January 27, 1998

King's legacy is economic, social reform

Elmer P. and Joanne M. Martin, in their Jan. 15 column, "An evolving King," remind us that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was also an economic and social radical who opposed the Vietnam war, championed the poor and dispossessed and advocated the redistribution of wealth.

This contrasts with those who characterize the homeless as alcohol- and drug-addicted men and women looking for a government check.

In fact, the homeless are also children, the disabled, battered women and the unemployed, or those employed at part- or full-time jobs that do not pay enough to make ends meet -- the "strong economy" notwithstanding.

The gap between rich and poor has been widening over the past 15 years. Corporate chief executives have eight-figure incomes, while their workers struggle to pay utility bills. Because of corporate welfare and tax breaks, the rich are getting richer at the expense of the rest of us. King would be outraged.

King's legacy can be continued by supporting legislation and legislators who back a living wage, narrowing the gap between the rich and the rest of us through tax reform and eliminating corporate welfare, shifting funds from unnecessary weapons systems to human needs, universal health care through a single-payer system, and using the earned income tax credit to supplement low-wage jobs.

Lee Lears


Anti-hunting column doesn't ring true

I'm skeptical of Laura Sullivan's anti-hunting diatribe in the Jan. 18 Perspective section ("My end of the bargain meant going hunting").

First, if she went hunting with friends, she must have gone illegally, without a current Maryland hunting license.

She could not obtain a license without completing a hunter safety course unless she claimed on her application that she held a license before July 1977.

Without the license she would just be another poacher.

Second, I can hardly believe that an untrained woman with average upper-body strength could pull a 70-pound compound bow or shoot with any competence. If she could, the arrows most likely would fly at 195 feet per second, instead of the claimed 95 feet per second.

Third, you cannot learn to shoot on the way into the woods on your first and only day of hunting.

This is hardly an example of ''the hunting experience." Where was the Department of Natural Resources when you need it?

Salvatore A. Jordan


Rep. Ehrlich engages in cynicism he decries

I was amused to read U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s Jan. 17 letter ("Manipulation of race issue the worst kind of cynicism."

It accused The Sun's editorial board of using "vague, simplistic, ideologically charged language" and of being cynical in how it characterized his position on the public housing settlement between the city of Baltimore, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But Mr. Ehrlich himself uses vague, simplistic and ideologically charged language to attack you and others.

It would be much easier to accept Mr. Ehrlich's sincerity on race issues if he were to distance himself from a party that has never shown the slightest hesitation to "play the race card." From Willy Horton to immigration reform, the GOP has warmly embraced "wedge issues" that are clearly meant to widen the racial gap in this country.

Mr. Ehrlich may huff and puff and even call his opponents "liberals" (ouch), but his voting record is clear: He embraces Republican ideology even when it is detrimental to his constituents.

You can't get more cynical than that.

Melvin Hecht


Angelou's 'Caged Bird' relevant to 9th-graders

I am in the ninth grade and have just finished reading "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou.

I found the book to be pretty good. Usually, books they make us read aren't that exciting and don't pertain to us at all. Now they finally found one that makes sense to my friends and me.

We found that we could relate to Ms. Angelou's experiences and feelings. Therefore, I am very aggravated to read that the book was removed from our ninth-grade curriculum.

I think it was unfair of 14 parents to ruin a great book for ninth graders to discuss in class. The parents who complained should realize that this book is about Ms. Angelou's life story. This means it is about who she is, and if that involves rape or thoughts concerning lesbianism or racism, it should be included.

I also think we should have been able to voice our decisions on the matter and not have left it up to parents and the school board to decide.

Rachel Gordon


Cardinal Stafford not from Catonsville

I have read several articles on Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, stating that he was a native of Catonsville.

Just to set the record straight, I and some of my friends grew up with him on Monastery Avenue in the Irvington section of Baltimore.

Gary K. Wolf Sr.

Glen Burnie

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