Mt. Vernon PlaceIn response to Jacques Kelly's article...

the Forum

December 21, 1992

Mt. Vernon Place

In response to Jacques Kelly's article, "Despite its clean monument, Mt. Vernon looks seedy and tired" (Dec. 7), there are no "well-intending church communities," rather communities of faith responding to a gospel of love for all humans.

As pastor of one of the churches and a resident of the Mt. Vernon Place community, I resent the implication of this article.

Long before any of the faith communities began addressing any of the social issues in our neighborhood, the homeless, the "pan handlers," the street people were there. I have lived here long enough to know.

Anyone who has carefully monitored and studied the various social programs that the faith communities carry out (as we have) knows that there is less problem surrounding those serving times than at other times of the days, nights, hours.

Perhaps the city and state governments need to address these issues. The now lead-free monument, the steam-cleaned sidewalks around it, and the fireworked opening might well be indicative of where our priorities lie. Might this money not have been better spent?

Mt. Vernon may appear "seedy" to Mr. Kelly, but its residents and major institutions are struggling with little or no help from the city in any way. It is as though the city could not care less.

If it is tired, it is because we are. Walk with me any time and watch how I pick up trash constantly. Can we blame this on the homeless, hungry, etc.? I think not, but on those who live in the area or those who pass through.

Still, I will continue, as will others who care, to strive to make Mt. Vernon one of the best places to live, work and play, and share the love that came even at this time of the year -- for all humans.

Edwin A. Ankeny

Baltimore

The writer is pastor of Mt. Vernon Place United Methodist Church.

Proud of U.S. for doing right in Somalia

I have always been glad that I am an American, though I am a minority born in the deep South during the "early days." There have not been many occasions, however, when I was proud to be an American.

One such occasion occurred recently when President Bush ordered ordered American troops to Somalia in order to protect the food supplies there.

There is no Communist threat in Somalia. Somalia has no vital raw material. There are no important military bases in the area. He did it, and most Americans including this writer agree, because it was, simply put, the right thing to do.

TV and the movies depict us as the champions of the underdog. Our hero rides into town where the bad boys run roughshod. Our hero dispatches the ruffians, restores law and order and rides off into the sunset amid the cheers of the townspeople and the sighs of the love-stricken maidens.

Recent history, however, tells a completely different story. The forces that drive us now seem to be not law and order but fear and greed. The fear of communism and the desire to enrich ourselves at the expense of others have caused us to lie down with despots and call murderers and cut-throats "freedom fighters."

Does the action in Somalia signal a return to yesteryear, to the days when the freedom of others was just as important to us as our own? Perhaps. Only time will tell.

It is my belief that our cherished institutions cannot be saved by superior military forces or advanced technology but by a firm and affirmative answer to that age old question: "Am I my brother's keeper?"

George C. Molloy

Baltimore

Steinberg: Budget woes don't justify use of keno

Maryland's Senate should be commended for holding a public hearing regarding keno on Dec. 15.

The Legislature is the component of government closest to the people and has the right as well as the obligation to be an active participant in the development of public policy. The dramatic expansion of gambling activities in this state, as well as review of substantial public expenditures, are definitely relevant public policy issues.

. . .I am writing to focus on the real issue before the General Assembly, that is, should the state of Maryland attempt to balance its budget by the authorization of casino-like gambling?

I have always opposed casino-like gambling as a means of balancing the state budget. The game of keno as proposed is unlike any traditional lottery.

It is a continuous invitation to people to risk their hard-earned dollars in rapid-like succession. Some experts say it is one of the most addictive forms of gambling because it is readily available around the clock, instantaneous and supported and sponsored by the state with a substantial marketing budget.

It has been stated that the critics of keno have not offered alternatives and, therefore, keno is the only means available to address the budget deficit and should be summarily adopted. This is not only factually inaccurate but is a blatant illustration of the adage, "The ends justify the means." . . .

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