Planning TowsonEditor: Your July 18 editorial regarding...


August 02, 1991

Planning Towson

Editor: Your July 18 editorial regarding Towson wandered off course in suggesting that a moratorium on development be imposed, specifically for taller buildings. It hit the mark in pointing out that an updated plan for Towson, focusing on urban design, is essential for guiding further development in the town center.

We need to recognize that recent growth has occurred along previously adopted, strong land-use and transportation guidelines. Notable accomplishments have been achieved.

First, an excellent boulevard network provides Towson's core a recognized boundary as well as a bypass. Second, Towson has kept pace with its parking needs. Over 6,000 spaces have been added to town in the past decade. Third, unlike 95 percent of the towns and suburbs of the county where the next shopping mall was built just beyond the town line, Towson has been able to incorporate exciting new retail projects among our district's older buildings.

Even though there is evidence of some traffic congestion, Towson has only one ''F'' (failing) intersection out of more than three dozen downtown street crossings. Of course, our county seat has difficulty meeting suburban residential traffic standards. The many daily shopping and business trips to and from Towson should be expected in a downtown setting.

Towson's future relief from trips to town (almost exclusively by auto) lies in gaining fixed rail service. This is being pushed aggressively by Towson Development Corp. and by the county, which has Towson as its next priority for new ''trolleys.''

Towson should have a bright future. Past master planning and new town center insights can be harmonized in forthcoming urban design programs. The heights of buildings in Towson to date properly emphasize the town center's outstanding location on the Joppa Ridge.

We strongly disagree that heights should be lowered as a design objective. We're proud of our distinctive skyline profile.

Leslie H. Graef.


The writer is executive director of Towson Development Corp.

Isaac Singer Translated

Editor: Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote all of his novels and short stories in Yiddish for the purpose of capturing the spirit of past and present Jewish culture in Europe and America.

If it were not for a group of well-trained translators, Singer's works would be gathering dust in the files of the Yiddish Jewish Daily Forward and he would never had won the Nobel Prize for literature.

That is why his anonymous translators deserve the utmost acclaim for bringing to the world's attention Singer's great talent, not only as a Yiddish writer, but as a great European-American who ranks up there in the class of Hemingway, Faulkner, and O. Henry during the 20th century.

oseph Saffron.

Baltimore. Editor: I am prompted to comment on the July 25 Opinion * Commentary article by Earl Ofari Hutchinson, "Conservative Values Are a Part of Black Life."

The recent presidential elections make apparent "conservative values" are held by a large majority of Americans and, as Mr. Hutchinson points out, these values are shared by many blacks as well. Unfortunately, the black leadership in this country, including the Congressional Black Caucus, seems to denigrate these values.

Mr. Hutchinson has put his finger on the reason for this anomaly. The political expediences of the liberal-left coalition have distorted the goals of the black leadership so that the interests of the political alliance supersedes what may be good or bad for blacks.

The environmental issue is a good example.

It is incongruous that the members of the Congressional Black Caucus consistently vote anti-growth environmental positions. Votes that cause housing to be less affordable and energy and transportation to be more expensive. These positions clearly work against their constituency.

Does their constituency care more about the spotted owl or to have the lumber for affordable housing? Is the protection of the North Slope more important to their constituency than cheap fuel for housing and transportation?

Environmentalists can advocate a status-quo society because they already have a share. Logically, minorities that are struggling to obtain their share would resist the environmentalists, but this isn't the case with the Congressional Black Caucus members.

The liberal-left political agenda dictates that black congressional members vote against their self-interest. On this and other issues.

The Congressional Black Caucus' denunciation of Clarence Thomas is another political decision that works against a black and blacks in general. I also find it ironic that Mr. Thomas is accused of being a toady of the whites while others denounce him for expressing admiration of some of Louis Farrakhan's ideas.

Whether or not Clarence Thomas makes it to the Supreme Court, his nomination has focused attention on the relevancy of the current black leadership to its constituency.

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