Good news also found in Belair-EdisonYour front-page...

THE FORUM

April 13, 1995

Good news also found in Belair-Edison

Your front-page attention to the innovative efforts in neighborhood preservation by the Belair-Edison community is commendable ("Belair-Edison's efforts fail to stop flight to the suburbs," April 3).

Residents and leaders have taken a sweeping approach to avert decline and disinvestment of the community and have many success stories.

Unfortunately, the good news is shrouded by the headline, which undermines the news value of the article and draws a premature and negative conclusion.

After detailing improvements at two neighborhood elementary schools the writer laments, "But the good news doesn't always filter out to the community." Let's hope the community got past the headline of this story.

Urban flight is old news and a nagging problem for the city. But as Belair-Edison's organizations have shown, flight to the suburbs does not have to result in neighborhood decline.

Ambitious programs of the Belair-Edison Housing Service and St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center have insured that large numbers of homes in the neighborhood have been sold to first-time buyers.

Owner-occupancy is a major factor in neighborhood stability. Lending institutions large and small are investing in the community by offering special mortgage loans to first-time buyers.

Organizing aimed at business revitalization is under way. Signet Bank and Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. have formed a partnership with the communities of Northeast Baltimore to work on housing, education, business development, recreation and public safety.

The news about Belair-Edison is that community and corporate leaders and residents old and new are rolling up their sleeves to meet the challenges of neighborhood preservation.

Barbara Aylesworth

Baltimore

Drinking age OK

A bill before Congress (H.R. 607) would eliminate the penalties for states not in compliance with federal regulations setting a minimum drinking age and requiring motorists to use seat belts, motorcycle helmets and obey the maximum speed limit.

If the penalties are removed, some states may end these requirements. As a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, I am especially concerned about the possible repeal of the minimum drinking age at 21.

This national law has saved 9,000 lives and prevented more than 250,000 injuries since it was enacted in all 50 states.

The proportion of intoxicated drivers, 15 to 20 years old, involved in fatal crashes dropped from 31 percent in 1982 to 15.8 percent in 1993. Repealing this law will reverse this trend and cause many more deaths and injuries to occur.

Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R-Md.) recently signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 607. We are urging everyone, and particularly the constituents from the 2nd District, to contact Mr. Ehrlich and urge him to vote against this bill.

As a person who lost a loved one in a crash involving a drunken driver, I understand the grief and pain caused by such a senseless death.

I would like our nation keep the minimum drinking age at 21 to prevent more people from suffering as I and many others have.

Donna Becker

Baltimore

The writer is state chairperson of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Evil thoughts

Sen. Alfonse D'Amato apologized for making a racially slurred imitation of Judge Lance Ito.

Probably it doesn't change the heart, but only helps damage control in his political and public relations. The next morning, he was saying on national TV that "I wasn't raised that way."

Well, where did it come from? If the senator wasn't raised that way and it did not come from the heart?

When public officials make racially tainted remarks, and enough do, where is the source of this maliciousness and insensitivity?

The sad fact is that, like Senator D'Amato, other white Americans don't want to claim that their public expressions are pre-shaped by what is already in the heart.

Isn't it frightening to wonder just how many white Americans still are capable of thinking and saying what Senator D'Amato exemplified?

If we, for one moment, can theorize that thoughts are as evil as actions, we see that America has not evolved out of the darkness of pre-Civil War mentality as it claims.

Further, it's OK to think it, but just don't say it.

If one can accept that everything in darkness shall be brought to the light, then one day one will not be able to hide anything. Matter of fact, man cannot hide any more.

This is manifested in all things happening today: crime, environmental catastrophes, wars, etc. Evil thoughts are scary.

Jerel Shaw

Baltimore

School lunch debate

The publicity given to protests over cuts in the school lunch program is very misleading.

There has to be a sharp scaling back in many areas and it is most unfair to choose one issue and waste valuable time making one set of law makers appear inhumane.

I spent many years in public schools as a professional and saw vast amounts of food wasted and thrown out by children for whom this program was intended.

As with most federal ventures, it is implemented regardless of true need or practicality.

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