LA Riots, new ballyard of sam diseaseThe glare of Los...

the Forum

May 14, 1992

LA Riots, new ballyard of sam disease

The glare of Los Angeles sheds harsh light on the reality of Baltimore's new ballpark--whom it benefits and whom it leaves out.

We have a chance to reflect on the well-heeled performers and businessmen who occupy it,on our society that built it and on the fans who can and cannot take advantage of it.

After all, if the L.A. riots point up unequal participation in American life and its benefits, if they come out of excluding people from mainstream life and opportunities, then how should we judge a public policy decision that shifts an institution such as the Baltimore Orioles from serving the general community to serving a more limited, upscale community.

I hope the Evening Sun will report on the racial and economic composition of fans in the stands. Do those fans represent a reasonable mix of Baltimore area citizens, or was Camden Yards a gift from the taxpayers to a privileged few? Is Oriole Park to be a source of public pride or discontent.

Given alternative uses of the money (such as extending the subway system to Memorial Stadium), given the penalties for creating a more divided society, and given the need to create a hopeful vision for urban society in the future, these are no small matters for future planning and spending .

`Arthur Milholland, M.D.

Silver Spring

The writer is past president of Baltimore Physicians for Social Responsibility and a board member of Baltimore Jobs With Peace.

Illegal searches

Five Baltimore City narcotics officers were notified April 28 that they were being investigated for botching drug raids and discrediting the police force. One week before that, charges against the officers by Baltimore State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms were dropped after Circuit Court Judge Andre M. Davis said the misstatements on the search warrants were immaterial and inconsequential.

This is the same state's attorney who authorized a search of the Maryland Committee Against the Gun Ban headquarters on the eve of the 1988 general election.

Armed with a subpoena signed by Mr. Simms, five policemen ordered the staff of the committee to line up against the wall while they tore the office apart in an attempt to find documentation that "walking-around money" was being used.

If a family is wronged by otherwise well-intentioned narcotics officers, Baltimore City must drop charges against scores of drug dealers and hound the officers with indictments.

But if five officers invade a campaign headquarters of a group trying to protect citizens' constitutional right to bear arms, that is in the eyes of Mr. Simms.

Michael J. Davis


An economic appeal to end racism

The recent events concerning the beating of Rodney King, the subsequent acquittal of the responsible police officers, and the resultant "firestorm" of criticism and civil unrest have served to highlight not African America's plight within America, but white America's racist economic and social practices.

The primary racial problem facing America today is not whether or not African Americans should or shouldn't be fully incorporated within the American fabric.

The real question is whether or not white America has the presence of mind and the foresight to understand and acknowledge the reality that unless the incorporation does occur, America will soon be relegated to the world economic status of an "also ran," and eventually be consigned to the trash heap of world history.

No mention of moral or ethical responsibility has been made here because many of the basic tenets of the "majority society" are racist and exclusionary. Therefore, an appeal to long-term economic reason should be more effective than any other approach.

In short, white America must come to understand and accept the reality that the world's demographics have changed to the degree that America must become much more racially cohesive if it is to remain a world economic power and competitor.

The acknowledged and unacknowledged practitioners of racism in this country would be serving their continuing interests much more faithfully if their efforts were redirected at ensuring American's economic and patriotic survival.

Unfortunately, that reality has virtually no chance of coming to fruition until a genuinely concerned and pragmatic leadership emerges to remove the blinders of racial bigotry and egocentrism from the eyes and minds of white America.

Tragically, there is none on the horizon.

J. Mangum


The police story no one sees

With all the talk about police brutality, I'd like everyone to know about our officers in Precinct 9, which is the White Marsh-Parkville area.

My daughter Shannon, an eighth grade student at Perry Hall Middle School, participated last year in the D.A.R.E. program. Since that time, she's talked non-stop about becoming a police officer and was very impressed with the officer who taught the course.

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