New mayor alone cannot change a struggling city
In a few months, Baltimore will have a new mayor. The primary election results, and reactions from citizens and the media, indicate that either Martin O'Malley or David F. Tufaro will be held responsible for solving the problems facing the city and reversing its decline.
But if citizens of Baltimore sit around and wait for the next mayor to solve the problems, the city's decline will continue -- no matter what the next mayor does.
In recent months, I've seen many pictures of trash and debris littering Baltimore. Everybody is quick to blame the mayor or the Department of Public Works for the filth, but did they put the garbage in the streets and alleys?
We hear complaints about the police, as if they were responsible for crime. But the police aren't the ones selling and using drugs.
We hear constant complaints about the schools. What are the parents doing to einsure that their children succeed?
For years we have assumed that government should take care of these problems. We have abdicated responsibility.
All of us must begin to take responsibility for our actions.
When the next mayor takes office, citizens should, at the same time, commit to assisting him in restoring the city.
The mayor alone is not the answer.
John Maas, Baltimore
O'Malley's victory a call to unite
The election of Martin O'Malley as the Democratic nominee for mayor of Baltimore City was a wake-up call.
This election was not a race issue, but a people issue. We searched our hearts and voted accordingly.
Let us not stop here. Let us begin to pull together as one. Baltimore is our city. We care for our city.
Now it's time to prove it. Forget the past, move forward together. Work together and be patient.
Remember, united we stand, divided we fall.
Let our motto be: "A city of people helping people."
Barbara J. Williams, Baltimore
The manner in which Martin O'Malley won the Democratic primary gives credit to Baltimore voters.
It left no doubt that the majority had confidence in his ability to alleviate the many serious problems plaguing our city and assured him that their cooperation and support would be forthcoming.
Now is the time to put our shoulders to the wheel and get the job done.
David W. Cohen, Baltimore
Cross-racial voting is a hopeful sign
I am a lifelong Baltimorean who recently moved to Colorado.
When I got here, I was impressed to learn that Denver voters, the vast majority of whom are white, had elected a black mayor.
I am now very proud that Baltimore's voters, the majority of whom are black, have elected a white mayor.
This renews my hope that we are moving toward a time when people are judged by "the content of their character" rather than the color of their skin.
Diane Levin, Edwards, Colo.
A consolation prize for Lawrence Bell
City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III may have lost the mayoral election, but at least he got a new wardrobe.
Oscar Schapiro, Pikesville
The city's task force to combat violence
In his recent letter, Donald P. Hutchinson listed homicide and violent crime reduction as his No. 1 goal for improving Baltimore ("For city to thrive, these goals are key," Sept. 11).
As an example, he cited "a violence reduction task force, comprising key city, state and federal law enforcement officials."
The name of the task force is "Operation Safe Neighborhoods" originated by the Safe and Sound Campaign.
David Kirby, Baltimore
The writer is communications consultant to the Safe and Sound Campaign.
Cross-border tobacco sales must be fully investigated
I would like to respond to The Sun's recent article on the latest allegations about tobacco industry misbehavior, "FTC called to investigate cigarette sales trust violations" (Sept. 9).
The American Cancer Society of Maryland fully supports -- and was happy to sign on to -- Smoke Free Maryland's complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding possible tobacco pricing improprieties.
It is high time we took a look at what the industry is doing. If we find that the industry is indeed pricing tobacco products differently to encourage cross-border sales, this will substantiate rumors that we, as advocates, have been hearing for years.
The FTC needs to take this matter very seriously, as it has implications not only in Maryland but across the country.
Margie Weaver, Mount Airy
The writer is chairman of the government relations and policy work group of the American Cancer Society's Maryland chapter.
A humanist alternative to theistic Judaism
I was disappointed to read in The Sun's otherwise excellent article on Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton ("Beit Tikvah gets 1st full-time rabbi," Sept. 10) the common misunderstanding that Reconstructionist, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Judaism are the only Jewish denominations.
Baltimore's Jewish Cultural Chavurah is a year-old congregation of the Secular Humanistic Jewish movement, the alternative to the religious and liturgy-based forms of Judaism.
Secular Humanistic Jews identify and celebrate through history, culture and family rather than any particular set of deistic beliefs.
We are friendly to those in mixed-culture families as well as gay and lesbian and other non-traditional Jews.
We welcome both theists and atheists as members.
Judith Seid, Towson
Ravens fans sick of whining about Cleveland's travails
Please, no more bleeding-heart stories from Cleveland Browns fans like the ones in Todd Richissin's article "Cleveland BARKS" (Sept. 13). I have had it up to here with hearing how bad Cleveland has had it for the past three years.
I do not remember hearing much sympathy from the fans by the Cuyahoga when the Colts left Baltimore. My guts were wrenched when my team left in a blizzard in 1984.
Cleveland gets its colors, uniforms and history intact -- minus a few years. We have the Ravens, whom I follow with some zest. Yet, my heart still tugs when I see that horseshoe on the field.
I am glad that Cleveland has gotten a new team, although I fume that they got it so fast and with support Baltimore did not receive.
So, Cleveland fans, stop crying in your beer over how Art Modell treated you.
Our loss in 1984 showed the handwriting on the wall that you chose not to read. You had the option of building a stadium for Modell's Browns and chose not to.
You paid the price the National Football League demands today. Bless yourselves for what you have and shut up.
I wish you a nice 0-16 season this year.
Brian D. Hess, Bel Air
Why are readers in Baltimore fed features on the Cleveland Browns?
I will let you in on a secret: We don't care about Cleveland, its teams, people or problems. This is a Baltimore Ravens town, accent on Baltimore.
For three years we have had to put up with whining about how Art Modell shafted Cleveland. We are sick of it.
If we had a choice of newspapers, Baltimore football fans would be canceling their subscriptions in massive numbers.
But, since we are a captive audience, I guess The Sun will continue to represent the interests of other towns over our own.
Jeffrey Kern, Baltimore