Not rabble rousersYour Dec. 28 cartoon by Mike Peters of...

the Forum

January 08, 1993

Not rabble rousers

Your Dec. 28 cartoon by Mike Peters of the Dayton Daily News shows National Rifle Association members as a rabble-rousing group that enjoys the mayhem on the streets.

Since I have been a life member of the NRA for over 40 years, this doesn't sit well with me.

I realize this gentleman has a right to express his opinion -- however asinine it may be.

Joe K. Lilley

Aberdeen

A plan to take back our streets

Last year saw Baltimoreans set a new attendance record: 335 funerals as a result of crimes of violence, many of them drug-related.

Our civic leaders say we should take back our streets. Some call for the National Guard, reminiscent of Somalia, while others would tax us to provide additional police. But citizens deserve a more realistic approach to drugs and violence.

The decay of inner-city neighborhoods seems directly related to the decline of neighborhood business centers. In Forest Park, Waverly, Upton, Sandtown and Brooklyn, crime and drugs are prevalent in the neighborhood business centers. On streets like Old York Road, Whitelock, Woodland, and Cherry Hill Road, the dynamics are the same.

Package liquor stores, delis, Chinese carryouts, laundromats and small grocery stores are trying to survive in the midst of decaying buildings and an idle mass of humanity loitering on corners, doorways, alleys and stoops.

It is a fertile field for schemers, an environment ripe for drug and alcohol abuse and their result -- crimes of violence.

If the mayor and City Council approved the purchase of a boarded-up store in each of these high-crime areas and -- with state and federal assistance -- turned them into police district substations, foot and vehicular patrols could maintain a constant vigil against crime.

Man each station with two officers each eight-hour shift to provide 24-hour coverage. Augment the officers with people and hot-line numbers to the Department of Social Services. Open each substation to volunteer counseling organizations to assist in drug, employment and family counseling.

The result would be a neighborhood-oriented law enforcement-public information center serving a variety of neighborhood needs.

This would be an invaluable tool in police investigations as trust is established. Police officers would no longer be treated with suspicion and hostility. Officers would become persons with names, faces and families.

Most inner-city neighborhoods contain large numbers of long-term homeowners held hostage within their homes. Frustrated, they watch their neighborhoods decline and decay.

These are the people who, along with business and church organizations, will lead the charge to take the streets back -- but only if they are confident that the police department and community services are in the trenches with them.

DTC Wayne E. Lampkin Sr.

Baltimore

Contra sins

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all."

The original sin was the Reagan administration's policy of

creating and training the Nicaraguan contra terrorists who, in trying to overthrow a democratically elected (1984) sovereign popular government, murdered over 35,000 innocent men, women and children.

Our government carried on an illegal, unilateral and immoral surrogate war on a small nation which was not our enemy. The Reagan administration boycotted the World Court when it ruled against U.S. policy and crept away into the night.

When Congress cut off funding for the contra terrorists, President Reagan and his henchmen slinked underground.

There is no doubt in most American minds that Vice President Bush, assistant secretary of state Elliott Abrams and others were among the henchmen.

From this terrible policy arose the whole Iran-contra mess, a policy of lies and deceit on the Nicaraguan people.

President Bush made his bed; sooner or later he will have to lie in it.

Gerald Ben Shargel

Reisterstown

Light rail offers viable alternative

Regarding Vicki Chambers' letter Dec. 30, light rail operations have no effect on the finances and economy of the Mass transit Authority. The legislature has exempted light rail from the 50 percent fare box recovery mandate for two years, which in effect grants the mode a separate subsidy outside of usual funding.

Further, anyone wanting to make a survey of how well a transit line is used should not observe its operations near the outer end of the line.

Lutherville is three closely spaced stops from the northern terminal. There are seven stations between that point and downtown. Inbound trains continue to fill up south of Lutherville, and outbound trains have dispensed a large part of their ridership by the time they reach Seminary Avenue.

The continuing obstacle to full utilization and economy of light rail operations continues to be the missing stations. The Northern Central Railway carried commuters to and from stations at Hollins, Brightside, Lake Ruxton, Riderwood and Seminary Aavenue.

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