Housing series shows mayor doing rightYour series on...


April 17, 1997

Housing series shows mayor doing right

Your series on Baltimore City housing was illuminating. It was packed with valuable information that citizens needed to know.

One of the things I did not know was that the Schmoke administration had given millions of dollars worth of contracts to minority business owners.

Many members of the clergy had been critical of the mayor, saying that he had not used his office to enrich black business owners who had traditionally hired black employees and made substantial economic contributions to the Baltimore community. Your series demonstrated how wrong some of us were about our mayor.

Across the country, many urban communities such as Baltimore have improved because their elected leadership has identified competent business owners such as Pless B. Jones, owner of P&J Contracting Co., whom you featured, and said, ''Here's a contract, do the work, do some good in the community.''

If the mayor and his administration are able to help an individual like Mr. Jones, good for him.

John L. Wright


The writer is president of the United Baptist Missionary Convention & Auxiliaries.

The Block typifies lingering sexism

I'm one of those people who, according to Michael Olesker's April 10 column on licensing strippers on The Block, "still get upset every time some dancer drops a pasty."

He thinks it's a great idea to license strippers. The Block -- which, in Olesker's eyes, is nothing more than a nostalgic paean to "old Baltimore" -- needs tourism dollars.

What better way to lure tourists in than to announce with a piece of paper (and presumably, a fee paid to city coffers) that hey, this is a nice family place. Come on down.

I see a major problem. Licensing strippers licenses the exploitation of women, just as legalizing prostitution does.

Apparently, Olesker sees a difference between "hard-core home videos, sex on cable and the Internet." To him, The Block looks "pretty tame."

Rest assured, it's not. In a society that sees women only in terms of their bodies and their sexuality, The Block is guilty on all counts.

athleen Scogna


Orthodox rabbis' stand criticized

I feel compelled to respond to the recent proclamation by the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, who declared that Conservative and Reform Jews are not really Jewish. Make no mistake: Mainstream Orthodox Jews repudiate this damaging pronouncement.

As a modern Orthodox Jew (for lack of a better term) and as the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, I am deeply embarrassed and upset about the development. Unfortunately, our society tends to lump people together under labels.

"Orthodox" is an inadequate term used to suggest strict adherence to Jewish law (halacha). It has no use for "holier than thou" attitudes. Indeed, Judaism teaches love for all mankind, obviously beginning with love for fellow Jews.

I hope we haven't totally alienated over 80 percent of our people because of an outrageous statement by a small enclave of rabbis.

Judy Fruchter Minkove


Same-sex and co-ed classes should co-exist

I read with much interest Mary Maushard's April 11 article, "Where the boys are: Case for all-male schools."

I attended a New York City boys school, akin to Baltimore's Loyola, and received the best academic education I believe possible.

However, the after-school "mixers" and intramural club activities seemed to force social relationships in a pressurized atmosphere. I missed the informality of my co-ed grammar school classes.

If a school is to educate the whole man or woman, and not just the intellect, all-male or all-female institutions will be lacking.

I envision a system where most classes are same-gender while some, such as English composition, literature and modern foreign languages, are co-ed. After all, hasn't communication between the sexes been a major stumbling block?

Of course, the logistics of this program seem prohibitive. But wouldn't the rewards be worth investigating?

John P. Marek


Cutting Della liquor measure down to size

In regard to Sen. George Della pushing through a bill to keep a large liquor store out of Baltimore County, we should all be happy he did not represent us 75 years ago. We would have no supermarkets, and the citizens of Baltimore County would still be doing their shopping at the corner "ma & pa" stores.

R. Roland Brockmeyer


Clone watch: Is good and evil in the genes?

Let's pretend for a moment that the cloning of humans is just around the corner, as all the hysteria surrounding the issue would suggest. If that were true, the misunderstanding expressed by Jean Bethke Elshtain in the April 10 Opinion Commentary column would be even more alarming than it already is. She states, "Because the cloned entities are not fully human . . ." and goes on to imagine a horrible scenario of clones being used as organ donors.

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