The Baltimore Sun

Addition to school won't cure crowding

The Sun may think that a 400-seat addition to Loch Raven High School is a "reasonable" solution to school crowding in Baltimore County ("Loch Raven school flap," editorial, May 28). But the facts don't support that conclusion.

More than five years ago, a report by the DeJong panel recommended that a high school be built in Northeastern Baltimore County.

White Marsh is one of the county's growth areas, but unlike the Owings Mills area, it did not get a new school to accommodate that growth.

Add to this the likelihood of population growth in the area as a result of the base realignment and closure process and the need for a new school is obvious.

The Sun's support of an addition to Loch Raven High School fails to consider that the school's library and hallways will not be expanded to handle 400 more students; that parking at the school, which is in short supply, will be further strained; that roads near the school cannot accommodate added traffic; and that students transferred from other areas will find it more difficult to take part in school activities vital to college admission.

County Executive James T. Smith Jr. might think that he is acting in a fiscally responsible manner and in the best interests of taxpayers by backing the addition.

However, his solution is shortsighted and definitely not in the best interest of parents and students.

George Ward, Towson

A disturbing insult to our war heroes

I am not an owner of a motorcycle. I am a patriotic American who honors our war dead on Memorial Day.

I found Garrison Keillor's remarks appalling and insulting to the honor of our war dead and to those of us who remember them ("The disturbing roar of hollow patriotism," Commentary, May 28).

Because of the First Amendment, Mr. Keillor is entitled to his freedom of speech. However, I cannot believe you found this nonsense worthy of printing in The Sun.

To remark that our World War II Memorial "looks like something ordered out of a catalog" is absurd.

I don't know what he was looking at that prompted him to make that statement, but it was an insult to our war dead and to those who came home alive after serving our country.

I have been to this memorial and seen veterans and others standing there with tears in their eyes remembering the soldiers who fought for our country.

Any true American appreciates this memorial, the Vietnam Wall and the Korean Memorial and what they stand for.

Does Mr. Keillor know that you don't judge a book by its cover?

Maybe those "fat men with ponytails on Harleys" fought for our country to allow us the freedom we enjoy today.

Perhaps in the future, Mr. Keillor can pick a different day to visit the National Gallery to look at "The Boating Party."

And in the future, please be more selective in what The Sun prints regarding our war heroes.

S. M. Wunder, Timonium

Garrison Keillor's column on "The disturbing roar of hollow patriotism" shows why he shouldn't stray far from his fantasy world of "Lake Wobegon."

His suggestion that the bikers are blustering fat men with ponytails is the kind of thing that would come from someone who doesn't realize that many of the bikers are veterans themselves.

D. Martin Disney, Owings Mills

Roar from Harleys shows little respect

Finally, someone has had the courage to write what needed to be written with regard to what has become an annual source of extreme annoyance in the guise of a patriotic gesture ("The disturbing roar of hollow patriotism," Commentary, May 28).

Thank you, Garrison Keillor, for writing what I have felt for years - all the while hoping that someone with more clout than I would take on those folks with their outrageous need to grandstand with their offensive Harleys while polluting the air with exhaust and mind-numbing noise.

There is nothing about this event that inspires patriotism.

There is nothing about this event that displays respect for those who have sacrificed their lives for our country.

It is high time for this Rolling Thunder bike rally to be actively discouraged.

John S. White, Stewartstown, Pa.

Don't judge Clinton for Kennedy remark

I respectfully disagree with the gentleman who wrote the letter "Remark on Kennedy shows Clinton unfit" (May 28).

By recalling the tragic June 5, 1968 assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, Sen. Hillary Clinton was showing that throughout our political history, party nominees for president have gone undecided into the summer months.

In no way did the senator show she was "insensitive."

Let us not be so very quick to judge.

Katherine Lemperle, Towson

Rodricks overlooks efforts on re-entry

I am disappointed that Dan Rodricks didn't take the time to read the report he criticized in his column "Wanted: action, not more reports" (May 22) as it stresses the critical need for the very services and strategies his column recommends.

Moreover, Mr. Rodricks fails to acknowledge the commendable efforts of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and her staff, local foundations, service providers and policymakers - all of whom are engaged in supporting, creating and implementing re-entry programs that will help former prisoners and combat recidivism in Baltimore.

While resources are limited in Baltimore, as they are in most cities, many people in Baltimore have a strong commitment to addressing issues of incarceration and re-entry.

Having worked closely with many of Baltimore's stakeholders, I know firsthand how tirelessly they are working on behalf of former prisoners, and I, for one, commend them.

Renata Cobbs Fletcher, Philadelphia

The writer is a vice president of Public/Private Ventures, a nonprofit group that has designed and implemented re-entry programs funded by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Justice.

Inspiring defense of reach for space

Thank you for running such an inspirational editorial on the Phoenix Mars Lander ("Looking skyward," May 25).

At a time when many people, including quite a few in the media, disdain the exploration of space as a waste of money, it was heartening to see such a well-informed and articulate view of our space program.

Far from diverting resources away from solving global problems, the space program opens up vast new possibilities for the human race, most of which have a direct bearing on what happens here on Earth.

We cannot solve the planet's energy and environmental problems without making use of what we learn from space.

So the more we invest in the exploration of space, both manned and unmanned, the better it will be for the Earth in the long run.

Jeff Brooks, Austin, Texas

The writer is director of the Committee for the Advocacy of Space Exploration.

Director's humanity his greatest asset

Sydney Pollack was an incredibly talented director, producer and actor ("Oscar-winning director kept in step with the times," May 27). More important, he was a very kind, warm and generous man.

He spoke once at the Senator Theatre back in the 1980s, and I was able to meet him.

I was a high school kid who was dreaming of a career in show business, dreaming of having Mr. Pollack's career, actually. He took the time to kindly answer my questions and inspire me to stick with my dreams.

I met him again on the set of The Interpreter and told him of my minor successes as a screenwriter. And once again, this time in the middle of a multimillion-dollar film shoot, he was generous with his advice, he was happy for me and he inspired me to fight on.

He was one of our greatest filmmakers, and he was a greater man.

Cary Anderson, Ruxton

The writer teaches screenwriting at Towson University.

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