Pride in Baltimore's Hispanic Achievements
Editor: I read with pleasant feelings and surprise your editorial about the Russian community of Baltimore. I am surprised, however, at your long-standing lack of interest in another, larger, older community which is now close to 40,000 in strength. I am referring to the Hispanic community.
I have not often seen editorials -- or even feature articles -- on this community, its trials and tribulations, its newspapers or restaurants. I have not often read about the successes of this community but I have often read about its school drop-out rates, its illegal aliens and its high crime rate.
Yet the Spanish community, too, has its newspapers (Coloquio, El Mensajero), its restaurants (Rio Lisboa, El Bistro, Spanish Meson, Thompson's, La Puerta del Sol, La Hacienda, Torremolinos, Tio Pepe).
It also has over 31 clubs and organizations representinHispanic countries from Argentina to Venezuela, churches of all denominations, a Hispanic Library Foundation (which donates books to the Towson State University and the Enoch Pratt libraries), a Hispanic Cultural Association (which leads the community in the Columbus Day parade) and a Federation of Hispanic Organizations (which has been organizing the Hispanic Festival for 16 years).
The community also has a youth-oriented volunteer organization the East Baltimore Latino Organization, which organizes a festival in addition to tutoring and helping Hispanic students to adjust to their new environment.
There are night clubs and discos featuring Latin music where the community gathers on weekends -- Tapas Bar and House of Jose. There are doctors, lawyers, college professors, architects and other professionals, whose businesses and practices are thriving and making the community proud.
I think it is important to remind Baltimore of this.
Just as the Russian community is proud of its achievements which you so justly praise, so the Hispanic community is proud of its achievements. We want you and your readers to know about them.
Javier G. Bustamante.
The writer is editor and publisher of Coloquio.
Praise for Shane
Editor: I want first and foremost to express my appreciation for the excellent journalism of your correspondent in Moscow, Scott Shane. There have been several articles carrying his byline over the past several months that have reflected a keen insight and well developed understanding of Soviet politics.
His sensitivity to the nuances of politics and propaganda have made him one of the best informed and sanest voices coming out the area. His article, "From Perestroika to Crackdown: How Could It Happen?" which appeared in The Sunday Sun Jan. 20 is a fine example of the clarity with which he views the situation and intelligently conveys this information to his readers.
Secondly, I want to commend The Sun for continuing to highlight the dramatic and frightening turn of events in the Soviet Union. Certainly there is every reason to give primacy to coverage of the gulf war; but the heinous repression of the Baltics represents an action which, I believe, will have a much greater impact on our own national security than even the gulf war.
A return to Stalinist terror and unbounded defense of imperial power will surely lead to broader internal instability within the Soviet Union. It is not only the Baltics that have rejected the discredited and despised communist hegemony. Can the West sit passively when all the factors that once gave rise to the Cold War re-emerge? I hope not.
Vincent B. Boris.
Editor: What is wrong with our legislators in Annapolis? Every time they try to pass a bill requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets and take out medical insurance against accidents it is defeated. In the meantime taxpayers are paying an exorbitant amount for medical bills when they are in an accident.
Motorists must wear a seat belt, so why shouldn't cyclists be required to wear a helmet?
I think it's about time that our so-called lawmakers act with more responsibility instead of giving in to the lobbyists all the time. I as a taxpayer demand it.
Raymond S. Burnett.
Editor: In reading your editorial, ''Schools Without Bureaucrats?'' (Jan. 19) I found myself completely puzzled by state School Superintendent Joseph Shilling's proposal to cut his staff by 70 percent. As an educator at the classroom level, I applaud him for an initiative that is long overdue in education, where class sizes swell, materials fall short and specialist positions keep increasing.
However, Dr. Shilling is now sending mixed messages to the schools.
Cutting his bureaucracy shows a concern on his part for an education department laden with red tape and regulations. Yet his new Maryland State Performance Plan (MSPP) is already overburdening schools with more paperwork.