Bill Boucher bridged the cityThere is another -- and less...


November 24, 1995

Bill Boucher bridged the city

There is another -- and less well known -- chapter to be added to the already eloquent eulogies of Bill Boucher as a great leader in the business community.

He was more than an articulate spokesman for the business community's perspective. He helped create bridges between black and white, downtown and neighborhood, employer and worker. He even built bridges across the chasm between himself and his own organization.

In 1973, I was the executive director of the Southeast Community Organization, which had been organized by community leaders in Fells Point, Canton, Highlandtown and Patterson Park to fight "the highway" and others issues of deterioration in the community. The completion of the interstate highway system to the downtown was one of the highest priorities of the Greater Baltimore Committee, of which Mr. Boucher was then the executive director. SECO and the other umbrella organizations sought his help with a coordinated approach to the business community.

Mr. Boucher saw the importance of the neighborhood organizing method and agreed to help us. Approaching the GBC leadership was not so easy. SECO was well-known for opposing them vigorously and directly on their major highway agenda. Mr. Boucher's statesman-like vision and skills enabled him to convince those leaders that on 90 percent of the issues they would be in agreement with the community organization. He also persuaded them that downtown would not move forward if the neighborhoods deteriorated. He organized a quarter-million dollar special campaign among GBC members for the community organizing effort.

In the end, Baltimore realized a boon that neither side anticipated: Stopping the highway system would not only save neighborhoods, but it would save the physical appearance of the Inner Harbor for the rejuvenation that has made it so famous.

Joe McNeely


Ousting NOI a fiscal matter

This letter is in regard to the recent articles in your paper about the removal of the Nation of Islam security guards by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

I'm sure we all agree that the Nation of Islam security personnel did an outstanding job. Statistics from both the city officials and the Nation of Islam reveal an impressive decline in crime in the Baltimore public housing projects. I must agree with the community in the projects that it is a drastic mistake to remove the NOI security from them.

But I must voice my displeasure with some of the comments from some African-American people. It appears that they blame this termination of NOI on the white government or Jewish organizations. This isn't a racist or religious matter, this is a financial and an illegal no-bid contract matter.

Instead of looking at the Department of Housing and Urban Development as the bad guy, they should look at city officials. (i.e. Mayor Kurt Schmoke).

The government is a little tight on its financial situation. What's the sense of having bids to save the city money if Mayor Schmoke keeps allowing city officials to approve illegal no-bid contracts which cost more to the taxpayer?

ean M. Jackson


City deserves two ball teams

We need to keep the CFL Stallions in Baltimore. They have done a tremendous job in giving this city the recognition and publicity it deserves as an exciting sports center.

They have also allowed those of us with modest incomes to afford to see live football. The NFL is out of reach for many of us who cannot afford $35 or $40 for each ticket.

Fans of the CFL Stallions and those who want to see live football: Don't let this happen. We must let those in authority know that Baltimore can and will support two football teams.

eborah Edmonds

Havre de Grace

Gallo's behavior poisons science

Regarding your Nov. 14 editorial, "Scientists on a witch hunt," it was Robert Gallo's laboratory that found a line of cells that the AIDS virus would not kill and in which it would multiply. This made it much easier to grow the virus.

For this alone Dr. Gallo would merit the directorship of the proposed Institute for Human Virology. Unfortunately, that is not the whole story.

Dr. Gallo concealed the origin of these cells and would let only his friends use them, even though the cells were easy to grow. Further, he claimed to have independently discovered an AIDS virus. He said falsely that his laboratory had not grown the French virus, and when his virus turned out to be suspiciously like the French, he would give samples only to people who would promise not to compare the two.

Such behavior by the most powerful man in a field poisons the whole discipline.

Charles W. McCutchen


Maryland blamed for smoke damage

Our governor and attorney general want to waste their time and our money suing tobacco companies in an effort to recoup the money spent each year treating smoke-related illnesses. This is akin to the driver of a getaway car suing a bank robber.

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