Native Americans mistreated againOnce again, among many...

Letters

March 20, 1997

Native Americans mistreated again

Once again, among many, many times, we are walking ''The Trail of Broken Promises'' made by the federal government to Native American people.

The very idea of the Democratic National Committee presuming to ''coerce, blackmail or beg'' funds from the most destitute and economically suppressed peoples of this otherwise rich society is disgusting, to put it mildly.

It is abhorrent when lands, already belonging to the tribes, are held up as the bribe.

I believe that our president was innocent of this pressurized tactic leading to robbery of the tribe's welfare fund to support a political ''trillion dollar'' industry. (Or, is it more accurately called a scheme?) However, the president can now do the right thing and return this land to its rightful owners, the tribes.

Herbert H. Locklear

Baltimore

PTC

The writer is executive director of the Native American Economic Development and Advocacy Center.

Taxpayers should not bail out businesses

Real men don't eat quiche and real politicians don't stop at ''regrets."

It seems that state Sen. George W. Della Jr. was the sole sponsor of a bill to forgive city taxes of upward of $2 million for the luxury condominiums in HarborView and, after it passed, said he was (a) naive, (b) had no idea it was so large, and (c) sorry.

At no time was there any hint he wanted to set things right or of what he intended to do to help other constituents.

It has been a hard year, too, for many of us on fixed incomes with inflation and having to upgrade alarm systems with the level of crime in South Baltimore. If I just stopped paying taxes, would Senator Della give me a call and introduce a bill to let me off, or would he suggest I adjust my lifestyle and sell an asset or two?

Even more astounding is the history of tax forgiveness at HarborView. It is almost three years ago since Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke introduced a similar bill.

Something politicians do not comprehend, particularly in Baltimore, is that when a business makes a mistake, it takes a write-off or a loss.

It is not the responsibility of a city to protect or bail out businessmen from their errors. That is the role of a bankruptcy court.

If HarborView overbuilt or overpaid or overcharged for the condominiums, it has to pay the price, not the citizens of Baltimore.

You would expect with the experience of the Belvedere and Harrison's hotels, the city would understand this.

Frank R. Reilly

Baltimore

Condoms should be seen and understood

As a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, who is also a person with AIDS, I found it necessary to respond to the condescending tone of your editorial, "Broken fingers," (March 11).

To say that Steve Jones' piece, "Fingers of Fear,"' ignored "sensibilities" where it was placed, consider these facts: Baltimore's rate of AIDS infection is one of the highest in the country, upward of 125 percent over the national average. Teen pregnancy in Baltimore is also astronomically high.

That a young artist was courageous enough and cared enough about his fellow students and his community tells me volumes about educating our young people. It also shows that many don't want to acknowledge how desperately this education is needed.

Maybe if I had seen more about condoms, I would not have to deal with the myriad of health problems that I do today.

It just shocks me that in 1997, with so much at stake in the lives of our youth, such a double standard exists. Problems? Whatever you do, don't lift a finger to challenge them, lest they might be acknowledged and dealt with in a compassionate, civilized way.

Timothy Lonergan

Baltimore

East Baltimore sights shocking

Recently, I was riding in a taxi to Johns Hopkins Hospital to visit a close associate. As we drove to the Baltimore neighborhoods near Gay and Orleans streets, I was shocked to discover the extent of abandoned and boarded-up housing.

The cab driver, who said he'd been on the job for 23 years, stated that these chaotic conditions have greatly increased over the last 10 years. He pointed out that many cities have had to assume ownership of far too much housing deserted by crime-weary or drug-addicted tenants and their slum landlords.

The truth of the matter is that our government should immediately postpone spending billions more on celestial space exploration and tackle America's increasingly related social problems -- narcotics, crime, racism, community devastation, values and ineffective education.

Victor Frenkil

Baltimore

Power, not consent, is the issue in Aberdeen

It has surprised me that news reports and commentary about the latest incidents at Aberdeen Proving Ground appear to have accepted without question the views of the five women who now claim to have been ''coerced'' into ''lying'' about their sexual encounters with their drill sergeants. Insisting that their sexual encounters with these men were ''consensual,'' these women now are using their stories to support charges of racism against the military investigative teams who interviewed them.

The news reports gloss over or ignore an important point being made by military investigators. The military defines a sexual encounter by a superior with a subordinate as rape. The issue is not consent; it is abuse of power.

Our sexual harrassment law makes it clear that the disparity of power between a superior and a subordinate, particularly in an employment situation, so defines the relationship that consent cannot be considered operative. Military officers and superiors are told, usually in no uncertain terms, that if they should choose to pursue a sexual realtionship with a subordinate, the ''consent'' of the subordinate will not mitigate culpability for misusing their positions of superior power.

Lindsay Thompson

Towson

Pub Date: 3/20/97

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