Olive TreesSo Doug Struck decided to do an in-depth story...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 28, 1993

Olive Trees

So Doug Struck decided to do an in-depth story of olive trees in the West Bank, reportedly damaged by Israeli settlers (Nov. 17).

He went to great lengths to describe the importance of these trees to the Arab population.

At the same time exactly one paragraph was devoted to the killing of an Israeli settler by Palestinians which precipitated this event.

Perhaps the more important "in-depth" story would have been an interview with this victim's family regarding the impact his murder was having on his loved ones.

Michael Langbaum

Baltimore

Job Export

The North American Free Trade Agreement bill has passed, but at what cost? Proponents of the bill called it free trade and loudly labeled opponents as isolationists and protectionists rather than address the substance of the bill and devote their efforts to making much-needed improvements in it.

As Rep. Richard A. Gephardt so aptly put it, "We cannot approve a treaty that only protects the rights of business and does not protect the rights of workers."

The sovereignty issues of turning over decision-making regarding U.S. business and trade disputes to an international body is a very serious matter, which should have been addressed.

In addition, the president bought votes by spending taxpayers' money in ways he would not have done ordinarily. I believe that American taxpayers are sick and tired of presidents and other elected officials spending our money in this manner, especially with a debt of $4 trillion and rising by a $1 billion each day.

L If that is politics as usual, it is past time it be stopped.

Clara D. Kimbro

Columbia

Hackneyed

Jack Germond's front page story on the election results (Nov. 4) was a classic example of the flawed reasoning of the so-called Washington pundits. The cock crows every day, the sun rises every day; therefore the cock caused the sunrise.

Democrats do tend to raise taxes more than Republicans. Three high-profile Democrats lost that election day. But taxes had very little to do with the results. President Clinton, racism and anger at Gov. Douglas Wilder and Sen. Chuck Robb were not major factors in any election.

Mayor David Dinkins is a nice guy, but incompetent. Gov. Jim Florio lied in his 1989 campaign about not raising taxes, like President Bush, and he paid the price. It was not the taxes, it was the deceit that killed him. Mary Sue Terry was just a terrible campaigner.

Instead of pontificating on national trends perhaps our own paper could tell us some meaningful political news.

Give us reality with which to make our decisions, not Jack Germond's hackneyed perceptions.

Melodye L. Fulton

Baltimore

Urban Renewal Restrictions

Your editorial, "Harry Homeowner Breaks the Rules" (Nov. 8), touched a raw nerve much closer to home than Crofton.

Right here in Baltimore's Montgomery Urban Renewal District, we, too, have restrictive covenants. Unlike those in Crofton, however, ours are codified in law, written and, supposedly enforced by the City of Baltimore itself.

The irony of our situation is that, too often, when Harry Homeowner breaks the law, the city refuses to enforce it.

Indeed, Baltimore City officials have been known to support Harry (in the issuance of permits, before the Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals, and in court) at the expense of his neighbors, his community and the covenants themselves. Thus these covenants, whose very purpose is to promote and ensure community cohesion and improvement, produce exactly the opposite result.

Why does this occur? Over the years, a small number of selfish Harrys have learned that they can beat the system by erecting structures or "improvements" in violation of the covenants (often literally in the dark of night), and then plead ignorance, poverty, confusion or all three.

Sometimes they lie to their neighbors and to the city; sometimes they dare the city, and the community organization must sue the city to enforce the very laws the city enacted to protect the community in the first place.

. . . In this era of asking citizens to do more as government is forced to do less, the City of Baltimore can simply not afford to lose the dedication and talent of those community volunteers who give so freely of their time, expertise and money to help improve the quality of life in this city. . . .

We know where The Sun stands with regard to covenants in Crofton. Where does it stand with regard to covenants, their enforcement, and the city's responsibility, in Baltimore?

Jerry Wachtel

Baltimore

Euro-tunnel-vision

I usually enjoy reading William Pfaff's Opinion * Commentary column, but I am puzzled when he argues that the U.S. is shifting too much attention from Europe to other parts of the world.

His Nov. 8 column suggests that the U.S. may be overstating China's potential impact on the world, as we have done a number of times before.

This may be true. But it's still a big jump to suggest, as he and other commentators have in the past, that the U.S. should continue to concentrate mainly on Europe.

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