Give the taxpayers a chance to rename...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Give the taxpayers a chance to rename PSINet Stadium ...

The Sun's article about the Ravens' pending settlement with PSINet Inc. on the stadium name renewed the animosity I feel toward greedy sports moguls and arrogant government officials ("Ravens poised for replay of stadium name game," Jan. 24).

As one of the Maryland taxpayers whose taxes paid for the construction of both the football and baseball stadiums, I am outraged that the Maryland Stadium Authority usurped the citizens' right to name the stadiums.

The Maryland Stadium Authority gave the naming rights to the Ravens without first asking citizens of Maryland. Then it had to pay Peter G. Angelos $10 million because it didn't give him the same rights as the Ravens.

Somehow, government leaders, politicians and agency heads have grown to feel that they have the right to spend our tax dollars without taxpayer consent, approval, or even some public input. They feel that taxpayers exist for the sole purpose of providing finances.

It is about time they came to realize that government and politicians only exist because of the taxpayers and their generosity. We taxpayers are the state. Maryland citizens have the right to name, or sell the naming rights of, any sports buildings that our tax dollars have paid to build.

It is time to right a wrong. Give taxpayers back their right to name or to sell the naming rights to both stadiums, now.

Ron Parsons

Glen Burnie

... and make the complex a new tribute to veterans

The demise of the Ravens-PSINet stadium deal ("Ravens poised for replay of stadium name game," Jan. 24) and the imminent fall of the memorial wall on 33rd Street opens a great opportunity for the city of Baltimore, the Maryland Stadium Authority, the local business community and the Ravens.

Rather than trying to find one large company to spend $100 million, they should find 20 local companies that will spend $5 million each to turn the stadium into a fitting memorial to honor those once remembered on 33rd Street.

Contributing companies would be able to associate their names with a worthy civic project, and this would be appreciated by local customers.

The time is right for local government and business (including sports teams) to honor those who have fallen (and those who will fall) to protect their enterprises. The best advertising money that could be spent would be to create a Memorial Stadium at Camden Yards.

Ron Hammans

Lusby

With the decline of PSINet it appears that "our" stadium will be looking for a new name. To me, there is a very easy and proper answer to the question of what it should be: Memorial Stadium.

Before the Modell family goes through a whole bunch of trouble looking at all the new contracts, will someone please relay this basic information to them? And make sure that they hear you speak, directly and clearly, into their wallets.

Jeff Crockett

Halethorpe

It's far too late to rewrite state's contract with Angelos

In his Jan. 21 column, Dan Rodricks again complains about the fee the state agreed to pay Peter G. Angelos.

The arrangement was made with Mr. Angelos because he was the low bidder. The agreed fee was 25 percent of any award received. If there was no award, Mr. Angelos was to receive nothing for the thousands of hours of work done and the expenses incurred by his office.

Mr. Rodricks now wants to change the fee from a contingent fee to an hourly rate. Would he favor such a change if there had been no recovery and Mr. Angelos was now asking to be paid by the hour?

Of course not: He would then be leading the chorus shouting that, notwithstanding the great monetary loss sustained by Mr. Angelos, "a deal is a deal."

Evan Alevizatos Chriss

Baltimore

How can Arafat compare himself to Washington?

So Yasser Arafat, the terrorist, considers himself to be like George Washington, the statesman ("Palestinian leadership calls for cease-fire," Jan. 27). What a blasphemous concept.

Mr. Arafat has conveniently forgotten that Washington fought British soldiers and did not send terrorists back to England to slaughter civilians.

Zev Griner

Reisterstown

Protest unfair treatment by airport security officers

I urge those who question current airport security procedures to do what I did following my recent experience of being treated like a common criminal suspect at airports: protest by writing letters and boycotting ("Terrorist grandmas?" Opinion*Commentary, Jan. 25).

When government and airline officials realize paying customers do not want to be treated disrespectfully and can see through the current charade of airport security, perhaps some common sense and logic will be applied to protecting fliers -- without resorting to such nonsensical tactics as searching grandmothers' bodies and little boys' backpacks.

Susan Laurie Tusa

Timonium

Enforcing drug laws only intensifies crime

The writer of the letter "Don't blame the guns for plague of violence on our city's streets" (Jan. 28) is correct that 80 percent of crime in Baltimore is drug-related. Yet the letter is dead wrong to assert that the solution is a "drug-crime unit."

Enforcing the drug laws makes the problem worse. Every seizure of drugs raises the price of the remaining drugs (that's the law of supply and demand), which means that more robberies are committed to support drug habits.

Every arrest of a dealer means more turf battles among other dealers for the arrested dealer's territory.

We saw the same thing with alcohol prohibition, yet we do it again with drug prohibition. Why? Because most of the victims of the drug laws are black.

Henry Cohen

Baltimore

Enron scandal underscores the need to regulate business

The free enterprise system is the best economic system ever devised by man, provided it is closely regulated by government. Enron Corp. is showing us the consequences of ignoring the latter proviso.

V. R. Carlson

Baltimore

Support for a comic strip that makes us think

I disagree with the writer of the letter "'The Boondocks' presents vile and vicious images" (Jan. 24).

"The Boondocks" is a well-drawn, insightful commentary on society and life. Aaron McGruder deftly uses irony to poke fun at targets large and small. His strip also features a segment of the population -- black children -- that is very much in evidence in our metropolitan area, but largely missing from the comics.

Why isn't the letter writer up in arms about the outdated, sexist portrayals and hackneyed jokes in "Beetle Bailey" or "Dennis the Menace"? They are thoughtlessly offensive without being funny.

Jamie A. Tang

Parkville

Here's my "yes" vote for carrying "The Boondocks" comic strip.

There's plenty of entertainment in what passes for news in the media. It's good that at least one strip on the comic pages makes us stop and think a bit.

Kathryn J. Henderson

Westminster

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