Transit loop in city would ride circles around people...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 12, 1998

Transit loop in city would ride circles around people mover

Of the four people-mover systems mentioned in "Kicking the tires of a people mover" (May 31), one has already shut down for lack of ridership. Another, in Detroit, has an $8 million per year operating cost for a system equal in length to the one proposed for Baltimore.

The one success, Miami, does not show the value of people movers so much as the value of planning an integrated public transportation system that takes people where they want to go.

Baltimore has three major modes of public transportation: bus, Metro and light rail. We would do better to improve and expand these existing systems. Light rail could fill the role envisioned by proponents of the people mover.

A light rail spur from the Baltimore Convention Center to the Inner Harbor and east to Canton would be far more popular with the residents of Little Italy and Fells Point than would a people mover, which would completely disrupt the fabric of those communities.

If the line were connected to Pennsylvania Station, through Guilford Avenue and President Street, downtown would have a public transportation loop, which would greatly enhance the value of the whole system.

Andrew W. Gray

Baltimore

Is there any difference between lobbying, bribery?

As a federal government employee, I can barely accept a Coke from a client without causing integrity problems. Why do our elected state officials have no problem accepting $600,000 from the gambling lobby to influence their vote ("Gambling interests spend $600,000," June 3)? Isn't the real term a "bribe"?

Lenny Magsamen

Baltimore

Article on Israel's creation captured the human costs

Thank you for printing Sam Husseini's Perspective article "Sowing seeds of anger" (May 31). It was a wonderful article that perfectly portrayed the human side of al-nakba (the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948).

All too often the human costs of Israel's creation have been overlooked. By allowing Mr. Husseini to tell others what he and his father saw -- first-hand -- you have done a great service to your readers.

Certainly some will wince at his article. It brings a harsh truth to Israel's creation that some would rather forget on this 50th anniversary. But it is important that through personal experience, through dialogue, through acknowledgment of wrongdoing, there can truly be peace in Israel and between Israel and its neighbors. That will truly be a day to celebrate.

John Vandenberg

Washington

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Without wishing to reopen the painful issue of past relations between Israelis and Palestinians, I take strong objection to Sam Husseini's dreadful calumny and the misstatements of fact directed against Israel in his article.

After all, in accusing Israel of so many injustices, he ignores the many massacres and expulsion of Jews by Palestinians and Arabs alike before and after Israel's statehood. Scapegoating Israel, as is the practice here, misses the mark.

Since the first Oslo peace accord in 1994 and even more since the second accord in 1995, the Palestinian Authority's human rights record has been atrocious. This alarming state of affairs has not gone unnoticed by the international human rights community, even if it has generally been played down by the media.

At the same time, the Palestinian Authority deals harshly with its own people. Chairman Yasser Arafat invokes the 1974 charter calling for Israel's destruction and compares the Oslo accords to a temporary truce that only forestalls her end. Injustices are aplenty.

Merrill Levy

Baltimore

Academy needs old device to back up satellite sailing

During earlier years of the threat of nuclear war, it was thought that a nuclear explosion in space would wreak havoc with satellite electronics and communications, in the same manner as "sunspot" radioactivity continues to do, but with much greater and long-lasting impact.

Our current dependence on global positioning satellites and Loran navigation systems assumes an environment free of hostile atmospherics, and jam-proof satellite systems. Training was required of junior officers at sea to ensure that we could function without electronics, if the need arose.

It seems, therefore, to be a mistake to consider celestial navigation as "passe in Navy training as swordsmanship is to soldiering" in the face of the current threat of the lesser players in the nuclear club using nuclear weapons ("Shooting the stars," June 4, editorial).

We still need such training, superior technology notwithstanding.

W. W. Salman Jr.

Baltimore

The writer is a retired captain in the U.S. Navy.

Give journalism's top prize to series on cooking menus

Do food editors ever get nominated for a Pulitzer? Your menus for the week deserves a Pulitzer Prize. My life is easier, and my cooking has improved considerably.

Thanks.

Linda Mielke

Westminster

'Chita' review was unfair to a terrific, energetic show

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