National Aquarium ought to remain our visible landmarkThe...

Letters to the Editor

August 02, 1998

National Aquarium ought to remain our visible landmark

The National Aquarium in Baltimore has become the signature of the city, recognizable throughout the world, just as the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris, the Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco and a picture of the Opera House instantly says Sidney.

The Cordish Co. wants to posture with Baltimore's symbol with its intent to plant a Bubba Gump barge right in the water between the two aquarium buildings. What a marketing coup -- to be attached to the internationally recognized symbol of our city. But how sad that the argument is between the Cordish Co. and the aquarium. It's the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland that should be incensed that our widely recognized symbol is in danger of being obstructed or cluttered in any way.

Cities and citizens take pride in their important symbols.

I have to believe that this barge deal happened by mistake. It must initially have been approved without Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's full knowledge of the plans. Because he's indicated that no more structures of this type will be approved while he's mayor, he obviously realizes the importance of not docking piers three and four with commercial ventures.

The aquarium is the beacon of our city, which picked itself up from a dying downtown with broken down, dangerous wharves and created an Inner Harbor that brings delight. Let the aquarium stand unobstructed on all of its water edges, for all of us to take pride in as we become stewards of the water.

Audrey Soller Suhr

Baltimore

I think it's unfair that the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is the focus of all the negative publicity The Sun has printed. I learned about Bubba Gump while on a trip to Hawaii. The first day the restaurant opened there, it donated 50 percent of its sales to the local public school system. The gift was more than $10,000. It also helps support environmental causes.

If The Sun was going to criticize harbor development projects, it could have picked more deserving targets. Bubba Gump is the kind of socially aware and charitable company we should be hoping to bring into our struggling downtown. Maybe with a gift of $10,000 to our schools, students may be able to afford a field trip to the National Aquarium.

Margaret Combs

Baltimore

Capitol shooting shows need for mental health care

It concerns me that despite the outrage, fear and disgust after incidents such as the shooting in the U.S. Capitol building -- allegedly by a man who was not receiving adequate psychiatric care -- our communities and representatives do not lobby more strongly in support of mental health.

Psychiatric illnesses, like most other major health problems, require effective treatment and monitoring by qualified professionals including psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.

Unfortunately, however, insurance limitations, restrictions from managed care organizations and inadequately funded community mental health clinics often make it difficult for patients to receive such treatment.

Michael Heitt

Baltimore

The writer is a clinical psychologist.

The terrible event in the Capitol building has understandably brought fear, sadness, outrage and dismay to Americans.

The Capitol police officers who lost their lives in defense of our elected officials, in the halls of the building most symbolizing our democracy, are indeed heroes. They were very much like the thousands of American men and women who quietly patrol our streets, fight our fires and silently try to preserve order and safety in our society. All are silent heroes.

As we honor Detective John Gibson and Officer Jacob Chestnut we must not lose sight of the other victims of this attack. They include the others wounded and traumatized that day in the Capitol, exposed to the violence solely because of their ill-timed visit. The public, whose faith in the security afforded them in our nation's capital, must be shaken.

Another victim, perhaps just as important, though much less obvious or sympathetic, is the alleged gunman, Russell Weston Jr., who, in fact, has an illness, which because of a fragmented and increasingly ineffective medical system, led him to these terrible actions.

That his disease, suffered by so many others walking the streets of our cities and throughout our country, could cause him to do this is truly a tragedy of American medicine and society. As the lack of meaningful health care reform gives way to business interests attempting to profit from health care and patient premiums, there will be more patients under-treated or not treated at all.

And no one will be able to predict when their fear and confusion will lead to another mugging on the street or the next senseless and tragic loss of a father, son, daughter or hero.

Scott E. Maizel, M.D.

Baltimore

If desecration law passes, U.S. veteran will burn flag

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