Essex and Dundalk need bike routesAs a newcomer to the...

LETTERS

March 15, 1996

Essex and Dundalk need bike routes

As a newcomer to the Baltimore area, I'm impressed with the city's and state's efforts to regenerate, revitalize and focus on itself to better serve individuals and the business community. The recent announcement that the east side of Baltimore County's Essex and Dundalk areas are being targeted for redevelopment is an example.

As a bicyclist, I am impressed with the existing facilities throughout the state as well as the light rail's policy of allowing bicycles on board on Sunday. However, if any area needed targeting to accommodate bicycles it is Essex and Dundalk.

I hope the decision makers for the county and state do not let a golden opportunity go by without considering bicycling as a viable alternate transportation system and also as a very real tourist attraction, as exemplified by the city of Seattle.

Tedd Meyer

Timonium

Antibiotics have limits

A Feb. 23 letter to the editor stated that "there are over 100 new immune deficiency syndromes, most of which were caused by the overuse of antibiotics."

Overuse of antibiotics is a problem, primarily for its role in causing resistance by bacteria. The most common form of abuse is administration of antibiotics in clinical conditions, primarily against viral infections, for which there is no established and no likely benefit. These account for the great majority of respiratory infections, including severe colds, sore throats and bronchitis. There are no immune deficiency syndromes caused by abuse of antibiotics.

!John G. Bartlett, M.D.

Baltimore

The writer heads Johns Hopkins' division of infectious diseases.

Get tough with all criminals

During recent political campaigns candidates have promised to fight crime in Baltimore. It is ironic that politicians debate ''getting tough on crime'' while city officials continue to accept the behavior of their own unethical and dishonest employees.

Housing Department employees owned property that violates city codes. School teachers helped their students cheat on state proficiency tests. Election board employees voted in the city while residing in the county.

All of these city employees were given slaps on the wrist for their crimes. None were fired. City tax dollars continue to pay their salaries. Perhaps it is time for politicians to get tough on white-collar criminals in city offices.

Kay Berney

Baltimore

Don't stereotype Palestinians

I fully agree with Cal Thomas' conclusion in his March 8 column: Israeli police and military forces should exercise all necessary freedom of action, regardless of the Oslo accords, to eliminate anywhere those responsible for the recent violent attacks against innocent people.

Hamas is without argument an evil organization of evil people with evil purposes.

I disagree with his description of the peace process as the giving of something, i.e. land, to evil people in the hope that they will then be good. That would indeed be foolish, but who are the evil people?

The accords that have been reached are not between Israel and Hamas, nor even, except as interim agent, with the PLO, but with the Palestinian people.

It is no fairer, on the basis of the actions and writings of an extremist group, to paint all or even most Palestinians as evil, as Mr. Thomas clearly attempts to do, than it would be to judge all Americans by those responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing.

Hamas may claim to truly represent the Palestinians; far-right militias in this country also claim to be the true patriots as they call for violence against minorities and the government.

While Hamas may have claimed brotherhood with the PLO in the past, and while Yasser Arafat's actions against it may have been limited by political factors, there is no evidence of collusion between Hamas and the PLO in the recent attacks, and condemnation of them by Mr. Arafat's administration has been unequivocal.

It is true that a great many Palestinians feel resentment toward the Jews who make up the population of the occupying power.

This alone, however, is not evil, unless one would also condemn outright those Jews who, in frustration and pain, express a similar level of hostility toward all Arabs.

Both reactions are understandable, on an emotional level. Still, it remains true that to attribute generally inferior moral qualities to another ethnic or national group, under the stress of a political struggle and based on the actions of a small number of people, can only lead to continuing disaster if this, instead of more rational judgment, is used to form policy.

Certainly security concerns should affect the timetable of Palestinian autonomy. Protecting the innocent all the innocent should be of paramount importance.

Israel nevertheless cannot morally govern two million people forever without granting them real political rights, regardless of how the territory where they live was originally acquired.

Americans, we must recall, went to war 220 ago for this very reason. Unless Israel eventually wants a Knesset composed of 30 percent or more of Arab Muslims, Palestinian separation and autonomy must be achieved.

Michael B. Lonegro

Towson

Pub Date: 3/15/96

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