Belair-Edison area was ill-served by Sun's recent article
Having lived in Belair-Edison for almost 50 years and been connected with the community organization for most of that time, I feel not only qualified but obligated to comment on The Sun's recent article about the neighborhood ("Rebuilding, block by block," Nov. 17)
The article, while promoting efforts to improve the area, over-emphasized what is wrong with it, sometimes erroneously.
The article suggested that the neighborhood has a reputation for rising crime. This may be a misperception on the part of some people.
However, if the reporter had checked with the police, he would have learned that crime was actually down 11.4 percent from January to October, compared with the same period in 1998.
The article points out the quality of the area's homes, but then emphasizes their deterioration -- without delving into the root causes in the isolated areas where such deterioration is occurring.
From my long experience here, I know that most if not all of the sore spots have common denominators: They are Housing and Urban Development-owned or Section 8 rental housing that is owned by absentee landlords.
The photograph of boarded-up houses on the article's first page makes the community look like the inner city, which it does not.
The Belair-Edison Housing Service should be commended for its effort in a most difficult job of property development and maintenance. Their continuing contribution is invaluable.
It is my hope that Belair-Edison area readers do not panic from reading this article and move. This area has much to offer and many agencies are working to cure the problems which do exist.
Richard L. Lelonek, Baltimore
The writer is a former president of the Belair-Edison Community Association.
O'Malley was right to keep Brodie leading development
Congratulations to Mayor-elect Martin O'Malley on his re-appointment of M. J. Brodie as president of the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) ("O'Malley to keep Brodie as chief of economic development agency," Nov. 9).
Mr. Brodie is one of the most seasoned and highly regarded economic development officials in the country. A national search for a new BDC president would not have produced any better results.
Mr. Brodie not only knows how the business community works, but how to get things done in Baltimore City.
David R. Paulson, Owings Mills
Licensed real estate agents can practice throughout state
I don't quite understand The Sun's obsession with territorial boundaries concerning licensed real estate agents in Maryland practicing their business.
I refer, of course, to Del. Tony Fulton ("3 are told they're target of Md. probe," Nov. 18).
My understanding is that any person with an active license to sell real estate in Maryland may do so regardless of county, state, district or place of residence.
The article mentions that Mr. Fulton's office is in Baltimore County and his residence happens to be in Baltimore City.
To my recollection, both of these places, as well as Annapolis, are still located within Maryland.
The fact that Delegate Fulton sold a commercial piece of property, as opposed to a residential one, is not a violation of any state regulation, either -- as any licensed agent may certainly do both.
Richard Bryan Crystal, Baltimore
Marty Bass, Don Scott brighten our mornings
A Perspective column in The Sun blasted WJZ-TV and our great morning friends Marty Bass and Don Scott ("Decision by WJZ shows bad timing," Nov. 14).
Let's face it: WJZ-TV knows these guys are well-loved by Baltimore people, and that's why they are there in the morning, every morning, all morning long.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but all of us watching in the morning want Marty and Don right there, unchanged, every morning, all morning long.
Sure they are silly sometimes, but they are a great way to start the day.
Joe KroArt, Monkton
Linda Tripp's betrayal deserves to be punished . . .
In tape recording her conversations with Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp went out her way to break the law in order to publicly humiliate the president for political reasons.
She does not deserve any immunity from Maryland law.
She knew exactly what she was doing. She knew the taping was against the law -- and yet did it anyway.
She betrayed the people of the United States to try to get a democratically elected president removed from office.
I hope she gets the punishment that she so rightfully deserves.
Christopher Krieg, Baltimore
. . . as does Gen. Maher's sexual misconduct
The U.S. Army should be commended for its actions against sexual misconduct in the trial of Maj. Gen. John J. Maher III ("Army sends message, strips general's rank for misconduct," Nov. 17).
General Maher, who had been highly decorated, was stripped of both of his stars, and demoted to the rank of colonel.
This case has set the excellent precedent that such sexual misconduct will not be permitted in the army. Although the punishment is seen as harsh, it is time that this message was sent.
The U.S. Army is the unit that defends this great country --and its standards should be at the highest level.
Sarah D. Mann, Baltimore
Court must be consistent in limiting school prayers
A Supreme Court ruling to allow school officials to plan prayers at Texas high school football games would be hypocritical ("Justices revisit school prayer," Nov. 16).
In 1992, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to bar prayers at graduation ceremonies where school officials had made the decision to invite clergy to lead the prayers.
Like graduation ceremonies, high school football games are school sponsored events. If it rules in favor of prayers at Texas football games, the Supreme Court will be reigniting the controversy over prayer at other school events.
The Supreme Court must make an overall ruling about prayer in school and make no exceptions.
Erika R. Appel, Kingsville
Media should allow survivors time to gather their thoughts
Reading about the recent six-alarm blaze in Ellicott City disturbed me. I was upset about the destruction of parts of the historic town and that millions of dollars in property went up in flames because of a cigarette.
I was also disappointed to see on TV and read in the papers that the owners of the buildings destroyed were interviewed while their shops were burning down.
It's a common error of today's media to interview a person who is suffering during or right after his or her misfortune. The response of the victims always seems to be the same -- disappointment at their loss and concern for the future.
Rather than interviewing people on the spot who are closely related to a sensitive issue, the media should consider delaying such interviews or interviewing those whose involvement in the tragedy is more distant.
These alternatives would not only allow a person to compose his or her thoughts, but keep the immediate pain from taking over the interview.
Ashley Benedict, Baltimore