TCFathers' rights, responsibilities need balancingMona...

the Forum

March 28, 1994

TC

Fathers' rights, responsibilities need balancing

Mona Charen, in her article about Baby Jessica ("Revisionist history in the case of Baby Jessica," March 21), seems to want it both ways.

She mentions that Jessica's biological father was required to pay child support for another daughter, Amanda. Yet, though she feels strongly that he should be financially accountable for his children, she does not want him to have custody of Jessica.

FOR THE RECORD - PLEASE READ MEMO.

Ms. Charen feels that biology should not be considered when determining who is to be awarded custody. She agrees with the "experts" who testified that it was not in the best interest of the child to take her away from the DeBoers and concludes that Jessica may be emotionally damaged by a change of custody.

Yet Ms. Charen offers no other reason to conclude that the DeBoers should retain custody of the child, except that they had custody from the time she was born.

She suggests that instead of biology, possession should be the primary factor in determining custody.

This view is part of the problem with our present child support system.

On one hand we decry the very real problem of getting fathers to do their part in supporting a child. Meanwhile we ignore the needs of a child to have a father be a part of their lives.

We want fathers to be responsible for their children but refuse to allow the father's rights to be considered when custody is awarded.

As long as we use possession as the determing factor in awarding custody and establishing visitation, we will continue to have fathers who feel no reason to support their children.

We will never solve this problem unless we tie biological responsibilities directly with biological rights. This may not be the way Ms. Charen would like to get fathers to pay up, but it is the only way that will work.

Joe Otterbein Jr.

Baltimore

Dead Eye

After reading Jay Apperson's article in The Evening Sun on March 11, regarding the Baltimore Yacht Basin and Dan Davis, I found it hard to determine who was after him the most. I am a Baltimore resident, own my home and I love the Dead Eye Saloon.

For over the past year, especially over the summer months, I've spent Sundays with my friends at the Dead Eye. It reminds me of a cross between a neighborhood bar and a Florida fishing camp.

The atmosphere, including the stuffed animals (which were not killed by Dan) is Bohemian and easy. I've heard some great jazz, not heavy metal as the article alludes to.

I also remember how it looked down at the Hanover Street Bridge 10 to 15 years ago: a rundown area where no one wanted to go. Mr. Davis has added on to the entire area. Not only is it a fun, safe and friendly place to go, it's attractive as well.

It appears to me the city has found a market for the Dead Eye, and they've selling Dan out by using his roguish approach to life against him. Anyone who has seen the Nymph approaching the Inner Harbor has to appreciate what bad boy Dan Davis has brought to this city -- continuing character. Wake up, Baltimore, and remember this ain't Towson, hon!

S. K. Holmes

Baltimore

Harbor attractions

Of all the recent ideas for the Inner Harbor, the earthen mounds shaped like a crab was the best. However, it should remain just that, an idea. Such a project, though dirt cheap, could only be experienced from the air.

This is ridiculous. As viewed by the vast majority of Baltimoreans and our city's visitors, it would be perceived as a geological anomaly of no particular importance, or worse -- the unremoved debris of nearby construction with a patina. Any city leader supporting this project should see a phrenologist.

Renovating the brick warehouse by Camden Yards for use as office space is also a mistake. All agree we have excessive commercial office space available in Baltimore.

This stoic building cries out for special treatment and could be imaginatively renovated and managed to provide continuous commercial exposure for Maryland artists and crafts people.

To provide a broader attraction, there should be a strong representation of true factory outlet shops, something for which Marylanders now travel out of state.

With its ample parking and location near the Inner Harbor, it would become a unique retail experience for the locals, Inner Harbor sightseers and convention guests equally. Visitors to the stadium could "make a day" of their trip to Baltimore with shopping so effortlessly available . . .

Thomas E. Dolan

Baltimore

Trivial complaints

After reading of Baltimore County residents' complaints about the grit and dust from the slag used this winter in place of salt, I'm more convinced than ever that some people can't be satisfied no matter what government does for them ("Slag used on roads brings a blizzard of complaint," March 16).

I can hear them whining now that they got the car washed and it's got dust on it now.

Under their breath they curse the county for putting the stuff down, conveniently forgetting how grateful they were when the streets were ice covered.

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