.

We want systemic change. Poor people need radical change. We watched the debates hoping against hope that a real candidate would emerge.

It didn't happen. There will be no change. That's the stark reality. Each of the three candidates is capable of re-arranging the furniture, but they are not interested in building a new house.

This means that for one-fourth of our population, the people living in poverty, are provided no hope for the future. The only clear plans these candidates offered were zero tolerance measures, broken window theories and "lock 'em up" strategies.

All three candidates are tied to the same old solutions. You can see Shadow Government Schaefer, the Wyndham Baker, Demolition Dan Henson, all the loyal bankers and developers and even the Fraternal Order of Police lurking in the background, pulling the strings.

The gut issue is still the same: It is the grinding poverty that continues to eat Baltimore City inside-out. Our city has declined rapidly because of the obscene disparity isolating the rich from the poor.

We need "zero tolerance" for greed and a willingness to divide the economic pie with justice.

If we are content to keep the status quo with these candidates, we will get what we deserve.

Brendan Walsh, Baltimore

The writer is a co-founder of Viva House, Baltimore Catholic Worker.

Baltimore mayor's race: No whites need apply

When I moved three years ago to a suburb just south of Baltimore, I had no idea that I'd be living near such a hotbed of racism.

The statements of Baltimore politicians, ministers and others regarding Councilman Martin O'Malley confirm my suspicions about racial double standards.

I do not know whether Mr. O'Malley is the right person for mayor, but to categorically reject his candidacy because he is white is blatant racism.

Mr. O'Malley is the only top contender for mayor who has had no lies about his credentials on his resume or campaign literature and no deep financial troubles or mismanagement in his background. Is honesty less important than race?

Mr. O'Malley is the only top Democratic contender who has not made the mayoral race an embarrassment to Baltimore.

But the city might just as well put up a billboard: "Baltimore mayoral election: No whites need apply."

Laura Graham, Severna Park

Lawrence Bell has failed to show responsibility

Every time I read about City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III, it seems that he says he did not directly do it: solicit Crown Central Petroleum Corp. for funds; have his supporters disrupt Councilman Martin O'Malley's rally; buy expensive clothes from campaign funds; fail to pay his debts on time.

If Mr. Bell can't control his own people and finances, how can he keep track of all the employees and finances of Baltimore City?

Is this candidate going to help the people of Baltimore, or help himself?

Don Oates, Upperco

I wonder if Comptroller William Donald Schaefer has collected the Maryland "use tax" due on the $4,300 of clothes that City Council President Lawrence A. Bell recently purchased in New York?

Barbara Gilmour, Baltimore

Honor and truth are keys for Baltimore's next mayor

I can't believe that Marylanders may again vote for tainted candidates. The many scandals in the state's recent political history (Spiro Agnew, Larry Young, Marvin Mandel) should have taught us that we should never again accept politicians whose lack of integrity is alarming.

City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III's outburst against Councilman Martin O'Malley and his supporters' disruptive actions at Mr. O'Malley's rally are an outrage.

Carl Stokes misleading the public about his education is another example of wayward thinking.

Honor and truth must be watchwords of our new mayor. Otherwise, we are condemned to sink further into the mire of mendacity.

Kathryn Coke Rienhoff, Baltimore

Time to hold Janet Reno to her word on Waco?

Attorney General Janet Reno has ordered a complete inquiry into the government's actions during the siege of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of more than 80 men, women and children.

I recall Ms. Reno on national television after the siege ended, saying she "takes full responsibility" for what happened.

Shouldn't she then be a defendant if any legal action results from the inquiry?

R. E. Johnson, Glen Burnie

President must protect U.S. citizens on Vieques

I'd like to praise The Sun's article highlighting the sad reality of the 9,311 American citizens who reside on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico ("Puerto Rico threatens big guns," Sept. 1).

But I disagree with its reference to the administration's need to "choose between the politically powerful Latino vote and the military's training demands."

The real question is whether the president is willing to inconvenience the Navy to meet his responsibility to ensure the right to life, liberty and security of all Americans, including those on Vieques.

These rights are violated every time the Navy carries out its constant military exercises or bombings on Vieques.

If this were happening anywhere else in the United States, the question would be when, not if, the Navy is leaving.

The recent death of a civilian makes it necessary for the Department of Defense to review its operations on Vieques and end its military presence there.

The American citizens who live in Vieques do not deserve to spend one more day with this indignity.

They deserve to look forward to a peaceful, safe and prosperous future.

Rick Dovalina, Washington

The writer is national president of the League of Latin American Citizens.

Walter Sondheim belongs among Maryland's greats

I commend The Sun for its editorial tributes to the men and women who have done so much for Maryland ("Marylanders of the Century"). These have been a good remainder to those who have known some those honored, and a good example for the young.

Unless The Sun is committed to honoring only the deceased, I urge it to include Walter Sondheim among the honorees.

At more than 90 years old, he is still giving for the betterment of our city, as he has all his life.

Jim Gentry Sr., Towson

One-sided article may ruin Maryland's oyster trade

The Sun's article "Parasite found in oyster beds" (Aug. 31) may destroy the market for Maryland's oysters.

The article does not indicate that Maryland has oyster beds which contain no contaminated oysters. Nor does it mention that the beds where oysters contaminated with cryptosporidium were detected have been closed to harvesting.

Our panic-spreading governor, Parris N. Glendening, killed a season of commercial fish sales from the bay a couple years ago.

Now The Sun will kill the sale of Maryland oysters both locally and out-of-state by publishing a one-sided article.

Let's be fair and hear the other side of the story -- and on page 1 of Section B.

William A. Pistell, Owings Mills

To our readers

The Sun welcomes letters from readers. They should be no longer than 200 words and should include the name and address of the writer, along with day and evening telephone numbers.

Send letters to Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001. Our fax number for letters is 410-332-6977. The e-mail address is letters@baltsun.com.

All letters are subject to editing.

Pub Date: 9/09/99

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