Closing wallets hurts rather than helpsSo, Mayor Kurt...


November 02, 1995

Closing wallets hurts rather than helps

So, Mayor Kurt Schmoke's solution to the increase in panhandling is to just say no. Just quit feeding the hungry urban animals, and they'll go away when the funds dry up. And the editors of The Sun concur?

For shame! This suggestion could not be more off-base or destructive.

The solution to the increase in panhandling, in general, and aggressive panhandling, in particular, is to make sure people's primary needs are met.

Hey, buddy, can you spare a quarter? A dollar? A sandwich? A warm blanket or a pair of gloves? A doctor who treats the uninsured? Three months in a halfway house?

Let's give the panhandlers more than they are asking for!

Let's make sure that there is enough food, clothing, low-income housing and emergency shelter for Baltimore's poor and homeless population. Let's make sure that they have access to medical care and substance abuse treatment.

While we're at it, let's have Gov. Parris Glendening reinstate the Disability Assistance Loan Program. A survey by the Downtown Partnership determined that 62 percent of people living on the street in Baltimore as former DALP recipients.

Is it really possible that merchants in our community who are angered by the threats panhandlers pose their businesses are not able to connect these two phenomena?

As for Mr. Schmoke's assertion that people should forgo giving to the panhandlers and give their funds instead to charities and non-profits, the two are not mutually exclusive. The leaders of most of these organizations are likely to see the problem as systemic, with not enough resources allocated to meet the needs of the poor and disabled.

The most disadvantaged Baltimoreans need our support, compassion and real resources. Closed wallets and blank stares will not heal anything.

Lauren Siegel


Judge Bothe deserves better

I am a retired Baltimore police officer. I spent years as a homicide investigator and had numerous cases where Elsbeth Bothe was the public defender. Although we were on opposite sides, I found her tough, intelligent and honest.

As a circuit court judge, she was professional, attentive, fair and outspoken -- when appropriate.

I find it inconceivable that her renomination would not be submitted to the entire commission.

It is incredible that there was any discussion of Judge Bothe's age by the same people who last year strongly supported elimination of judicial retirement at age 70.

Judge Bothe has earned the opportunity to let the voters decide whether she deserves a term until the retirement age.

Harold A. Rose


Casino gambling encourages greed

As the discussion continues over the question of bringing casinos to Baltimore, one has to wonder to what extent the modern mind will try to justify something that has no basic merit.

Gambling is taking a chance on getting a lot of somebody else's money. And the more we get for nothing, the more we want more of it. This is called greed, and it is not one of the virtues of human nature. We see it running out of control in many areas of our society today.

One might ask how can our state and city deal effectively with all the other problems when they open the door to another unsavory element.

Maybe Las Vegas is a "safe and good" place to live, but it is in the middle of the desert.

Jean Hammond


Chemicals kill healthy cells

Let me see if I have this straight: Years ago doctors treated children with large doses of chemicals designed to kill rapidly growing cells, such as cancer tissue. Now these doctors have discovered that in the process they have also killed such rapidly growing cells as brain tissue.

And they are surprised?

Karen Guertler


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