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The Baltimore Sun

Harris' death costs city a dear friend

Here in the 4th District, Ken Harris was known - and will forever be known - as a friend to neighborhoods ("Harris' killing stuns residents, colleagues," Sept. 21).

Having served as a neighborhood association president, he understood the slings and arrows of urban living that neighborhood leaders face: crime, grime, deteriorated housing and commercial enterprises that add no value to the community.

With his irrepressible positive attitude, Mr. Harris set a new standard for constituent service in this council district. He used his office to bring unresponsive city agencies out to answer to community leaders.

All of this helped Mr. Harris make friends in both the black and white communities. I count myself as one of those friends.

What a bitter irony that Mr. Harris was killed at Northwood Plaza, one of the properties he sought to revitalize despite years of foot dragging by the property owners and the city.

I hope that this tragedy will inspire others to demand better from our city government and our business community.

Karen DeCamp, Baltimore

The writer is president of the York Road Partnership.

Spirit of activism continues to inspire

Reading about the sudden death of former Councilman Ken Harris reminded me of a short meeting I had with him two years ago.

I was part of a community group opposed to a large building proposed for our community. The city Planning Department backed the plan, and we knew that it would be difficult to go up against the power structure.

Mr. Harris knew little about us except that we represented the community - and that was all he needed to know. He told us in the first few minutes of the meeting that he supported us and would vote against the project.

He told us that his heart was always with the community - that he was a community organizer and proud of this activity.

What a breath of fresh air this gentleman was.

Mr. Harris did not deserve to die. He had a lot more to give. But somehow I think he will still be around inspiring those of us who had the pleasure to meet such a fine human being.

Raymond D. Bahr, Baltimore

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