Schools still drive families to suburbs
Yes, it is good news that Baltimore might have a resurgence of young, wealthy homeowners ("Downtown jobs, housing boom," Jan. 30).
But there was one glaring omission from both the article and the plans - what about the education system?
My first home was just off Patterson Park.
I put my heart and soul into renovating that house. I had neighbors who became dear friends.
This was when the Patterson Park Community Development Corp. was a nascent group meeting in director Edward Rutkowski's living room. But things were looking good in the area.
Then I had a child and I was very torn. My love of city living and desire to support neighborhood stabilization was up against my desire for the best education I could find for my children. And that could not be achieved in Baltimore's public school system, at least at the elementary level.
I would not do what many neighbors ended up doing - use a parochial school. I am a great believer in public schooling, so paying for an elitist education didn't sit right with me.
So I migrated to Baltimore County. Don't get me wrong: My children are getting a stellar public education. And I realize how privileged we are that we had this option.
But, oh, how I would love to work, live and shop without gassing up my minivan.
If somehow all these foundations that study Baltimore could come up with a plan to truly make education the priority, keeping these new residents wouldn't be so hard.
I promise you it will not be trash or parking problems that will force many of these prosperous residents out of the city.
It will be the schools. Period.
Susan A. Seim
City workers alone can't curb the trash
I applaud the mayor's emphasis on addressing the trash pollution that spoils our city ("Dixon's first order of business: trash," Jan. 26).
Making all city workers aware of the problem and coordinating their efforts are a good start. But an effort must be made to enlist the help of all citizens, who, truth be told, are the area's primary polluters because they fail to control their trash and often deliberately throw debris into the streets.
A concerted effort by government, nonprofits, businesses and community groups in the city and county will be required to control the trash.
Much of the trash found in the city's waterways and harbor flows downstream from the county.
To control the problem, we must enforce litter and dumping laws; develop public awareness campaigns, classroom lessons and field trips; and expand the cleanup programs for our streets, alleys and waterways.
The writer is a former president of the Gwynns Falls Watershed Association.
Everyone can help end our waste of oil
Gov. Martin O'Malley's support for stricter pollution emission standards means the General Assembly is likely to pass the "clean cars" law this year ("O'Malley stresses civility," Feb. 1).
I hope auto manufacturers have gotten the message and started to trim down their SUVs and improve gas mileage.
There is more the public can do to reduce air pollutants and save gas. We can reduce engine idling by not using the drive-through when buying fast food or coffee or banking.
We can do without the car air conditioner when it is 74 degrees or cooler.
We can be smarter about where we live and work to eliminate long car commutes.
Government, business and individuals all have roles to play in bringing about better air quality and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
Francis J. Gorman
Saving the killers, killing the innocent
In Dan Rodricks' column "Our society can do better than capital punishment" (Jan. 28), he wrote, "If an American ideal is that our society be less violent - and I think we still want that, right? - then we can't be authorizing executions. ... That's the moral burden of calling ours a civilized society."
But in a civilized society, innocent babies would not be killed by abortion, and especially by the violent procedure called partial-birth abortion. Where is the moral outrage about this kind of violence?
If we abolish the death penalty and do not abolish abortion, we will be protecting the guilty and killing the innocent.
This sort of topsy-turvy thinking is what marks us as an uncivilized society.
Elizabeth G. Brown
Punishing all Serbs is foolish and unfair
If I were a citizen of Serbia, I would share the anger of language teacher Marija ("Lingering nationalism darkens Serbia's future," Opinion
Commentary, Jan. 30).
Even if Serbia does not arrest army chief Ratko Mladic for his crimes, as the European Union has demanded, it is immoral to hold an entire generation hostage.
Imposing collective guilt on the Serbs for the actions of Mr. Mladic is nonproductive and foolish.
It is wrong to deprive millions of young people the right to obtain visas and study abroad.
The best way to change the mindset of any population is to permit egress.
If NATO had any credibility and wisdom, it would stand up for the rights of the blameless citizens of Serbia.
Nothing will be gained by creating a nation of victims.
Football no path to a better life
There are about 1,700 professional football players in the United States.
So it seems to me to be a disservice to Baltimore high school athletes for The Sun to run consecutive front-page articles on various students' dreams to make it to the big league ("The Big Game," Jan. 28-Feb. 1).
How about touting students who are studying the sciences as a way of escaping their circumstances? Their chances are certainly a lot better.
And please, please confine the sports to the sports pages.
Inspiring triumph over real adversity
I want to thank coach Dante Jones of Edmondson-Westside High School for his great work with his football team last year and The Sun for telling us his story ("The Big Game," Jan. 28-Feb. 1).
The series on Edmondson's 2006 march to the state championship provided readers with a strong message of truth and hope.
From my perspective, this story was not just another glamorous tale of a football team's sports achievement.
No, this was a tale about young men overcoming moment-to-moment challenges, mostly beyond the football field, and achieving something greater than any trophy can convey.
Mr. Jones, his coaching staff and Edmondson's faculty show us what can be achieved by leading and supporting young men while they navigate the difficult waters of youth.
The selfless commitment made to guiding these young men provides a shining example of what can be done for our city's youths.