City housing messThe residents of Lexington Terrace are...

the FORUM

February 05, 1993

City housing mess

The residents of Lexington Terrace are grateful that help is, finally, on the way, but where was the help all this time?

Isn't the complex under the direction of managers accountable for maintenance and other concerns? More to the point, as Harry S. Truman stated, "The buck stops here."

However, in the case of Baltimore City, the theme seems to be "the buck passes by." Also, the presence of a high elected official spending the night is a virtual guarantee that crime and debris will be minimized. Will anyone return after the officials leave?

McNair Taylor

Baltimore

Checkups should include a skin exam

It is imperative to include skin cancer screening and sun protection in the list of 1993 resolutions discussed by Dr. Genevieve Matanoski in "Resolving to take care of No. 1 in 1993" (Jan. 12).

Although the article was directed toward women, the following information and recommendations are important for both men and women:

Malignant melanoma is the eighth most common skin cancer in the United States today. The incidence of new cases of malignant melanoma is increasing at a rate of approximately 6 percent a year. At current rates, about one in 100 Americans born today will have a melanoma in their lifetime.

Morbidity and mortality can be reduced by early detection and treatment. The two most common kinds of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, rarely spread to other parts of the body.

They do, however, spread locally and can cause significant disfigurement and require extensive surgery if not treated early.

An annual physical examination should include a full skin examination by a primary care physician who is knowledgeable about skin examination or by a board-certified dermatologist. Any suspicious lesions should be attended to promptly.

In addition to the advice that a patient receives concerning smoking, limiting alcohol ingestion, diet and exercise, a patient should be advised on self-examination of the skin, sun protection and sun avoidance.

Risa M. Jampel, M.D.

Owings Mills

Mistaken identity

Reading M. Dion Thompson's account of being a black man stopped and questioned by the police, I noted that he obviously knew what to expect and what to do to avoid a real fiasco ("Soon the police cars would come. I was black. Dontay Carter was on the loose," Jan. 24).

I am a retired police sergeant from Baltimore City, and I have seen this scene played out numerous times.

What are the police supposed to do when they receive a call that describes the suspect as a black male, 5'5" to 5'9," weighing 130 to 150 pounds, dressed in dark clothes and heading in a certain direction? This description fits about 30 percent of black men in Baltimore.

If you fail to react you are not doing your job. If you act then you are harassing a segment of the population. This is a real problem for both black men and the police. There is no easy answer.

The police must act aggressively but not in a brutal or demeaning manner. The Baltimore County officers apparently did the right thing, otherwise Mr. Thompson would have filed a complaint.

Let's hope all encounters between the police and the community turn out as well. We as citizens have to accept the fact that for a safe society the police must act and that failure to do so will turn life as we know it into anarchy.

Edward Mattson

Towson

Educating drivers

In light of the incredible rise in motor vehicle deaths among our young citizens, I would like to see Maryland pass a law that would require all persons wishing to obtain a driver's license to partake in a mandatory course (in addition to driver's education) that would vividly expose these youngsters to the devastation of drinking and driving.

This proposed course would be a pre-requisite for driver's ed and would be paid for by the individual, not the state. I believe that it is so important to impress upon our future generation of drivers that the responsibility has to begin with them, and it is our responsibility as adults to insist on new guidelines and requirements.

What can we do to assure ourselves that we are doing the best to educate these kids? They deserve the benefit of an informative program that will make an impact. They need to see, and hear, firsthand how drinking and driving has destroyed many bright futures.

With a new administration coming into office and many promises of change, let's get involved and push for more education, more state regulations and more involvement in the privilege of obtaining a driver's license.

Becky Boyle

Lutherville

Now that a Democrat is in the White House . . .

When an African-American friend was asked whether a Democrat or Republican in the White House would make a difference for African-Americans, he replied, "Hell no!" It's not difficult to understand his pessimism. It reflects all that has gone wrong in the African-American community over the last 12 years of Bush-Reagan.

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