The Baltimore Sun

A skate park plan to satisfy everyone

The Sun's article regarding the proposed skate park for Perry Hall's new Asbury Park notes the lack of enthusiasm within the skateboarding community for the proposal put forth by Baltimore County's Department of Recreation and Parks ("If government built it, would they come?" Aug. 13).

But as a resident of the Perry Hall-Nottingham area and a longtime recreation advocate, I believe that, in planning for new amenities such as this skate park, it is essential to balance a variety of competing community needs.

And it is important to remember that not every potential user of this new facility will be an experienced skater.

Indeed, many of the users of the county's four existing skate parks are young children who are just learning how to skate.

And The Sun's article does not mention that, in response to the views of skateboarding enthusiasts, the Department of Parks and Recreation wisely put together an informal advisory group made up of skaters and other community volunteers to help improve the concept for the skate plaza.

I am convinced that, when dedicated people come together to work on this issue, they will come up with a skate park plan that works for everyone.

Jeffrey Smith


The writer is a member of the board of the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association.

Diversifying uses of Balto. Co. parks

The Sun's article on the skate park planned for the Perry Hall area shows how far Baltimore County has come in designing its recreational areas ("If government built it, would they come?" Aug. 13).

When the Perry Hall Improvement Association first learned of a proposed skateboarding park near Honeygo Boulevard, there was immediate opposition to the project.

As we talked with business owners and residents, however, we realized the park's value. It makes sense to give skateboarders a central place they can use.

Baltimore County's Department of Recreation and Parks has pledged to build an attractive facility that respects the scenic area near the skate park.

I hope that officials also incorporate the wishes of the park's future users into the design.

The Perry Hall area is fortunate to have seven parks either built or in development. And Baltimore County has shown a willingness to diversify the uses of the parks, putting in trails, playgrounds and now a skate park.

The county is wise to consider the recreational needs of all citizens, including skateboarders.

David Marks

Perry Hall

The writer is the president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association.

State GOP's plight mirrors the nation's

How appropriate it is that the Maryland Republican Party is almost broke, deep in debt and cutting back on programs and activities ("State GOP is almost broke," Aug. 11).

This is exactly the way Republicans in the White House and Congress have run our country for the past seven years.

Donald Torres

Ellicott City

Could slots salvage state GOP's coffers?

Not only did former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. do nothing to resolve Maryland's financial woes, his defeat also left the state Republican Party with a sizable deficit ("State GOP is almost broke," Aug. 11)

You have to admire Mr. Ehrlich's consistency.

Should we now watch for a Republican-sponsored plan to allow slot machines at political fund-raisers?

When you only have one idea, you have to go with what you've got.

Mac Nachlas


Use of live animals is cruel and archaic

If Mayor Sheila Dixon and other city officials are striving to find a way to keep the arabbers in business, they should do it without allowing them to use live animals ("City assures vendors," Aug. 10).

It was so good to see those horses being taken out of that filthy barn and freed of the daily misery of carrying ridiculously heavy loads.

We live in modern times. We don't need live animals to move produce anymore.

Let the horses live the rest of their lives on green pastures.

Ann Roberts


The writer is an animal activist.

Nothing offensive about 'arabbers'

Some terminology has been handed down through generations. And, obviously, the use of the term "arabbers" for street vendors in Baltimore is an example, since the term has been around since the 1800s ("Longtime term offends some," Aug. 10).

It's sad that, according to Bash Pharoan of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Arab-Americans feel so "very strongly" that this is an offensive term.

I'm a 74-year-old woman and I can clearly remember when a-rabbers came down our tiny street in West Baltimore, bells ringing on their well-kept little ponies as the arabbers sang out, "Watermelons! Red to the rind. All red."

Of course we wanted some. So we went flying to tell our mothers that the arabber was here.

That term is part of our culture and heritage and I see no reason to change it.

Besides, I can't imagine hearing my 6-year-old self calling to my mother, "Hurry, Mom, the mobile grocer is here."

I think Dr. Pharoan needs to lighten up.

Some molehills are better off not being made into mountains.

Phyllis Gemmell


Why such a fuss over a few goats?

Our nation is at war, people are dying on the city streets and our cost of living continues to rise. And the only thing some neighbors apparently have to do is to bellyache about two well-cared-for little goats in someone else's yard ("Essex zoning shows the gate to pet goats in backyard," Aug. 7)?

Give me a break.

Madoline Madigan

Middle River

Prescription reform now long overdue

The nation's leading domestic concern is health care. However, I'm not sure if President Bush understands that, or maybe he's just ignoring the problem.

But for years Mr. Bush and most legislators have resisted health reform in America, even as insurance premiums rose an astounding 87 percent from 2000 to 2006 and the number of Americans without coverage has ballooned to 45 million.

Numerous attempts at reform have failed.

However, this year two Maryland Democrats, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin and Rep. Chris Van Hollen are pursuing a bill that could lower the cost of prescription drugs by 40 percent, so prescriptions are more accessible to citizens in poverty ("Md. Democrats offer reforms," Aug. 3).

The unfortunate truth is that they are not optimistic this bill will pass.

And as an immigrant to the United States, I cannot understand why citizens have to constantly plead with the federal government for better access to affordable prescription drugs.

Young-Jin Kim


The writer is an intern at Progressive Maryland.

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