Region isn't ready to host the Olympics

Can we please stop blaming geopolitics for the failure of Baltimore-Washington to win a bid for the 2012 Olympics ("D.C. might have scared Olympics," Aug. 29)? The reasons the cities were not chosen are far more basic.

These are two cities with horrendous rates of murder and other violent and property crimes; two cities with infrastructures unable to manage the existing, routine commuter and transient traffic; two cities with nonexistent tax bases.

Baltimore does not have enough hotel space to compete effectively even for moderately sized conventions, has so little parking that businesses are deterred from moving into the Inner Harbor and has so little civic enthusiasm that it was unable to mount a dynamic celebration of its bicentennial.

While the region could talk a good line, event planners must look at the realities and decide if the optimism of the promoters can be translated into facilities that can be delivered.

Obviously, the United States Olympic Committee recognized that the basic inadequacies of the cities precluded any hope of successfully handling the logistics needed to stage an event as large and complex as the Olympics.

World politics and Olympic egos were secondary considerations.

Fran S. Levy


It would have been wonderful to have Baltimore host the 2012 Summer Olympics. But it did not surprise me when I heard of Baltimore's elimination by the United States Olympic Committee.

I believe the city of Baltimore has a lot of work on its hands before it can be chosen to be an Olympic host.

For instance, the city needs a better subway and transportation system that connects people to the city and surrounding counties.

And it needs to concentrate on developing attributes that can attract people from around the world to attend the Olympics in Charm City.

I truly believe that Baltimore must make an effort to be a better host to its own people and communities before it can host the entire world.

Tanya Barton


Mental health policy has a deadly impact

The murders of two deputies in Prince George's County is another in a series of indictments of the Glendening administration's decimation of Maryland's community mental health system ("2 Prince George's sheriff's deputies shot to death," Aug. 30).

The governor's failure to fund the system adequately has left giant holes for people to fall through, and left community mental health providers struggling to fill those holes.

The governor's reticence about moving resources out of state psychiatric hospitals and into community programs shows a lack of leadership and ultimately leads to tragedies such as the one in Prince George's County.

Shouldn't the underfunding of the community mental health system in this state be a campaign issue?

Shouldn't the gubernatorial candidates be made to explain how they are going to fix the problem and prevent unnecessary tragedies in the future?

Scott Graham


Ehrlich's remarks were very rude

Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is quoted in The Sun as calling Maryland Democrats "stale, arrogant and corrupt" at a forum at the New Psalmist Baptist Church ("Black voters are courted at forum," Aug. 27).

With Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend sitting in the front row, Mr. Ehrlich's comment was particularly abrasive and rude.

The accuracy of his assertion is beside the point. We should demand that all candidates refrain from personal insult as Maryland enjoys a rare competitive contest for governor.

Charles W. Mitchell


Overheated schools also need relief

So it is now necessary to cool the women's jail because of the torrid Baltimore summer heat ("Judge orders air conditioning for 210 in city jail," Aug. 23). How sad.

My wife teaches in the Baltimore public schools for 10 months of the year, including the torrid months of June and September. When do she and her overheated students get air conditioning?

Priorities seem just a bit skewed here.

Irvin Birenbaum


Playing politics with right to life

It appears once again that we have to choose between the lesser of two evils ("Abortion questions raised in campaign," Aug. 18).

While Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has been an opponent of public funding of abortions, he says he "would not seek to change the Maryland law that allows tax dollars to pay for thousands of abortions for poor women." What does that say? That he won't rock the boat?

And Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend says that she can reconcile her being "a staunch abortion-rights supporter" with being Catholic.

But this is not a matter of preference or taste; this is something that touches at the heart of who we are. We try to protect the rights of all people, especially when there are people who don't.

Along with the right-to-life issue here, what concerns me is that the candidates are trying to play both sides of fence. They are playing politics in an area that deals with issues of life and death.

The Rev. Ross Syracuse


The writer is pastor of St. Casimir Catholic Church.

Keep noisy scooters off the city streets

It is with great fear that I read The Sun's editorial arguing for lifting the city's ban on motor scooters ("Lift scooter ban," Aug. 23).

During a recent trip through Italy, I discovered that these noisy, tinny, polluting machines swarm the streets of Florence, Naples and Rome like a medieval plague visited upon the cities. The noise alone made a walk through the streets of Rome like a walk through Dante's Hell.

The well-intentioned goal of transporting humans economically would be better served through the use of the tiny two-seat Smart Car, also abundant throughout Europe. But unleashing the scooters here in Baltimore could be a mistake.

Gene Grady


Make Balto. Co. reimburse the state

Dan Rodricks' Aug. 30 column concerning Baltimore County's deal with the Ravens notes that the county received $5.2 million from the state's Program Open Space to purchase the land in question ("Time for revised finger-pointing in matter of welfare for Ravens").

If this land was turned over to the Ravens, why shouldn't the county be required to reimburse the state for these funds?

And if the state allows Baltimore County to turn over open space acquired with state funds to private enterprise, what's to keep other jurisdictions from doing the same thing?

George Anikis


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