Drug dealers give free samples to customersIf you think...

LETTERS

March 09, 1997

Drug dealers give free samples to customers

If you think the videotaped evidence of the Sugar Hill gang's drug transactions was "astounding" (Feb. 25, "Brazen city 'drug store' "), then you had better steer clear of many Baltimore neighborhoods.

In my neighborhood there are astounding ''drug stores'' and astounding ''drug parades.'' I invite you to visit my neighborhood to see the parade of people marching to pick up ''testers,'' small glass vials containing free samples of crack cocaine thrown about by a new drug dealer in the area.

Oh, there will be about 150 to 200 people of all ages running through the neighborhood, jumping fences, running in front of cars, dragging along their children, trying to get "testers" from drug dealers looking for new business.

Case in point: One night after a long day of work, I drove up to my house. A massive crowd of people running. Being inquisitive, I walked toward the crowd thinking it was a parade of some sort.

Several of my neighbors were looking out their doors. They hollered to ask where I was going. I informed them that I was going to see the parade. One young lady pulled my arm and said, ''Miss, please don't go up there. You might get hurt.''

I said, ''Why not? It's just a parade. See all the people.''

They young lady went on to explain that a major drug transaction was about to occur and that people were trying to get ''testers'' from a new drug dealer.

Overwhelmed with depression, I hung my head and walked back to my house. I could not believe what I had witnessed. I can assure you that my story is one of many.

Later, at a community meeting, it was explained to me that there was a rash of new drug dealers in the area.

Those who live in drug-infested neighborhoods witness firsthand how customer-demand drives the drug problem. Any solution must deal with helping the pitiful human beings in all our neighborhoods who are medically addicted to drugs.

I fear, however, that nothing will be done until those unfamiliar with the problem are thoroughly exposed to the astounding ''drug stores" and "drug parades'' that so many of us encounter in our day-to-day lives.

J. Lydia Nwafor

Baltimore

D'Adamo illustrates how democracy works

While stories of influence peddling in Washington preoccupy the media, I am far more concerned by influence peddling in Highlandtown.

Councilman Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr. is quoted as saying that he would never do anything that would hurt any citizen's health. Yet when the health department shut down Santoni's Market Feb. 24, Mr. D'Adamo was more concerned about the health of his east side political machine than his constituents.

When rat feces was found in the bread and on the shelves and in the freezer at Santoni's, Councilman D'Adamo came to the defense of the store owner, asking whether it is fair to enforce health and cleanliness standards that most people apply to their own kitchens.

If democracy really is the system of governance that provides the most benefit to the most participants, then it is equally true that well-heeled private interests are the greatest threat to an effective democracy. Any school child who wants to learn how democracy really works need look no further than to the Baltimore City Council where Councilman D'Adamo pressures the health department.

Councilman D'Adamo and Santoni's Market owe the people of Highlandtown an apology.

Andrew W. Gray

Baltimore

Let me understand, Councilman D'Adamo believes that rodent feces on bread is no big thing and that he was only helping a constituent. What about the current and future purchasers of food products from the store? They must not be constituents in Mr. D'Adamo's eyes.

In light of the recent incident at Tio Pepe's, the councilman should be in favor of increasing the city health department's budget and should not threaten to reduce it.

Richard B. Isaac

Upperco

Israel fails to live up to its own ideals

When I read in each day's paper of the latest abomination against the Palestinian people perpetrated by Israel's Likud government (even and especially during the much hailed ''peace'' process), I question the vocally critical but financially unfailing support that the American Jewish community offers to Israel.

Palestinian violence expresses anger at Likud's and Labor's decades-old duplicitous policy of denying to Palestinians housing and infrastructure while providing both to the expanding Jewish immigrant population.

Jews of conscience in America lament the ''unfortunate'' policies of an aggressively racist and right-wing Israeli government, yet continue to support the ends of the greatest Zionist ideal: A safe, self-reliant refuge for Jews.

Well, next time an enraged Palestinian kills a Jew in Jerusalem or the next time the U.S. government apportions a billion-dollar subsidy to Israel's military, recall that ideal of a safe, self-reliant Israel: the only place on Earth today where Jews are killed just because they are Jews, and worse yet, where Jews have become killers.

Joshua Bloomberg

Baltimore

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