Arts cuts snip the heart out of BaltimoreIf Mayor Schmoke...

the Forum

February 26, 1992

Arts cuts snip the heart out of Baltimore

If Mayor Schmoke phases out city funding of the arts in Baltimore, as the Organizational Review Team recommends, he will be cutting out the infrastructure that breathes life, energy and vitality to this city.

A common language linking citizens of all ages, races and creeds, the arts are our best opportunity to bring together the fractured, disparate cultures in our cities. The language of music, dance, visual arts and literature crosses all barriers, helping to bridge the gap between people, cities, states and nations.

The arts in Baltimore generate direct expenditures of $75 million each year and a further $200 million in related economic activity. Arts are the magnet that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world as well as visitors from every part of Maryland.

Maryland Citizens for the Arts has over 5,800 members in metropolitan Baltimore and 3,600 more members in the outlying counties of Maryland. We suggest to Mayor Schmoke that he reject the ORT's recommendation to cut the arts -- and the heart -- out of Baltimore.

Sue Hess

The writer chairs Maryland Citizens for the Arts.

Other values?

Recently, there were two stories in your paper with a common thread. The first concerned the efforts of some residents of the Rodgers Forge area to stop the placement of a Sheppard Pratt group home in their neighborhood. The second concerned efforts of Hunt Valley residents to stop a proposed church at Beaver Dam and Shawan roads. In both instances residents raised sacrosanct property values to bolster their opposition. When, if ever, does a social concern take precedence over property values?

Mark Plogman

Pikesville

Kids sacrificed

On Feb. 12 my students and I were furloughed for half a day. It is ironic that our first furlough would come on Lincoln's birthday. Lincoln was highly motivated to go to school. So are my students, but they weren't allowed to that day and they'll lose four more days of learning and creating before this year is done.

The governor and legislators don't care about lowly pawns like us. They think they are winning by passing budget cuts on to local governments, by not passing new taxes, by diverting $33 million in state aid funds from classrooms to Maryland's School Performance Testing Program and by not funding special education programs.

Our governor and legislators think they're winning the battle against the recession, but they're not. They're sacrificing Maryland's finest resource ` its children, who were not in school Feb. 12.

Karen Kuker-Kihl

The writer teaches at University Park Elementary School in College Park.

School news coverage is one-sided

Earliers this month, Thomas Johnson Elementary School in Baltimore held a family science fair for about 70 first- and second-graders who, along with their parents, had worked hard to prepare science projects to share with the other children in our school.

Parents took time off from work to made themselves available for this exciting program. Local television stations and newspapers were called in advance and asked to cover the event. All promised to put us on their charts or in their files to provide coverage.

We felt sure that community interest and a desire to promote city schools would lead to us being swamped with reporters. So the children were very disappointed when no one came or even bothered to call.

City schools get a tremendous amount of coverage when anything violent or negative occurs. We can rest assured any problem in our system will not go undetected. But I wonder what the media is doing to the perception of our system when the

coverage is always so one-sided.

How many positive, enriching, challenging events in the city schools go unreported by media that feel compelled to sell at any cost - even our childrens' hopes?

Marsha Greenfeld

The writer is a first grade teacher at Thomas Johnson Elementary School.

Bush is the one

One reason George Bush will be re-elected is his strong leadership before and during the gulf war. The organizing of Middle East factions, the quick conclusion of hostilities and surprisingly low casualties resulted in an 85 percent approval rating for the president.

Due to our sputtering economy, liberal columnists claim Mr. Bush is vulnerable against a strong Democratic nominee. The president already demonstrated leadership, the ingredient lacking among the current slate of contenders.

Let us hope Republicans will be in the congressional majority in November. A cooperative team effort would follow and hasten our country's recovery.

Bill Arwady

Towson

Son of voodoo

I endorse wholeheartedly President Bush's State of the Union plan to resurface the sinking economy. In order to get helpless, homeless children, women and elderly off the streets and get the average Joe back to work, we need a huge capital gains tax cut for the wealthy.

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