TCMickey, Go HomeIncredible! First comes the welcome news...


October 12, 1994


Mickey, Go Home

Incredible! First comes the welcome news that the Disney Corporation had dropped its plans for a theme park near historic Manassas.

Hardly had this story jumped off the press when Gov. William Donald Schaefer and his economic guru Mark Wasserman rushed forward to allow as how Maryland would be an adequate replacement for the failed Virginia attempt.

Their views have to be both short-sighted and ill-conceived. Space needed for the park itself would, as noted, come to about five square miles. Most of this would undoubtedly be our already fast-diminishing farm land, which we can ill afford to lose.

Then the infrastructure required for access roads and other services would consume hundreds and hundreds of acres additionally and millions and millions of dollars.

One of the requirements for a theme park is that it be located near population centers.

As a result, the quality of life of nearby residents would be jeopardized, what with the spawning of nearby motels, restaurants and Dairy Queens, along with traffic problems.

Not by accident were Virginia residents living in the vicinity of the proposed park in the vanguard of those protesting the Disney plan.

Nor would the impact on the environment be inconsequential: air and water pollution as a result of automobile emissions and water run-off occasioned by vast areas of newly paved surfaces.

The Sun's editorial of Sept. 30 notwithstanding, Maryland is not the locale for a Disney theme park.

Abner Kaplan


Demons Within

Denton Watson's proposals (Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 4) regarding future roles for the NAACP are seriously misguided.

Contrary to what Mr. Watson suggests, the NAACP and other African-American groups need to stop blaming "the system" and start providing leadership to their community.

For example, Mr. Watson writes that the NAACP should work to overcome "the genocidal use of the criminal justice system against blacks, especially young black males."

Genocide? What planet is he on? Has he ever noticed the reality that for every young black male who dies at the hands of the criminal justice system, hundreds if not thousands die at the hands of other young black males?

Of course our criminal justice system should be fair; of course we should all fight to fix it where it needs fixing.

But the vast majority of people in prison -- including young black males -- are there because they did something totally unacceptable to society, such as theft or violence.

Our urban communities are in desperate need of moral leadership that vigorously attacks the demons within: people who produce babies they can't support emotionally or financially, and rampant violence often perpetrated by youths raised by youthful parents who can't parent well.

"The system" may be an easier and more comfortable target for Mr. Watson and the NAACP, but it is largely a distraction from the real problem.

If Mr. Watson wants to reduce the number of young black males who are entangled with the criminal justice system, or who are dying young and violently, he should concern himself first with the behavior of young black males, not with "the system."

#Susan M. Battle-McDonald


A Distorted Portrait of Essex Community College

In reference to the article "Essex College resists probe of firings" (Sept. 25) by Joe Nawrozki, I am concerned that it painted a distorted picture of Essex Community College.

Although Mr. Nawrozki spoke with President Donald J. Slowinski about the desire of the American Association of University Professors to visit our campus, his failure to contact me as chief ++ academic officer at the college, despite my phone call to the The Baltimore Sun several weeks ago offering to be interviewed, may account for his inaccurate presentation of some of the other issues. Let me set the record straight.

Professor Edwin Hirschmann, from Towson State University, if accurately quoted, should know better than to draw conclusions based on inaccurate and incomplete information.

We terminated the contracts of nine tenured faculty, not "10 or 12" as he suggests. None of them was replaced with part-time staff.

Affected faculty were given more than a full year's notice following a lengthy participative process resulting in decisions to discontinue several credit programs.

We provided out-placement services to all those in full-time continuing education positions at Essex Community College. They were hardly treated in a "cavalier and unprofessional manner," as Prof. Hirschmann concludes.

James McGrath was not demoted, as the article and his attorney assert. He was promoted.

As a faculty member, his former role as business and management chair was covered by an annually renewable administrative addendum to his faculty contract. In 1991, his administrative addendum was not renewed because of unsatisfactory performance as division chair.

He was, however, promoted to full professor based on an evaluation of his credentials, teaching performance and college service.

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