Why folks fleeCould Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke be that stupid...

the Forum

March 09, 1995

Why folks flee

Could Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke be that stupid to tell the legislature that people are fleeing Baltimore City because of high automobile insurance rates?

They are fleeing because of:

A. Outrageous fiscal policy.

B. High crime rate.

C. High taxes.

D. Poor school supervision.

Lewis Ruttenberg

Baltimore

Hidden disabilities

I feel compelled to respond to the reader who wrote to complain about seemingly able-bodied people driving with handicapped permits on their windshields.

I do not presume to speak for other drivers who possess the permits, but can state my need for handicapped parking.

To look at me, you would know that I am handicapped. The truth is, I was born without part of my spine and my back muscles are not attached to my spinal cord.

I have been in severe pain for most of my life and need to wear a brace.

I am fortunate that the combination of a wonderful orthopedic surgeon, my family, daily medication, my brace and my parking sign help make life a little bit easier.

Not too many people outside the family know of my disorder because I have a full-time job and do a lot of volunteer and youth coaching activities.

It took until last year to receive my parking permit because of the stringent screening that takes place at the Motor Vehicle Administration. In 18 months, when my permit expires, I will have to go through the entire process again.

I am challenged almost daily by people like the writer when they see me park in a handicapped parking space. These people do not know me or my circumstances and should not presume that I am "faking" or putting one over on everyone else.

My advice to this reader and others like her is to pay attention to their own lives and let me live mine without judgment. Let them walk for one day in my shoes and with my pain and I am sure they will change their tune.

T. Johnson

Baltimore

Chavis' short memory

In your article "Chavis calls for firing of Rutgers president" (Feb. 21), the Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. referred to Rutgers president Francis Lawrence by saying "I've never in my 47 years read a statement so blatantly racist. The truth of the matter is, if President Lawrence had made an anti-Semitic comment, he would not be president."

Obviously, Dr. Chavis has an extremely short and selective memory.

He should look at some of his own statements and the virulently racist, anti-Semitic statements made by Louis Farrakhan, whom Dr. Chavis embraced when he was executive director of the NAACP.

Perhaps if President Lawrence had made an anti-Semitic comment when the NAACP was under Dr. Chavis' leadership, Dr. Chavis would have welcomed him with open arms.

Adrian W. Osnowitz

Baltimore

English tongue is the link binding nation

As a retired faculty member of Towson State University, and a person who has greatly enjoyed the study of language, I cannot recommend it too highly as a way of developing one's mental faculties and extending one's appreciation of our human family.

Whether it is the beauty of Spanish, the elegance of French, the musicality of Slavic languages or the downright chewy goodness of German, to name but a few, languages form an indispensable and enjoyable part of any curriculum.

However, as an American who cherishes the common nationality that should bind together the unparalleled diversity of our population, I would implore my fellow Marylanders to support the establishment of English as our official language.

Only thus can we ensure that future generations of Hispanic descent and other bi-lingual students are not institutionally handicapped in our society by a primary education in a language other than the common tongue.

Such well-meaning but misguided benevolence would perpetuate the cleavages in our society more surely than any ethnic or racial division.

If we can converse and reason together, we can live and work together. If we can communicate, we can all get along, yet still pursue our own lives and cherish our own cultures.

Just as the Constitution binds together all faiths in one American nation, so the English language with its incredible vitality and synthesizing power can unify all cultures in a single multi-faceted American culture.

English is an almost totally uninflected language, so it is one of the easiest for basic communication. This helps to make it the world's most popular language in commerce, science, and the arts.

Nor can the state (i.e., we, the people) dilute its responsibility to provide adequate instruction in English for all students. After all, we have a state flag, a bird, a flower, a motto -- we even have a state sport (surely, you joust) -- isn't it about time we had a state language?

English is the the Big Tent, and no American should be left out.

Ronald Blum

Timonium

Play ball

The major league baseball team owners, managers and players have been playing hardball too long. Why can't they get along? Don't they know they need each other?

April will soon be here. If they don't put their hard heads together soon and straighten out this ridiculous snafu, baseball will be as extinct as the dodo bird.

Heaven forbid that this great country should lose enthusiasm for its national pastime. Then everybody strikes out.

Get with it! All involved should give in a little for the good of the game, settle this strike and get back on the field and play ball.

Ann Merrill-Berman

Baltimore

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