State's taxpayers were real losers in legislative session
In The Sun's editorial "Winners and losers in General Assembly" (April 11), the most glaring omission from the list of losers was the Maryland taxpayer.
The so-called "Free State" reached into the pockets of Maryland taxpayers and withdrew $1 billion more than was originally budgeted.
Our governor determined that possession is actually ten-tenths of the law, and arrogantly used taxpayers' money to bludgeon legislators into fulfilling his political agenda, demonstrating total disdain for ethical behavior and fairness.
How fitting that President Clinton should come to Annapolis to bless the smart gun legislation, the crown jewel of the governor's strong-arm tactics.
Shame on The Sun for ignoring citizens who work hard to pay the state's high taxes, and are then subject to this extortion by the governor and spineless legislators -- yet must witness them patting themselves on the back for a job well done.
Feminist Expo opened its doors to everyone
The letters "Feminist expo excludes poor, blacks" (March 31) and "Feminist expo excluded poor white women too" (April 6) denouncing Feminist Expo 2000 were highly upsetting to me because they ignored the facts.
Although the stated fee for the weekend was indeed $195, a sliding scale starting at $0 was available to anyone who wanted to use it, no questions asked.
I am a middle-class woman, yet I decided that I could pay only a portion of the fee. A friend of mine only wanted to attend two hours of the event, so she paid what she felt was fair for that.
No one was excluded from the Feminist Expo because of their inability to pay.
Like the women's movement itself, the Feminist Expo went out of its way to be open to all.
Pamela J. Seng
Two letters have recently argued that Feminist Expo 2000 excluded poor women, both black and white. Neither writer seems to have been aware that the fee for the Expo was on a sliding scale.
This was noted in The Sun the very day of the letter, "Feminist expo excludes poor, blacks" appeared (March 31).
I did not pay the full admission fee. I set my fee based on what I thought I could pay and no one asked for verification.
Lots of women paid less than I did, and a number of people paid nothing.
The expo was available to everyone.
U.S. wasn't aggressor in the Vietnam war
I am upset that The Sun has, in any way, portrayed Bob Buzzanco's opinions on the Vietnam war as fact or "history" ("Vietnam -- who won?" April 9).
To argue that in Vietnam we waged a war on the people of a small country, ally and enemy alike, is to turn fact on its head.
We were there to help the South Vietnamese resist the North Vietnamese.
The final insult was Mr. Buzzanco's statement that "the United States tried to violently force its preferred system on a people that were not receptive to it."
The fact was just the opposite: We tried to prevent North Vietnam from a violent takeover of South Vietnam. Our presence was the only thing that stopped that from happening, just as it stopped the takeover of South Korea and Kosovo.
The north's takeover only happened after we left, and refused to return when North Vietnam, in contravention of treaties, attacked the south again.
Roots of city's violence lie in its poverty . . .
I would like to extend my thanks to the undisclosed author of the article "Is O'Malley ignoring the past?" (April 9).
Although the riots of the 1960s are not the only part of Africans' history in America that Mayor Martin O'Malley seems to be ignoring, it is (at this juncture) the most important one.
We must honestly examine the events and issues which have left Baltimore with more than 300 homicides a year.
The root of this, and many other problems that this city has in its poor black neighborhoods, is those area's extremely limited access to economic development.
If this root of our problem continues to be ignored, so too will continue the terrible ills which plague this city.
Christopher Graham Devlin
. . . and harbor development has provided little help
Apparently, Baltimore native and c.e.o. of the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., William A. Badger Jr., hasn't been in Baltimore in a long time -- or he'd know that the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards have not exactly been a panacea for downtown ("The benefits of 'neighborhood' shopping," March 30).
The harbor and the stadiums are part of a Third World-style economic development strategy: publicly subsidized pleasure palaces that cater to the wealthy, employ natives at mostly low-wage, dead-end jobs and send profits back to imperial corporate headquarters somewhere else.
Many tourists park their cars in the stadium lot, enjoy the bread-and-circus, buy a few beers and hot dogs from the vendors, and get back in their cars and drive back to suburbia without ever having experienced the city.
If they ever ventured a few blocks in either direction, they might be forced to ponder the disparity between the huge sum they pay for football tickets and the general decrepitude and poverty in the residential areas abutting the stadiums.
As The Sun noted in the same issue as its mostly positive article about Arundel Mills, Baltimore City continues to shrink, losing about 1,000 people a month.
If this is Mr. Badger's idea of economic development, Anne Arundel County beware.
Razing historic buildings isn't the way to rebuild city
The Sun's editorial "Time to get going on west side revival" (April 2) raises the question: Why should we let the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation control what happens to the west side?
The foundation's offices are Owings Mills. If it was interested in the west side, its offices would be on the west side.
That area would be much better if Harry Weinberg and the successor foundation had taken care of their properties and behaved like responsible owners.
Now the foundation wants the city to condemn businesses and demolish buildings to provide them with a clean slate.
The result of Weinberg-style redevelopment on the west side is all too evident in the bland buildings and vacant retail spaces from mid-1970s "revitalization."
The west side's historic buildings, and hardworking merchants, are assets that hold the key to future economic growth.
The Sun's editorial on the west side revival and its sub-headline, "Special interests try to hijack Howard Street revitalization plans" was unfair and misinformed.
Small business retention and historic preservation are linked. They can be combined with new development to create a downtown for old and new interests.
I continue to be frustrated by the project's lack of commitment to small merchants, many of whom own their buildings.
We all want to see the west side redeveloped, but let's be sure it is done in a fair, supportive and inclusive way that respects the business people who have stayed.
The writer is the Citizens Planning and Housing Association's representative to the Project Area Committee.