Arena plans factoring in other efforts downtown
I read with interest your editorial "Replacing the Baltimore Arena" (Feb. 1), and wanted to do what I could to alleviate the "worry" you expressed that planning for the arena is isolated from other downtown efforts.
Contrary to your assertion, the Baltimore Planning Department's efforts to identify sites for a new arena have taken into consideration many factors, including a variety of concentrated efforts around downtown.
I convened a meeting Dec. 15 expressly to pull together all of the major stakeholders in the west side of downtown to coordinate planning efforts.
This meeting included representatives of the Weinberg Foundation, University of Maryland, University of Maryland Medical System, the Downtown Partnership, Baltimore Development Corp. and related consultants.
Participants discussed ongoing studies of the Westside Task Force and the Howard Street Corridor, as well as other planning issues in the downtown area.
The Planning Department will continue to monitor these studies and will coordinate resultant development activities and proposals generated by the studies.
In addition, at the Downtown Partnership's annual meeting Jan. 22, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke announced his clear directive that the Planning Department would coordinate all downtown planning and development in the future.
We are working with other city agencies and quasi-agencies to determine what operational changes are necessary to best accomplish this task.
The new arena is one of several potential development projects that we are considering as part of downtown development.
Rest assured that the Planning Department will balance all of the concerns in downtown Baltimore to achieve a great center city for residents and visitors as the arena projects proceed.
Charles C. Graves III
The writer is director of the Baltimore Planning Department.
Key to city's future: attracting young people
I'm excited to see the mayor finally realize that the way to make Baltimore thrive again is with young people. Ultimately, that is the demographic group that could repopulate our city.
However, I still believe that what is holding Baltimore back is the outdated 2 a.m. bar curfew.
Every city on the East Coast except Baltimore allows venues to remain open as long as they want, even after the alcohol sales end.
If Baltimore is going to remain competitive in the very real search for balance between education, opportunity and social life, it better acclimate itself to what young people want in their social life.
Quite simply, we don't want to be told when we have to be in our homes Friday or Saturday nights.
Md. needs to help state's racing industry
It is laughable that the state Department of Fiscal Service's analysis sought to reduce the subsidy to our racetracks to $6 million, from the proposed $10 million ("Analysts urge subsidy cut to $6 million," Jan. 30).
These people need to become better versed on the horse-racing industry in Maryland.
Don't they know that the racing industry in Delaware has received $254 million since slot machines arrived there in December 1995?
Either Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the legislature find a way to save our racing industry, or horse racing will go down -- slowly but surely.
Mel R. Schneider
New school board gives reason for hope
The new Board of School Commissioners deserves acclaim for its openness in the development of a master plan for reform.
Board members have held numerous planning meetings at which differences historically resolved behind closed doors have been publicly debated.
The process offers reason to be hopeful about the product.
Kalman R. Hettleman
One more solution for bears vs. people
There is yet another way to solve the bears vs. people problem in Western Maryland:
Trap them, sedate them and neuter them.
This solution should work on either species.
A. Robert Kaufman
Lawmakers should allow educators to set curriculum
I'd like to respond to the article "Senate bill on Irish famine advances; schools' curriculum would include history of mass starvation" (Jan. 30).
If the Maryland legislature is going to dictate by law what will be taught in history classes across the state, why does it not abolish the State Board of Education and take up publishing daily the public schools' teaching curriculum.
In addition, the legislature must realize that there is a limited amount of teaching time in a school day. If history lessons are to be expanded, what else is it going to legislate to be reduced or eliminated?
Now that we are on the subject of "history," Democratic Sen. Perry Sfikas of Baltimore should be true to his heritage and include a section on the Greek/Ottoman Empire conflict, from the fall of Constantinople in the mid-1400s to Greek independence March 25, 1821.
If his Greek ancestors had not been successful, he likely would not be around today to "legislate."