No Conflict, PleaseThere was a time when good government...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 29, 1992

No Conflict, Please

There was a time when good government meant good planning. Economical government, regional cooperation, employment and cultural diversity were the goals.

Your editorial on "Cloisters Rezoning" savages most of those principles. Unquestionably, suburban and exurb residents should support city profit and non-profit culture. We do benefit from culture.

Likewise, the entire region has benefited and does benefit from open space, close in; the Baltimore greenbelt. Not simply the county taxpayers, but the entire region benefits from orderly planning, in this instance, the greenbelt.

A top newspaper like The Sun should help with a call to positivism. To pit museums and culture against greenbelt is false and counter-productive.

Small, quiet ventures in open space can service and enhance. Large activities set an urban scene; by precedent, they destroy the open space for all.

James Howard

Owings Mills

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The Real Kafka

In his April 17 review of the movie, "Kafka," Stephen Hunter makes some demeaning and inaccurate statements about the "real" Kafka.

In referring to the movie's title character, Mr. Hunter says, "an insurance adjuster of no consequence (as was the real Kafka)." Later, Mr. Hunter says "of course the real Franz Kafka could barely manage to dismantle a light bulb."

In fact, the historical Kafka, having received a doctorate in law from the German University in Prague, obtained civil service employment with the Austro-Hungarian empire at the Workers Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia, in Prague, despite such employment being difficult for Jews to obtain under the empire.

His work involved the development of a social insurance system for victims of industrial accidents. According to his friend and biographer Max Brod, Kafka's "devotion to duty was exemplary; his work was very highly thought of."

During his nine years with the institute, Kafka received several promotions and occupied responsible positions with many subordinates reporting to him. In 1917, the effects of tuberculosis forced Kafka to give up his position.

According to Brod, Kafka's experiences in working with industrial safety and compensation concerns were influential in developing the social conscience and sympathy for the underdog that emerge in Kafka's fiction. However, it would be a mistake to equate Kafka the man to his oppressed and passive protagonists.

Rene Parent

Baltimore

Head in Sand

Regarding your editorial, "Northern Exposure" (April 19), dealing with Marylanders moving to Pennsylvania (and Virginia and West Virginia) seeking tax savings and other substantial cost savings and living benefits, your "look at the bright side" suggests Maryland is just as well off having them come back home as tourists to the Inner Harbor and Ocean City maybe two or three times a year to spend their money than to have them live here year around spending their money all year around in Maryland.

Pardon me, but I believe your head is in the sand.

John T. Norris

Ellicott City

Narrow Focus

Once again, an economist fails to see the big picture.

Responding to Stephen J. K. Walters' letter arguing against Tim Baker's "Environmental Controls Are Good for Business," I'd question Mr. Walters' prioritization of values. He seems to think environmental concerns are not as urgent as education, health care, etc. The truth is, however, that health and the environment are intertwined. I am sure Mr. Walters' "economic equations" fail to consider the effects of rampant pollution on health care costs.

Maryland is not number one in cancer solely from cigarette smoking. Automobile exhaust is Maryland's major pollutant, fouling both our air and the bay. Mr. Walters never accounts for the sickened bay's detrimental impact on Maryland's economy.

Furthermore, he never mentions the impact of automobile pollution on our already exploding health care insurance costs. His attack on Mr. Baker is based solely on short-sighted economics.

It is obvious that our present system of pollution controls is not working. Two million people are expected to move into Maryland in the next 20 years. Consider the number of cars that will congest our already smog-ridden area. Health care costs will certainly rise (the American Lung Association has proven this), so will costs for our crumbling bridges and roads.

David J. Ptak

Baltimore

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Russian Spying

Those who dream of a peace dividend because they assume the Cold War is over, communism is dead and the Soviet Union has vanished should wake up and read carefully the report of the FBI's counterintelligence chief, Wayne Gilbert.

According to The Sun April 21, Mr. Gilbert said that Russian spying in America -- particularly its efforts to steal weapons technology -- increased in recent months. Whatever Russia is doing in its long-range planning, it is not beating its swords into plowshares.

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