Treat your block like your front yardIn the recent weeks...

the Forum

September 23, 1994

Treat your block like your front yard

In the recent weeks you have published several articles describing the trash problems in Baltimore City and efforts by city administrators and local residents to find a solution.

The solution is actually very simple and only takes a little effort on the part of neighborhood residents. Treat the city block on which you reside as your ''front yard.''

As a native Midwesterner, I remember spending several hours each week mowing the grass in my family's front yard, edging the driveway, picking up small bits of trash, etc. Though my primary interest was earning a little pocket change from my parents, I also took pride in how nice the yard looked when I finished.

When I moved to the Ridgely's Delight neighborhood in 1992, two of my neighbors used to spend about an hour each week sweeping the sidewalks and curbs of our street. After one of them retired and moved away, I began helping the other in what is now a weekly ritual of sweeping our block clean.

While it is rare to have a true front yard with grass and landscaping in the rowhouse neighborhood setting, I like to think my block is my ''front yard.'' When it looks good, my neighborhood looks good. I also have noticed that when the block remains relatively clean, pedestrians are less likely to litter.

Citizens cannot expect the Department of Public Works to be solely responsible for keeping neighborhoods clean. From my perspective, the DPW does a good job in their twice-a-week trash pickups, and it responds well to requests for bulk trash pickups. But we should not assume that city workers can or will do everything.

All it takes is one hour per week by a handful of dedicated neighbors to keep an entire block relatively clean and free of litter. Obviously nobody can keep a block perfectly spotless, but weekly or at least occasional cleaning shows respect for the appearance of our ''front yards.''

It's like anything else: If we show respect, then hopefully others will learn respect.

Steven Hegg


Failed '50s

With the foresight of those who ride in the observation lounge of a fast-moving train, the Christian right sees a fleeting glimpse of what has already passed and is fading rapidly into a diminishing perspective.

In their ignorance they look to the ethos of the 1950s for simplistic answers to complex problems.

Are they incapable of knowing that was the age of Joe McCarthy, ''Negroes to the back of the bus,'' the Organization Man and the innocents who marched off without question to the horror of Pork Chop Hill?

Rather than an "Ozzie and Harriet" fairy tale, the 1950s should be remembered for those ''visionaries'' who would have created a nightmare and called their effort ''the American dream.''

George W. Morgan Jr.


Why Barry won

Marion Barry won because he reached out to those who felt ignored by the system. That feeling is understandable if you've ever experienced rejection.

In my former neighborhood we were plagued by prostitutes, and the fight with the police was as vivid as the fight with the lawless.

The arm of the law only reached out with meaningful support after Jacques Kelly profiled our plight in The Evening Sun. The same sentiment Washingtonians felt exists in my present neighborhood, as form letters from the mayor's office explain, in bureaucratic terms, why a request has been denied.

People like to believe that they are important. When a hand is extended, we reach out to it.

McNair Taylor


Heart of gold

It was a pleasure to read the Sept. 11 article on Maria Taylor in The Sunday Sun.

I appreciate Mrs. Taylor. She has a heart of gold -- so pure, so warm. Mrs. Taylor takes the time to do nice things for so many people.

She has a sunny disposition that radiates happiness, making all in her presence feel her joy of life. Her laughter and individual way of looking at things bring a very special joy that can't be duplicated.

Maria Taylor is one of a kind.

Joyce Newsome


Hunting zoo animals is a disgrace to true hunters

Regarding your article on zoo animals ("Zoo animals allegedly sold for hunting," Sept. 13) and Jill Valenstein's letter ("We must take time to value Baltimore wildlife," The Forum, Sept. 13):

First the article about the sale of zoo animals for killing by people who want to call themselves hunters is disturbing.

This invariably causes people who don't know any better to lump these people together with true hunters who honor their quarry and abide by the rules of fair chase and honesty.

People involved in these unsavory practices are no more hunters than people who write for tabloid newspapers are reporters. They both bludgeon their quarries to a pulp, then throw the bloody mess at your feet and await the accolades.

As to Humane Society spokesman Wayne Pacelle's claim about the ease with which a poacher can avoid the legalities and bureaucracy involved with hunting, he again shows his bigotry and ignorance toward hunting.

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