While these victims fell prey to the incompetent development practices of a state-financed debacle, it seems that the actual amount of money spent to revitalize this historic district is ridiculously insignificant.
The state lost $2.5 million on its lame attempt to try to spruce up this decaying neighborhood, but what does that really mean? In comparison, the University of Maryland at Baltimore campus downtown, which borders on the east side of the Hollins Street neighborhood, has had over 250 times that amount of money pumped into it in recent months.
Why the disparity? Could it be that the people of the university are that much more worthy of this flood of funds than the one-time working-class neighborhood that touches them? Unfortunately, it seems that way, and the university seems to have an agenda that has resulted in its limited involvement with this battered community.
Even though a large portion of this area lies within the empowerment zone, businesses around Hollins Market continue to close. A turnaround is not likely until the city takes the planning of this area more seriously.
If the university is expanding at such a rampant rate, why can't university officials work with community members to make this part of Baltimore a place that people would drive to, not just through it?
John B. Ellsberry
Change law on confiscation
I am appalled to think of the consequences of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding property confiscation during the commission of a crime.
If I own a farm or perhaps a warehouse and rent it to someone who commits a crime, perhaps the tenant has a drug lab and manufactures illegal drugs, then the authorities can seize my property even though I had nothing to do with the crime.
I may loan my automobile to someone or I may have my car stolen and if it is used in the commission of a crime such as drug trafficking, the authorities can take the automobile and keep it.
This is wrong. Such laws need to be looked at on the federal level because our Bill of Rights guarantee us protection against illegal searches and seizures.
If a person on a commercial airline is caught with illegal drugs, will the authorities seize the airplane? If a person at a football game is caught with illegal drugs, will the stadium be confiscated?
I'm not sure how this situation has evolved but it is time to do something about it and change the laws. Perhaps we could rectify the law to decree that if a person commits a crime, the proper authorities may seize a car, real property, etc., only if the perpetrator alone owns it and not if it is owned jointly with someone else.
Robert L. Dorsey Sr.
Pub Date: 3/27/96