Time right to discuss slimmer City Council for smaller 0...

Letters to the Editor

October 29, 1998

Time right to discuss slimmer City Council for smaller 0) Baltimore

I wholeheartedly support your editorial "Needed: a smaller City Council" (Oct. 11) calling for a serious look into whether the Baltimore City Council should be smaller in size.

I co-sponsored City Council Bill No. 171, which would reduce the council to seven members -- one from each district and the

president.

At a time when the population of Baltimore is shrinking, and forecasters see no sign of a major turnaround, the City Council attempted to cut the administrative budgets of several city departments.

The rationale was that fewer workers could ably serve the smaller city. That same rationale may apply to the Baltimore City Council.

The time has come to rationally and apolitically discuss that possibility.

This bill would afford the opportunity to look at comparably situated cities that, like Baltimore, have experienced a population decline. We must investigate what those cities have determined is best in terms of representing their populations on a legislative level and study whether their approach, if it is different from ours, would be better for Baltimore.

The bill is in the Judiciary Committee, awaiting reports from agencies, including the Charter Review Board. I hope that those agencies will respond and that the committee will schedule a public hearing on the bill.

That would give council members a first reading of public opinion on this question. The final say is, of course, up to Baltimore's voters. If the City Council passes the bill, it must go to public referendum.

We have no crystal; we cannot know what the 21st century will hold for Baltimore. What we can do, however, is ascertain the structure we want our government to have as it leads the way into the year 2000 and beyond.

Rochelle "Rikki" Spector

Baltimore

The writer is a Baltimore City Council member.

Response to supposed hex is a modern-day witch hunt

As a practitioner of witchcraft for more than 37 years, I feel I must try to enlighten your readers ("Student suspended for 'hex,' " Oct. 21).

Wicca is another name for witchcraft. Witchcraft is not a neo-pagan religion. It is an old pagan religion that is seeing a resurgence. Witchcraft is an earth-based religion that honors all life. We do not have a "dominion over" concept.

I belonged to a coven in the early 1960s. That coven began long ago in eastern Europe and was brought to this country by immigrants who, in turn, taught me.

I am now the high priestess of three covens in Baltimore and Pennsylvania with members as far away as Minneapolis, Long Island, New Jersey and Florida.

Witches do not worship Satan, and we never have. Witches do not believe in Satan. Satan is a Christian concept. We have no need to be threatened by hell and brimstone and all the wondrous punishments that this devil can muster. To me this is just silly business. We also do not practice sacrifice.

We believe this world is a place of joy and caring. We believe in taking care of the Earth as our Mother. We believe in the equality of all living beings. Unlike some other religions, we believe that women are equal to men. Women are held to be created in the likeness of the Goddess. We all have value.

There is no specific creed or rules to follow. We have a few tenets, one of which is the rule of threes, which states that "whatever is done by ye shall return three times to thee." We have no desire to have hard times, created by ourselves, heaped upon us.

It is unfortunate that the witch hunts continue. The incident at Southwestern High School is sad to me.

If the school board is going to expel one child for putting a "curse" on another child, every child who says "Damn you" should be expelled because that is a curse, too.

Kaylin Keith

Baltimore

The writer is high priestess of the Daughters of the Meadow Covens.

I am a parent of two sons who are seniors at Southwestern High School and am appalled at how much publicity this hexing incident has been given.

This is a school of high expectations.

The administration and staff are excellent, and they expect great things from our children, given the obstacles they face.

I am proud to be an alumna of Southwestern as well as a parent of two students there. Southwestern has made all the news stations; had we done something positive, we would not have made the newspaper.

Instead of focusing on negativity at Southwestern, we should help Baltimore see the school's positive aspects.

I commend Principal Mildred Harris and her administrative team for the jobs they do every day with our children.

Vickie Burks

Baltimore

Bleach-ammonia bad mix, even for getting rid of rats

I am writing in regard to the article "Slum-locked family revels in its rescue" (Oct. 21). In this article, the writer reports that a woman pours a bleach and ammonia mixture in her yard to deter rats.

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