Strategies for the Inner HarborAs an Inner Harbor resident...

the Forum

August 10, 1994

Strategies for the Inner Harbor

As an Inner Harbor resident (Scarlett Place), I was pleased something might be done about the sadly vacant Power Plant. I pass this building each day and keep hoping someone will come up with a creative idea for it.

But now Alex. Brown & Sons has politely turned down Mayor Kurt Schmoke's offer of the space, and that is disappointing.

SportsCenter USA wants the rights for a "sports-themed, virtual-reality" entertainment center. Why not a "reality-reality" sports center?

The cavernous Power Plant could easily house an ice rink, bowling alleys and indoor tennis courts.

Another thought, would it be possible to move the Museum of Industry into this space? It would certainly be an appropriate location. This fine museum is so far off the beaten path it is often ignored as a downtown attribute.

Concerning the Fishmarket, to refer to it as "boarded-up" is an understatement. This fine, former entertainment center is a bashed-in eyesore. With the windows and doors broken through it is on its way to becoming an unauthorized homeless shelter.

But why put a "children's" museum there? Why not a museum that children will find attractive? Placing the adjective "children" in front of anything automatically makes people over the age of 12 want to shun it.

As a lucky Baltimorean who visited the Fishmarket when it was open, I though it great.

Although Gov. William Donald Schaefer decries offices moving to the Inner Harbor, I disagree. Any profitable use of vacant property is advantageous to the city.

Hopefully both the Power Plant and the Fishmarket will one day enjoy a well-deserved renaissance.

R. E. Nester


Gun registration

Marylanders have been slow in filing gun registrations to comply with Maryland's newest gun-control law. There is good reason why only 10 guns have been registered to comply with the new law.

Mike Pretl of the gun-grabbers group, Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse (MAHA), is quoted as saying, "I suppose it means many of the people who use these pistols plan to use them illegally." Wrong! It means most honest citizens do not trust government gun-registration programs.

Gun-grabbers will say, This is America and honest gun-owners have nothing to fear from government. Wrong again!

We need only look back in recent history to see Americans do need to fear government-produced "gun-registration lists."

In the 1980s a mayor of San Francisco decided gun registration would allow police to track "criminal" weapons. This mayor promised he would never take an honest citizen's guns.

He kept his promise. But, "government's foot was in the door."

After taking office, new Mayor Dianne Feinstein decided San Francisco should ban the possession of all handguns. Anyone owning a handgun was to take it to a police station and drop it off. No compensation provided.

How would you feel owning a customized competition pistol worth over $1,000 and being told to drop it off for destruction?

When less than 1 percent of handguns were turned in, the mayor ordered police to use "gun registration lists" to determine who owned the handguns.

Former Mayor Feinstein is now U.S. Senator Feinstein (D-Cal.). And she is still pushing for more gun-control, including "registration."

Hunters, who may not own a handgun, may see nothing wrong with gun registration.

They need to look at New York City. In 1967, rifle owners were required to register their rifles. Then in 1991, a law passed banning certain rifles. Thousands of honest citizens, who obeyed the "registration" law, were suddenly stripped of their right to own rifles.

Honest gun owners: When government or groups like MAHA tell you registration lists will not be used to confiscate your firearms, do you believe them? Based on history, I don't.

Aleta Handy


Social investments

It continues to amaze me how outsiders want to tell pension fund trustees what investments to divest.

In 1986, as president of the Baltimore Retired Police Benevolent Association, I opposed divestiture in South Africa for several reasons: The retirees would have been hurt monetarily; pension funds should not become involved in social issues and, finally, it would open the floodgates for other social causes.

Since then we have had Northern Ireland and a nuclear proposal as pension issues. Now there is talk of tobacco. What next?

I do know one social investment proposal that will not reach the council floor. That is the Timothy plan, which screens out companies directly or indirectly involved in vice, alcohol, tobacco, gambling -- and abortion.

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. only touched the tip of the iceberg when he said "[the investments are] ill-advised and arguably hypocritical and just plain wrong."

If that is true, what about the city, state and federal governments balancing their budgets on taxes reaped from tobacco products?

If it is wrong to invest pension money in the tobacco industry, isn't it more wrong to operate the government on taxes from the tobacco industry?

Joseph E. Seigmund Jr.


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