Guilford case handled with insensitivityNow that we know...

the Forum

August 29, 1994

Guilford case handled with insensitivity

Now that we know who "they" are who killed the doctors in Guilford, maybe we should take a look at the insensitive way in which the situation was handled.

As soon as the murders surfaced, scores of law enforcement personnel went to the crime scene. City officials began considering barricades for the streets of Guilford. One or two residents of the area threatened to leave the city.

Granted: The people of Guilford are an asset to Baltimore. The taxes they pay contribute mightily to the city's coffers. We want them to stay within our boundaries.

When the peace of their neighborhood is breached, they must and should receive attention. Keeping them happy is politically expedient and correct.

But, please! Don't keep Guilford happy by making us "out here" feel that murders in Reservoir Hill, Lower Park Heights and other inner city neighborhoods don't matter as much.

Or that crimes occurring in places where poverty and drugs abide deserve less attention. Or that those who commit brutalities always come from "over there."

God forbid that further murders should come to Guilford. But if they do, can residents and city officials postpone judgment instead of assuming that "you know who" committed the crime?

Can the police concentrate on finding the guilty parties instead of proposing instant and ill-considered solutions?

Can Baltimoreans who don't live in Guilford be made to feel that murders in their neighborhoods will be investigated as swiftly and as thoroughly as they were in Guilford and that all the resources of the Police Department will be committed to solving them?

Magdalene B. Fennell


One plan for all

After reading the article, "America wants what Congress has," in The Evening Sun Aug. 20, I agree with Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Pa., that hundreds of Americans have lost their health insurance but not one member of Congress has.

I also agree with Charles Leonard, who was quoted in the article. Why should members of Congress keep their insurance no matter what action they take on reform?

Isn't it the aim to have everybody covered by a universal health plan? Doesn't universal mean all?

The article stated, "The federal program, which covers 9 million people, has succeeded in holding down costs, making it a model for some would-be health reformers." It continued, saying that both the House and Senate Democratic bills would open up the program to millions of Americans outside the federal system, but with a catch.

The program for federal workers, Congress and the president would be kept separate from the program for other Americans for several years to protect federal participants against possible higher costs caused by sudden expansion.

Why should some be handled differently? One universal health plan!

Omer R. Hare


Clean up the town

We applaud Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's initiative to clean up Baltimore's streets. Those of us who have not been cloistered in City Hall for the past half-dozen years know that the littered streets and alleyways are not a new problem.

Clearly, it is not enough to provide decent sanitation services only in the areas visible to Inner Harbor tourists.

The mayor is also to be congratulated for linking the continued employment of Department of Public Works supervisors to the current push for cleaner streets.

While this may be galling to some employees, perhaps the mayor is trying to apply a simple standard to municipal employment: "Having a job means getting the job done."

We are concerned, however, that this directive not be interpreted as a one-time effort.

Following the police raids of the Greenmount corridor and Middle East neighborhoods, tons of trash were hauled away by the Department of Public Works.

Long-ignored residents probably didn't stop the crews to ask why tons of trash had been allowed to accumulate in the first place.

Maintaining a decent standard of cleanliness in Baltimore is not a stop-and-go proposition. If keeping Director of Public Works George Balog and his supervisors on notice is what it takes, so be it.

As for characterizing the mayor's action as "Schaeferesque," perhaps he has come to realize his predecessor's wisdom in this area.

No one wants to buy a home on a dirty street; no business wants to invest in a filthy district; no resident's morale can remain high after cleaning up his neighborhood, only to run into the indifference of a city agency.

We hope that this represents a new commitment to Baltimore neighborhoods, and that the mayor's standards for all city agencies are set as high as those for public works.

Townes C. Coates


The writer is president of Citizens United for the Revitalization of Baltimore (CURB).

What county schools ask and don't tell

Recently the Baltimore County public schools commissioned a survey to ascertain if parents thought their children were receiving a quality education, and determine how much the public knows about outcome-based education (OBE) and Goals 2000.

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