Here's a way to salvage McMillan's planIsn't...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Here's a way to salvage McMillan's plan

Isn't the real problem with Alderman Herbert McMillan's anti-loitering bill the Annapolis City Police Department?

It may be obvious to most African Americans, but if there is that much fear of abuse surrounding a law that targets convicted drug-dealers observed exchanging small objects for money, the opposition mustn't be with the bill but rather with how it would be enforced.

Let us not compromise a good bill because we fear the broad power it gives police.

Mr. McMillan was called upon by African Americans to do something about loitering by drug dealers in their public housing communities, in his district.

If he drops this bill as urged by certain African American leaders because it is politically unpopular, what is he supposed to say to those people who have asked for his help.

What are Mr. McMillan's alternatives? He could modify the bill but that doesn't eliminate the police distrust factor.

I propose that the bill be amended in terms of how it will be enforced. Develop a task force or committee appointed by selected community leaders.

These individuals would work with the police in patrolling these neighborhoods and act as a check-and-balance system.

This would serve to protect residents who want the drug-dealing loiterers off their streets as well as those individuals who may be unfairly targeted by police.

Obviously, this would have to be a voluntary operation, but considering the amount of time that has been invested in discussing and debating this issue, I don't think that will be a problem.

As a resident of this ward, I would be the first to volunteer. I call on those who have been very vocal on both sides of the debate to get involved, too.

If the goal is to take back these neighborhoods from the drug dealers and give them to the people who take pride in where they live and raise their children, this is the way to do it.

Cary B. Dion, Annapolis

Enough with the eyesore factories

Regarding the proposed asphalt plant in northern Anne Arundel County ("Plant clears zoning hurdle," Sept. 20).

When is Anne Arundel, or for that matter Baltimore city and county, going to put the breaks on allowing companies that are at the very least an eyesore and more likely an environmental menace that threatens the health of surrounding communities?

Don't Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties and the city already have enough factories to last well into the next millennium. For anyone who would think otherwise, take a trip over Key Bridge. The view is reminiscent of some documentary you might see on environmental devastation resulting from industrial development.

We need to focus on changing our image to attract high-skill and high-paying jobs to Anne Arundel County.

Dr. George M. Metze, Severna Park

Baptists' position was misunderstood

Tom Teepen's Opinion Commentary column ("Southern Baptists are on the offensive against Jews, others," Sept. 14) concerning Southern Baptists' proselytization efforts towards Jews and others was long on inflammatory rhetoric and tragically short on understanding.

A prime example of his lack of insight is his labeling such evangelistic efforts as insensitive acts of religious intolerance.

Christians should recognize and respect the Jewish faith as valid and worthy of respect. Judaism is, after all, the faith from which Christianity arose. One who calls himself a Christian but loves not his religious roots is one walking in ignorance.

Christ said that we should do unto others as we would have done unto ourselves. Tragically, as history attests, not all who have called themselves Christians have been obedient to Christ's teachings.

Mr. Teepen showed no hesitancy to lay the blame for the Holocaust on "Christian intolerance." In this, he is hypocritically guilty of the charge of insensitivity that he levied upon Christians, failing to understand that one who loves Christ should love the people through which He came.

It is through the lens of respect for Judaism that prayers for their understanding that Jesus is their promised Messiah should be viewed. The sacrificial system of Judaism, in which the blood of an innocent animal was offered for the remission of sin, was an archetype that foreshadows Jesus' redemptive death for the sins of mankind.

Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53, Old Testament books written by Jewish prophets under God's guidance, speak of a suffering savior who bore in his flesh the due penalty for our transgressions and iniquity.

How incredible a thing to contemplate. The God Who created the universe and every man, woman and child, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, the God Who showed such might and majesty in delivering His people Israel from their bondage in Egypt, would give to us a Messiah cloaked in humility and servanthood. A Messiah who delivered us from the bondage of sin by divesting Himself of His glory and laying down His life for us, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.

What may not be seen, or well understood, is that prayers for the Jews to recognize their Messiah are not acts of aggression, insensitivity or intolerance, but acts of love. It is a love that hopes not for the destruction of the Jewish faith, but for its prophesied fulfillment; a love that prays, weeps and hopes for reconciliation with a brother.

David P. Gilmore, Glen Burnie

Let there be light (and appliances) on Gibson Island

I went searching for power last Friday. No, I wasn't interested in a board position or running for public office. I needed real power, the kind that gives you a kick if you misuse it.

I loaded my two little nieces into my car, and told them we were going on an adventure.

After just a few hours, I found what I was looking for, a miracle when you think about it. With much fanfare, my nieces and I unloaded the surprise in my parents' carport: I had bought what must have been the last generator in Maryland.

Gibson Island was hard hit by the remnants of Hurricane Floyd. I was up just before dawn Thursday, running around outside in the storm. Water was coming in the basement, and I needed to switch the positions of the two tarps I had set up the previous afternoon.

Meanwhile, Jim climbed up our long aluminum ladder to clean the gutters again. The winds were picking up and it was raining hard.

We put out a bucket for the leak in the roof, spread towels and newspaper for the water coming down the chimney, and threw all the sopping towels from the basement cleanup into the washer.

By 11 a.m. Thursday, I was settled on the couch in the living room, reading a book, when I heard a thump outside. When I opened the front door, my first impression was the smell of wood.

I knew instantly that some huge tree had gone down, but where? I could see that the telephone pole at the end of our driveway had downward sloping wires heading toward the north.

I scrambled into my raincoat and ran down the driveway in the driving rain.

Our street was a tangle of electric wires, four snapped telephone poles, and, the cause of it all, two large horizontal trees crossing the road, pinning the black wires to the asphalt. It was a mess, even though we live in the center of the island, somewhat protected from the wind.

Trees were down everywhere, on lawns, across roads, crushing one car, poking into roofs.

It was easy to tell which way was north. Like a reverse com- pass, the tips of the fallen tree branches faced south; only the massive root balls were left braving the northerly onslaught from the wind.

By late afternoon, the rain had stopped, the sky had cleared and, we mistakenly thought, all the damage had been done.

We were wrong. The winds continued to roar into the night. After dinner cooked over Sterno, we received a call from neighbors of Jim's parents.

Bad news: a huge tulip poplar, at least two feet in diameter, had squished Jim's parents' garage. Like a knife through soft butter, the giant tree had obliterated the front third of the structure.

We jumped in the car, snaked our way around the blocked roads, and arrived at their property. We thought it was just one huge tree, but as we scrambled in the dark, we found that it was three trees in a row. On the bright side, no one was hurt, no cars were in the garage, the house was unharmed.

Many trees were down, at least 100, and many had taken down poles and lines in their descent.

Many of our lines run through the woods, far from roads, paved or otherwise. Hence, my quest for a generator for my parents.

As it was, a wonderful crew arrived from West Virginia last Friday morning with five or six trucks. They worked efficiently and restored our power by the next afternoon. Amazing.

There is nothing quite like going without something to make you appreciate it.

Now, when I casually flip on a light switch or push a few buttons on the microwave, I am thankful for what we have again.

Elizabeth B. Gamble, Gibson Island

Pub Date: 9/26/99

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