Ugly BuildingHow fortunate readers are to have Edward...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 16, 1994

Ugly Building

How fortunate readers are to have Edward Gunts as their architectural critic. He knows Baltimore well, has the city's interests at heart and yet is not afraid to speak with admirable candor about what is happening or should happen on the architectural scene.

His recent critical comments concerning the Constellation Center were right on the mark.

I dare say there are not many folks around who feel this graceless building has done anything but diminish the aesthetics the Inner Harbor. It has been a blight from day one.

Mr. Gunts' suggestion that the structure be used as a visitors' center while the Constellation is being repaired makes sense. As he observed, "The only thing worse than an ugly building is a useless, ugly building."

Janet Heller

Baltimore

Official Language

Your editorial urging Gov. William Donald Schaefer to veto a bill establishing English as Maryland's "official language" is beyond comprehension ("Schaefer's Veto Targets," May 4).

If I were to set out a long-range plan for the destruction of democracy in Maryland or in the United States, I would require all languages to be officially accepted.

That would allow each family to decide what the official language of their school, their community and their business would be.

In a few generations, we could easily approach what we now see in Yugoslavia. One only needs to look at the present scene in Canada to see the serious strife created between English- and French-speaking provinces.

Our objective should be to have a single language for all official business in Maryland and in the United States and to require that students who graduate from secondary schools be able to speak two languages fluently.

Our 21st century citizens must be bilingual to meet the challenges they will face unless the country is willing to accept a second-class status among the nations of the world.

Your assertion that the bill is racism is an ugly charge. I would like your newspaper to have printed the voting record on this bill.

James M. Holway

Ellicott City

Election Spending

Many people want term limits, campaign spending reform and an end to the impact money has on determining who represents the people in government.

The average cost to get elected to a state Senate seat, a part-time job that pays $28,000 a year, was $79,426. Senate President Mike Miller has a $382,910 campaign slush fund. House Speaker Casper R. Taylor, Jr. plans to have a $200-a-plate fund-raiser.

Cynicism is merited when one considers the above examples. How can the average person be truly served by a government that appears to be such a plutocracy?

We need to consider ending these practices and at least limiting spending to no more than the yearly salary paid for any elected office.

Additionally, perhaps it's time to examine limiting campaign fund-raising and spending to the 45 days before the primary.

When we see professional politicians perpetrating the problems that people are so fed up with -- high taxes, lack of courage in dealing with controversial issues, even naming bridges and public buildings after their cronies -- it's time to say "enough" and return government to the people from the arrogance demonstrated by the huge sums of money involved in the current political process.

Geoff Smoot

Hebron

Auction Blues

Your editorial "Disappointing Home Festival" (May 4) was in my opinion inevitable from day one.

We have a number of outstanding auctioneers in Baltimore who are obviously much more familiar with the city than any out-of-town auctioneer could possibly be. To hire an out-of-town firm and subsidize it was ridiculous.

I would not be surprised if actual expenses to the auctioneer did not exceed the amount received by the city for these houses.

This type of sale should be tried again, and the city should ask local auctioneers to submit proposals to handle the sale and its costs.

Alleck A. Resnick

Baltimore

Don't Discount Animal Rights

You state that the Clinton administration is taking stronger action to protect animal rights in Taiwan than human rights in China (Editorial, April 15). I disagree.

Conservation measures and environmental protection are human rights. Extinction is forever and irreversible. If human ignorance, stupidity and greed destroy a species, the rest of humanity, present and future, can no longer see that life form in the flesh. . .

There is greater urgency in protecting an endangered species than in fostering human rights, because there is less time. . .

George Schaller, naturalist, has warned that lion bones and bones of smaller cats can be substituted for tiger bones when the tigers are gone and the customers will not be the wiser.

This superstition that exotic animal parts are good for health or potency already extends to other animal species.

As one species declines, another will take its place and be destroyed.

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