Mayor deserves praise for not spending moneyAlthough I...


September 24, 1997

Mayor deserves praise for not spending money

Although I grew up liberal-thinking in Northwest Baltimore, I have always been conservative on financial matters. My friends could not understand how I could consistently vote against almost every loan or bond issue on the ballot.

I am uncomfortable spending money we don't have, relying on a future generation to pay off our notes. Politicans who regularly voted our deficits into the stratosphere criticize Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke for waiting until the tax revenue check clears, as it were, before spending the money. It is a rare case these days when an elected official exercises fiscal constraint. Mr. Schmoke should be lauded, not rebuked.

Richard Berman


Roads needed before track

I read with a smile Sharon Browning's Sept. 17 letter about the ''handful of retired residents'' who are opposed to the proposed Essex race track.

My husband and I, both employed and several decades from retirement, will not argue her point that the track could cause very positive economic ripples in a stagnating business district. We are not necessarily opposed to the concept.

However, from her vantage point way down in Hanover, Ms. Browning misses the same point as all the track supporters who don't live out here and don't use our curving, hilly, two-lane farm roads: We fear the traffic and no one is giving us an acceptable solution.

The late Jack Kent Cooke somehow got a new beltway interchange and other infrastructure out of the state in record time for his new stadium. All most of us want is a similar display of common sense. Build the road before you build the destination.

Give us Route 43 before the track and you'll find many of our retirees -- and the rest of us -- much more amenable.

Barbara Krim

Oliver Beach

Red Skelton left loving fans

Andrew Ratner's Sept. 21 column adequately describes Red Skelton's unique place in entertainment history. There was, of course, a personal side to this beloved performer.

I penned my first fan letter in 1968, at the age of 14, to Red Skelton. How surprised and delighted I was when, about two weeks later, I received a response which included an autographed 8-by-10 photo which to this day adorns the wall of my home office.

I wrote the comic a second letter a few years later, after seeing him perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Again he wrote back, a simple little gesture, yet it made me feel very special.

Red was good at that, like the time he entertained a seven-year-old boy who was terminally ill. When then Gov. Ronald Reagan of California learned of young Billy Long's condition during the summer of 1970, and of the boy's dying wishes to visit Disneyland and meet Red Skelton, the redhead responded. Bill had lunch with Red and spent the afternoon in the comic's pool. I still have the newspaper clipping.

In a letter to Federico Fellini, Skelton once wrote, ''Love seldom comes to the clown. He is admired, yet when he speaks tender words, the ladies believe it's part of his repertoire. He sits on a throne of wax saying to himself, 'My God, what shall I do should it melt away?' '' The real tragedy in the death of Red Skelton is the possibility that he left this world without fully realizing his impact upon it, or how much he was loved.

Gary Helton

Bel Air

Cruel Diana comments were inappropriate

I found Frances W. Jordan's scathing attack on the late Princess Diana unconscionable (letter, ''She was never our princess,'' Sept. 18).

Princess Diana was an ambassador of good will and a true humanitarian. And despite Ms. Jordan's cruel comments, the world is diminished by her loss.

Geraldine Segal


Hurrah for Frances W. Jordan, she has a life! But how does one live without a heart?

Kelly Di Gennaro

York, Pa.

County firefighter was wrongly suspended

The Sept. 16 article, ''Union president criticizes fire chief,'' correctly portrayed my anger and dismay at the Baltimore County Fire Department's capricious decision to suspend without pay Firefighter Walter L. Brewer III of the Towson station prior to a trial board hearing.

I am perhaps more disturbed by the incomplete reporting in the article by Larry Carson.

The insinuation that my Sept. 3 letter to Fire Chief Paul H. Reincke, which concerned both the status of Mr. Brewer and the unnecessary nature of his suspension, was directed specifically at Battalion Chief John J. Hohman was completely unfounded. I explained in great detail to Mr. Carson the incidents upon which my analogy was drawn.

First, in early 1997, an acting deputy chief physically grabbed a subordinate member at the Sparrows Point Fire Station. A police report was actually filed.

However, the department did not suspend the chief officer and, to this date, no written report of the investigation and its findings has been provided to the firefighter involved.

In another incident, a member threatened to kill a battalion chief. Again, there was no suspension.

In a third case, another member physically struck a superior officer. Once again, there was no suspension.

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