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Baltimore Sun letters to the editor: inspiring media critic, travel tip, Biden’s bungling of Afghanistan exit and Red Line revival | READER COMMENTARY

Zurawik inspired readers to protest Sinclair acquisition attempt

Bravo to writer Veronica Clarke and The Baltimore Sun for the publication of her letter, “Thanks for the lively three decades of Criticism, David Zurawik” (Aug. 26). I too will miss media critic David Zurawik’s call for honesty and integrity from his media colleagues and his nudge to readers to be alert to distortions of truth now that he’s retired.

In Sept. 2017 his articles inspired a small group of women from Howard and Baltimore Counties to organize a protest of Sinclair’s attempt to acquire Tribune Media Company at Sinclair’s Hunt Valley Headquarters. This would have allowed Sinclair to broadcast to 72% of homes in the United States, which would be in direct violation of the Federal Communications Commission limit of less than 40%. With the FCC chairman chosen by Donald Trump, the regulation was in jeopardy. Repeal would have allowed the Sinclair pro-Trump message to saturate the airwaves. The same group then took their protest signs to the FCC.

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In the end, the FCC questioned the merger, and it was stopped. Was there a direct relationship between David Zurawik’s inspiring words, the actions of the women and turn of events? I would like to think there was.

Betty Freeland, Woodstock

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Another tip for traveling with people who have dementia

After reading Jeanette Marantos’ article on “5 tips for safe and sane travel with someone who has dementia” (Aug. 17), I would like to add just one thing. People are understanding if they know what is going on. My daughter-in-law printed a card for me to keep in my purse. It said: “Please be patient with us, my husband has Alzheimer’s.” It worked every time.

Dotty Carpenter, Reisterstown

Gov. Hogan isn’t alone in decrying Biden’s handling of Afghanistan exit

I just finished reading Dan Rodricks’ piece, “Hogan, auditioning for president, slams Biden even before the smoke clears” (Aug. 27). I don’t know where Dan has been hiding for the past week, but Gov. Larry Hogan is hardly a voice crying in the wilderness when it comes to criticizing President Biden’s “plan” for the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. In fact, the criticism has come from both sides of the aisle. I have yet to read a piece from anyone praising the way in which the withdrawal has been executed.

Mr. Rodricks clearly does not like our governor or anyone else who might identify as a Republican. That is his right. But singling out Governor Hogan for saying that our withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a catastrophic failure demonstrates only that Mr. Rodricks has not been paying close attention to the news over the past week.

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William T. Define, Lutherville

Red Line about more than transportation; it was also about economic rehabilitation and a debt owed

Transportation planner Wes Guckert argues in his op-ed (“Should the Red Line be resurrected?,” Aug. 27) that, according to the accepted formula for evaluating transportation projects, Baltimore’s population density is too low to justify the investment in the Red Line light rail project.

The problem with his analysis is that the Red Line is more than a transportation project. It is also an economic rehabilitation project intended to repair damage from a history of systemic racism in the city that has doomed generations of Baltimoreans to lives of poverty in segregated neighborhoods. It must be judged against a different standard. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan made the same mistake six years ago.

Payment of any cost that exceeds the project’s benefit as calculated by Mr. Guckert’s formula is payment against a moral debt. A debt created by nearly a century of federal policies and predatory lending and real estate practices in Baltimore that consigned many Black residents to overpriced, inferior housing without access to employment or adequate schools.

The economic exploitation sucked massive amounts of money out of the city and into the pockets of white bankers, real estate speculators and landlords, many of whom fled the city. Some of that money must be reinvested in the city, and the debt repaid, to restore the economic vitality of impoverished neighborhoods and the city’s residential and commercial density through projects like the Red Line.

There may be merit to Mr. Guckert’s proposal to replace light rail with bus rapid transit (BRT). But that decision should not be based on a calculation that does not factor in the costs incurred by Baltimore’s grim history of systemic racism.

David Plymyer, Catonsville

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