Editor: Sixty-eight members of the National Black Police Association traveled to Virginia Beach to serve as volunteers for the Laborfest weekend. Thirty-three were from Maryland, employees of various police departments.
The specific responsibility of the volunteers was to patrol a park facility named Red Wing Park and Atlantic Avenue, the main street alongside the oceanfront. The volunteers were identified by yellow baseball caps and yellow t-shirts. The volunteers worked long hours -- from 2 p.m. to 3 a.m. -- during Saturday and Sunday.
Red Wing Park was incident-free. This facility is in a residential neighborhood and residents were fearful of disturbances by outside persons. Atlantic Avenue and the oceanfront were relatively peaceful, except for a few minor water pistol battles among the youth.
All of the volunteers sacrificed time away from their families to provide assistance to another municipality to ensure a safe weekend for visitors and residents. They utilized their own leave time and volunteered at their own risk for a worthwhile cause.
Their presence in Virginia Beach has been recognized by the chief of the Virginia Beach police department and the city manager as having a vital impact on everyone having an enjoyable Laborfest weekend.
All was not negative at Virginia Beach. We are proud and satisfied to have made a difference.
Barry W. Powell.
The writer is president of Vanguard Justice Society.
Editor: Baltimore police are turning would-be visitors around before they have a chance to tour the Inner Harbor. The fact that seeing the city is costing some tourists a minimum of $45 on the front end should be of interest to Baltimore's tourist-oriented business people .
On Oct. 22, we were in Baltimore winding up a lovely vacation in Maryland, our first visit to the Chesapeake Bay area. As we drove the unfamiliar streets, maps spread out, searching for markers and turns as well as negotiating heavy traffic, we missed a lane change. Instead of moving to a center lane in order to proceed straight ahead, we found ourselves faced with a ''right turn only'' edict and, admittedly wrongly, went straight instead of turning. It was a split second decision, based on the fact that we didn't know the city and suddenly saw the Inner Harbor (our goal) up ahead.
Immediately, we were directed to pull over by a motorcycle police officer who had lain in wait for us as well as the car in front -- also from out-of-state. Both drivers were ticketed. The officer was curt and seemed to want to get on with it, presumably so that he could set himself up for the next couple of tourists looking for the Inner Harbor. We might as well have been Florida-bound tourists traveling through small town Georgia 30 years ago. We were victims of a ''tourist trap,'' pure and simple.
Once we parked our car, the anticipated visit to the Inner Harbor was soured for us. We gave it a cursory walk about, spent no money, got back in our car and left the city. Forty-five dollars on the front end ruined any possible pleasures such as lunch, souvenirs or boat tours.
Yes, we were wrong in failing to turn as we should have. But what's the need to spend thousands of dollars on promotional materials and tourist bureau campaigns, when the local police treat tourists like hardened perpetrators of Baltimore's traffic rules? If most tourists are fined $45 a pop, you might as well forget the tourist hype. Fines might generate more dollars for the coffers than all the sales tax revenue from lunches, souvenirs and boat tours combined!
Come to Nashville! Our policemen are trained to enforce the law, and they do. But they also cut a little slack for the tourist trying to negotiate a strange city, and they are polite and helpful in the process.
Rachel and Jim Cotham.
Ku Klux Klan
Editor: The Ku Klux Klan is responsible for bombings, lynchings and the cold-blooded murders of black men, women and children. This is not an opinion. It is a fact of history that must never be forgotten. Yet, they are allowed to march in a country that is supposed to stand for equality for all.
By allowing the Ku Klux Klan to march we give them the ability to spread a message that should not be heard anywhere -- a message of hatred.
Murphy Edward Smith.
Editor: Ralph White's letter ''Danger of War'' (Nov. 3) contained some good food for thought. He makes a mistake, however, concerning the Korean War that ''MacArthur's . . . victory at Inchon saved us from being pushed off the Peninsula at Pusan.'' That is a myth.
In fact, by the time of the Inchon operation, American and allied forces in the Pusan area were not only quite safe and secure, but were gearing up for their soon-to-be-launched (and successful) offensive, one purpose of which was to help the Inchon operation succeed!