Moving soup kitchen is not the solution for city's rich or...

Letters to the Editor

June 02, 1998

Moving soup kitchen is not the solution for city's rich or poor

As I drank my coffee before leaving for my weekly stint at Our Daily Bread, I read your front-page article about the city's desire to force the soup kitchen to move ("Our Daily Bread is under pressure to relocate, again," May 29).

Merchants in the surrounding area claim that guests of Our Daily Bread cause crime and, in general, are a nuisance.

May I suggest that moving poverty out of sight is no answer to the problem. The guests of Our Daily Bread are children of God, just as their denigrators are, and they deserve to be treated as such.

Most of them are victims of poor education (supplied by the city) and the gradual erosion of the social safety net caused by decades of "me first-ism" both on the local and national level.

There is something really sick about a society in which some people earn millions of dollars per year while children have to rely on a soup kitchen for food.

Lee Egerton

Owings Mills

As program director of a shelter/recovery after-care program in a residential area, I understand the difficulties faced by Our Daily Bread.

I do not agree, however, with the attitude prevalent among many involved in homeless services that their agendas should

predominate simply because they are serving the homeless.

We are part of the larger community, and as such, it is our responsibility to fit into that community, meeting the needs of the whole, both the clientele we serve and the neighbors.

This is something we at Redeemer House have always understood. Our program operates on the dual principle of what is best for our residents and what is best for the neighborhood.

With three elementary schools in the area, we do not accept anyone convicted of crimes against children or violence in general; we do not take people directly out of prison; and we do not allow our residents to loiter near the building or in the neighborhood.

While these policies may seem unfair, it is our responsibility to accommodate the neighbors -- it is not their responsibility to accommodate us. Our residents appreciate the peacefulness of the neighborhood and comport themselves in a responsible and discreet manner.

The staff is grateful for the neighborhood's tolerance in allowing us to operate here. As a result, we have had no conflict for at least a decade. Everyone benefits.

Richard Micka

Baltimore

The writer is program director of Redeemer House Inc.

Bright children should take path that best suits them

What a sensible letter by Pamela K. Gealy ("Rushing whiz kids to college early not always best," May 30).

By a skillful combination of academic courses during summers, advanced placement program college-credit courses and academic competitions, these thoughtful parents helped their intellectually talented son move smoothly through public schools into a fine college without skipping grades.

But we must note carefully the qualifying adverb "always" in the headline of their letter. Some brilliant boys and girls are, themselves, eager to proceed more rapidly than Matthew Gealy and can do this without hurting their social and emotional development.

There are many ways to forge ahead. For example, a young fellow from Ellicott City graduated from the McDonogh School and the Johns Hopkins University concurrently, at age 17, with excellent grades. A boy from Guatemala did so at the Gilman School and Loyola College, with high honors. A young lady earned her bachelor's degree from Goucher College at age 17, Phi Beta Kappa. She is now a well-known emergency-medicine pediatrician.

Nearly all of the many "radical accelerants" I've known have gone to lead highly successful, happy lives. As the French say, `chacun a son gout," meaning, roughly, each to his or her own taste.

Julian C. Stanley

Baltimore

The writer is director of the study of mathematically precocious youth at the John Hopkins University.

Goldwater was a champion for individual freedoms

With the death of Sen. Barry Morris Goldwater, America has lost a true pioneer in conservatism, a champion of freedom for all Americans and, perhaps, the last honest politician.

The Arizona senator told it like it was in his typically candid manner.

Aptly dubbed "Mr. Republican" and "Mr. Conservative," he stood by the true meaning of libertarian conservatism, having respect for individual freedoms, such as a woman's right to choose and gays in the military, through a less-intrusive government.

Mr. Goldwater was his own man -- honest and forthright, believing in his principles, not caring about polls or the opinions of his detractors in either party.

His belief that "a smaller government is a better government," no doubt developed via his frontier background. Mr. Goldwater was the last U.S. senator born in a U.S. territory -- his 1909 birth came three years before Arizona's statehood.

I had the great privilege and honor of interviewing the senator in ++ his home in 1995. He was as honest, candid and forthright as one would expect.

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