Visit to Vegas is key first step...


Visit to Vegas is key first step for city retail

As a former chairman of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Law Conference Committee, I think The Sun's editorial on Mayor Martin O'Malley's trip to ICSC's annual convention, "Long shot in Las Vegas" (May 17), was mislabeled. It should have been called "First step in Las Vegas."

Having been active in the ICSC for more than 30 years, I can tell you that it may take years of attending such conventions before concrete results are obtained. But Baltimore is now stepping up to the plate with a major effort led by our very best spokesmen, our mayor and deputy mayor.

I have heard the mayor speak at ICSC meetings in Baltimore and I can assure you that the retailers present went home with a brand-new picture of Baltimore.

Surely a focused strategy such as the one The Sun suggested would be a good idea, but strategies evolve from contacts made with retailers and from working with the developers who can translate strategies into tactics, not the other way around.

Retailers have their own strategies, their own demographic studies and their own marketing studies. Our immediate need is to get Baltimore on their radar screens and evolve our strategies around their thinking.

This will not be easy, but what is learned in Las Vegas will be an essential ingredient in a strategy that may take months, if not years, to develop and implement.

Strategies are great, but as former Mayor William Donald Schaefer taught us, development comes one project, one tenant, one contact at a time.

Morton P. Fisher Jr.


Development jackpot isn't in Las Vegas

Baltimore's delegation to Las Vegas (which cost us $80,000) could have saved a lot of time and money by looking in its own backyard ("Long shot in Las Vegas," editorial, May 17).

It's the developers, not the retailers, who can turn any opportunity into reality - and some of the very best in the United States are located in Maryland. Retailers depend on developers to create the opportunities, not vice versa.

Whoever in the mayor's office suggested a presence in Las Vegas obviously doesn't know the business, or where to find the jackpot.

Larry M. Wolf


City strives to revive York Road corridor

The recent editorial "Hope for York Road" (May 13) suggested launching a drive to revitalize the entire York Road corridor. However, to give credit where it is due, Baltimore has been supporting a number of initiatives along the corridor.

The city partnered with the State Highway Administration to bring the Route 45 streetscape project to Northern Parkway and provide a gateway to the corridor. And work on the Govanstowne Business Association Streetscape Project for York Road will start this summer.

The mayor's commitment to bringing grocery stores back to the city gave the community a new store at York Road and Woodbourne Avenue.

The York Road Partnership is committed to furthering these revitalization efforts.

Helene F. Perry


The writer is recording secretary for the York Road Partnership.

U.S. trade policies are inconsistent

It is interesting the way money and politics stir the emotions.

President Bush said his desire for the freedom of the Cuban people was a heartfelt desire ("Bush calls for reforms in Cuba," May 21). Yet the same emotion doesn't seem present for countries such as China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others that have dictatorial rule but with which we trade.

Al Buls


How about monitors for U.S. elections?

President Bush has a lot of gall to call for elections in Cuba to be monitored by independent parties ("Headstrong and wrong," editorial, May 21). In light of the debacle in Florida in 2000, his statements are hypocritical beyond belief.

How about having U.S. elections monitored by other nations or the United Nations?

Rob Reid


Enron's executives belong behind bars

The release of Enron Corp. memos detailing the company's strategies for manipulating the California energy market proves its culpability in billions of dollars of fraud ("Senate leader says Enron broke laws in Calif. crisis," May 10).

Why aren't the company's executives in jail?

Roger Fitzgerald


Stopping executions is step toward justice

Contrary to Gregory Kane's suggestion, one can oppose the death penalty yet still favor punishment of criminals and support the victims of crime and their families ("Timing of death penalty halt reveals governor's true motive," May 15).

However, the death penalty can never be administered fairly or consistently. And using the death penalty puts the United States in the company of such bastions of human rights as China, North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

Wealthy individuals are much less likely to be executed than the poor, who often end up with legal counsel that is at best indifferent and at worst hostile and incompetent. Further, the death penalty is irreversible. Once it is carried out, there is no appeal based on newly discovered evidence.

The death of one innocent person should be unacceptable in a civilized society.

The fact that Maryland has temporarily postponed executions is cause for optimism that the United States is closer to becoming a just society.

Lee Lears


Cats cheaper way to combat the mice

I read with great amusement about the mice-infested building ("Rodent woes in county building," May 15).

But why is Baltimore County spending all this money? For next to nothing it could go to any animal shelter or cat rescue organization and get a dozen mousers.

The cats would be more than happy to deal with the rodents, and I would hope some of the cats would end up being adopted.

Edith Goldman


Saga of Onziga twins is a gift of goodness

My heart was deeply touched by the photo of the physicians holding the Onziga twins. The tenderness and respect for humanity shining from the faces of the doctors was a gift to us all ("UM Medical Center team separates conjoined twins," May 15).

For one day at least, the depressing stories of assaults and murders and tragedies were overshadowed by the glory of the goodness and achievement of which man is capable.

Congratulations to The Sun for its front-page coverage of this miraculous event.

Dorothy C. Baker


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