Flea market nets cash for cityAs a flea market dealer and...

the Forum

October 05, 1992

Flea market nets cash for city

As a flea market dealer and shopper and a full time Health Care Financing Administration employee, I was outraged that the city of Baltimore has tried to squash the new Memorial Stadium flea market.

After hearing Baltimore city officials cry for so many months, while the bidding war for the new HCFA site raged, that the suburbs were stealing business from the city, Baltimore decides that it does not want the formerly suburban Edmondson flea market dealers and shoppers in the city.

There must be something I do not understand here. There is certainly a lot less noise at the flea market than was generated by the ballgames, which often did not end until late at night during the work week.

In addition, promoter Jay Harris keeps the flea market fenced in and cleans the parking lot very thoroughly at the end of the day.

Finally, the parking problems generated by the 500 customers per hour at the flea market are minuscule compared to the problems generated by the fair held there recently or the 40,000 to 50,000 baseball fans that clogged the area during the evening rush hour. Does Councilman Wilbur Cunningham want to see NFL football banned at Memorial Stadium also?

Not only would Baltimore lose the estimated $2,000 a week from promoter Jay Harris, but it would also lose some of the sales and income taxes generated by the market. Many of the thousands of customers who come to the market every weekend (one antique dealer I know comes from Gettysburg) stay in the area for the day to enjoy the city's other offerings. For you cash-strapped city officials who do not understand they spend more money within the city boundaries, which generates more money for the city treasury.

Finally, the compromise offer of the parking lot at the old Eastern High School for the flea market also has its problems.

It is far too small and the lot is in total disrepair. This will hurt the market in the long run, as many dealers who sell higher-end merchandise such as antiques and collectibles will look for a better and cleaner location.

The market will then lose its attractive, festival-like atmosphere as it slowly becomes just another junk market and the suburbanites will stay home.

I hope that the city will admit its hasty decision was wrong by again allowing the flea market to be held at the Memorial Stadium parking lot. In these tough economic times, everyone in Baltimore will benefit from the revenue it generates and the 33d Street area will again offer the local community a new focal point to replace some of what the Orioles took with them to the new stadium.

John P. Albert

Hampstead

New district lines unfair to some voters

Regarding Robert Erlandson's Sept. 14 article in The Sunday Sun about Maryland's new 11th Legislative District ("Redistricting Turns Political Friends Into Bitter Rivals Vying For New Turf"), I find it ironic that so little attention has been given to what many public officials believe to be the true crime committed during February 1992 -- the shuffling of thousands of Baltimore County residents into legislative districts dominated by Baltimore City.

Nowhere is the harmful political gerrymandering more blatant than in my present 10th District, where large segments of communities such as Ruxton and Riderwood have been shoved into the city's 42nd District.

This attempt at the wholesale disenfranchisement of Baltimore County citizens is really a "two for one" by the Democrat leadership. The new lines effectively negate the votes of more conservative, Republican-oriented voters in these areas while giving Baltimore City more legislative seats (and political clout) than its dwindling population would otherwise justify. One-party politics at its finest!

I should add that other Baltimore County citizens in Pikesville, Dundalk and Arbutus-Catonsville suffered the same fate, a fact almost totally ignored in your coverage of legislative redistricting to date.

Hopefully, the numerous suits now filed in the federal District Court for Maryland and the Maryland Court of Appeals will result in more sensible lines that properly respect existing political boundaries and communities of interest.

If not, "taxation without representation" will be the unfortunate legacy of this last-ditch attempt to generate "seats for the city."

If the courts should fail to rectify these injustices, however, I sincerely hope Baltimore County voters will remember this insult when selecting a new governor and General Assembly in 1994.

Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.

Timonium

The writer is a delegate for the 10th Legislative District in Baltimore County.

Unfair helmet law

With all due respect to the Maryland State Police and Governor Schaefer, the recent decisions concerning the helmet law are unfairly aggressive and untimely.

The helmet law is good and I support it. But I also supported the seat-belt law and never saw even a nominal effort made to enforce it.

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