Regionalism vital to all our interestsElise Armacost's...

LETTERS

November 21, 1997

Regionalism vital to all our interests

Elise Armacost's Nov. 9 column, "Nowhere to run, nowhwere to hide," presented an excellent case for the need to encourage regional cooperation, even if ultimately and only for our own self-interest.

During its first 150 years, Baltimore City incorporated many diverse villages and neighborhoods into its boundaries,

neighborhoods which have continued in many cases to keep unique identities and contribute to the city's charm and diversity. Many neighborhoods could not have survivied as viable communities without the regional structure of that time -- that is,without the city coordinating and developing infrastructure, transportation, etc.

Today's regional neighborhoods are spread over a much larger geographic area, but the solutions to their problems of growth and stability are equally interconnected. The future well-being of Canton, Columbia, Catonsville and Cockeysville is as intertwined that of Highlandtown and Homeland.

For the sake of all families living in this metropolitan region who want to keep and improve their neighborhoods, I hope our elected officials will forego parochial self-interests and initiate policies to assure the future health of this region. I hope The Sun will keep us informed of these efforts.

Helene F. Perry

Baltimore

Viking probed Mars two decades ago

As an engineer intimately associated with the design, development and confirmation testing of the successful Viking I and II landings on Mars in July and September 1976, I feel compelled to comment on the Nov. 8 editorial, "Farewell to Mars Pathfinder."

The substance was clear with the kudos given the "unbelievably clear photographs" taken of the Red Planet along with the chemical analyses of soil and rock and the "16,000 images" sent back.

The editorial message also suggests that by 2014 we may be sending humans to Mars, even though NASA now is emphasizing "robotic space exploration".

Although I, too, am proud of Pathfinder's success, what did this project accomplish that we did not already know in much greater depth from Viking I and II?

The color and black/white photos of the terrain appear identical and not any more spectacular now than with Viking.

Viking also provided chemical and biological analyses of the soil, details of atmospheric constituents and analyses, tons of meteorological data, seismology data, magnetic field data, etc.

Viking was active for years, unlike Pathfinder. For details of the Viking scientific experiments, I refer to the January 1977 edition of National Geographic. Why have we forgotten the Viking experiments and accomplishments?

Personally, I would not now plan for a manned mission to Mars until the question of why humankind would benefit from such a mission is answered.

We have too many critical problems to solve here on Earth to concern ourselves with an expensive mission to an uninhabitable planet.

Sy Steinberg

Baltimore

Federal involvement guarantees a mess

I am responding to the Nov. 8 article, "Grasmick to seek reading upgrade."

While I am very discouraged that "30 percent to 40 percent of schoolchildren are poor readers," I am mortified to discover that Sen. Barbara Mikulski wants "federal legislation to help children with reading problems."

The federal government, which created a tax code that discourages saving and investment, nurtured a generation of freeloaders through a disastrous welfare system, failed to balance its books in more than two decades and continues to intrude in the lives of its citizens at alarming rates, has no business getting into the reading business.

If its war on illiteracy is as effective as its war on poverty, one can only imagine that one day our present troubles will be referred to as the good old days.

Joel P. Landskroener

Baltimore

Reisterstown Road is key to neighborhoods

Perception becomes reality. When I travel a thoroughfare, my perception of the neighborhood and its people depends on what I see.

Clean, bright, well-maintained properties say something quite different from boarded-up buildings and trash-strewn lots.

Reisterstown Road is an important ingress into Baltimore City. Anyone traveling its length from the city line to Park Circle sees businesses, homes and vacant properties in various states of repair.

In spots, new investment has created a refreshing, inviting look. Too bad these are all-too-often adjacent to the worst Reisterstown Road has to offer. Often potential investors shy away from a parcel because of the surroundings.

Only the city has a right to acquire these slum-looking properties and make them available for redevelopment. No planning on our part can be successful without the city being willing to exercise an active eminent domain policy.

The neighborhoods that line this corridor deserve to be perceived in a better light. Reisterstown Road is the key.

Richard A. Berman

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Reisterstown Road Merchants Coalition.

Marshall's agenda same as NAACP

In your editorial of Nov. 5 supporting the nomination of Bill Lann Lee to head the Justice Department civil rights division you assert that Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, "says Mr. Lee can't distinguish between being an NAACP litigator and being an assistant attorney general. Similar criticism of Thurgood Marshall was made before he became the first black Supreme Court Justice. He proved the critics wrong."

Quite to the contrary, any objective review of Justice Marshall's judicial record will prove the critics right. One need only look to the justice's opinion on capital punishment to show that Justice Marshall made every effort to adhere to the liberal agenda of the NAACP in his judicial decisions.

G. Elliott Cummings

Baltimore

Pub Date: 11/21/97

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