More than demolition is needed to clean up city's 0...

Letters to the Editor

November 20, 1998

More than demolition is needed to clean up city's 0) 'Zombieland'

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I have followed with great interest the stories of the neighborhood surrounding Dr. Rayner Browne Elementary school (" 'Zombieland' raids yield more arrests," Nov. 14).

While I commend the students who cleaned up the alley and the efforts of police to arrest drug dealers, I am concerned that tearing down housing is being presented as the main solution to drug activity in the area.

I know many of Baltimore's rowhouses are beyond repair, but abandoned and decaying housing is not the cause of the thriving drug trade that harms our neighborhoods.

The drug dealers will find a new alley in which to sell. The junkies will find other abandoned buildings in which to shoot up. Until more attention is paid to solving the causes of drug use, rehabilitating addicts and criminals and building strong communities, "Zombieland" will never go away.

Ellen Baker

Baltimore

I'm happy to see that the police have finally made some efforts to stop blatant drug selling and use near Rayner Browne Elementary School. I also applaud Maj. James L. Hawkins Jr. for arresting those he caught red-handed dealing drugs on the street corner.

What disturbs me is that it was well-known by the residents that drug activity was widespread, but The Sun had to publicize the problem to get the police to act.

I am certain that many people from the school and surrounding neighborhoods have asked the police for help before approaching The Sun. Maj. Gary Lembach's excuse that "we can't be everywhere, and we can't know everything" is a poor one. The police could have responded when a city taxpayer first called.

I am fortunate enough to have been able to flee Baltimore's high crime rate, but I still feel sympathy for those who are unable to leave and have to rely on a newspaper to get an effective response from the police.

Mark Ricker

Catonsville

Tripp's tapes not as bad as Oval Office high jinks

Because Michael Olesker asks in his column ("Linda Tripp's friend plays innocent -- unconvincingly," Nov. 15), here's the difference between the Tripp tape recording and liberal activists he mentions: Ms. Tripp made a tape in her own home of her own phone calls while the activists eavesdropped on a third party's conversation from their car and then turned over the tape to the New York Times. If I had to pick a case to worry about, I'd pick the latter.

Actually, both events are pretty trivial compared with, for example, sex in the Oval Office, as a columnist with more perspective might observe. It certainly seemed clear enough to Ms. Tripp as to which was more serious, but she chose to obey her conscience in Maryland, Land of Democrats, and she may yet pay for it.

But hey, nobody cares. This president can lie to a grand jury, take money from the Chinese and fall off the front porch. He can run the Oval Office like a Little Rock frat party and the voters will love it and the newspapers will crucify anyone who criticizes him. What a deal.

I must say, it looks like a great job from here. You can party in the office and rent out spare rooms to your friends.

John Heasley

Ellicott City

Wrong message to students in disciplining of principal

When I read the article in the Dayton Daily News from The Sun about the elementary school principal who was forced to retire after she brought an 8-year-old boy into her office for discipline, I was shocked and disappointed at the action taken by your school system.

The paper stated that he repeated a vulgar expression that you say is commonly used as an invitation to oral sex.

You reported that the boy, who has undergone counseling, appears not to have suffered emotional harm. Of course he didn't suffer any emotional harm. Anyone who uses language like he did would probably not suffer emotionally no matter what anyone said to him. He needed his bottom busted, which he probably never did get.

Did anyone ever ask if the poor, innocent 8-year old girl suffered any emotional harm from having to listen to the boy's vulgar remarks? The boy will be free now to do it again. What about the emotional harm the principal must be suffering, having to retire?

Principal Colyn Harrington was trying to correct the boy. This may have been his only chance to learn he has to pay for wrongdoings, until it is too late for him. It appears the only thing he learned from this is that he can do and say anything he wants to, to anyone he wants to, and if anyone corrects him, that person is going to get into trouble, not him.

Phyllis Siler

Dayton, Ohio

The three letters to the editor ("Former principal showed she cared by threatening third-grade student," Nov. 13) left out one very important point that surely was not overlooked by those who choose to be a problem in our public school system: The message you send to these unruly children.

That message is continue to be unruly because your teachers and principals will be punished, not those who cause the problem.

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