The best conventions are in hotels near convention...

Letters to the Editor

February 23, 1999

The best conventions are in hotels near convention centers

I agree completely with the editorial "Without more hotels, city can't be good host" (Feb. 11).

Over the years, I have attended the National Catholic Educational Association convention (a major convention of 10,000 to 15,000 participants) in 10 cities. The best experiences have been when our hotel was close to the convention center, restaurants and area activities.

Few cities have a convention center better positioned than Baltimore with proximity to the Inner Harbor, Camden Yards, Little Italy, museums and historic sites. Too bad so many visitors can't stay downtown because there are too few rooms.

The NCEA Convention is coming to Baltimore in April 2000. Convention-goers want to network outside of session hours, and the local steering committee wants to promote the city. But that will be very challenging when participants have to stay at hotels throughout the metropolitan area. Will this major national convention want to return?

Donald Grzymski, Baltimore

The writer is president of Archbishop Curley High School.

Dispensing drugs is a way to halt illegal drug profits

The account of a drug dealer owning 129 rented houses in East Baltimore and coming to collect the rent in a Rolls Royce while trailed by a white Humvee carrying bodyguards is cause for despair ("When a drug lord is your landlord," Feb. 14).

When will we admit that the power of the easy money from drugs cannot be stopped and that the only way to stop the killings and drug fiefdoms is to allow the sale of the drugs from dispensaries?

Please get your editorial cartoons off Washington and onto the evils of the drug trade.

C. Clark Jones, Parkville

Court backlog affects child placement, too

Recent reporting of the difficulties that the Baltimore Circuit Court is having in coping with the criminal docket has heightened the public's concern about management of the court's criminal docket. It is time to renew our focus on the resources available to the court to manage its growing caseload.

Members of local citizen review boards have been monitoring the court's performance in handling child abuse and neglect cases for many years, working with the court and various agencies to expedite safe, permanent placement for children in the foster care system.

Baltimore City has nearly 10,000 children in out-of-home placement -- children for whom the court retains continuing jurisdiction and active responsibility. One out of five children in the city will spend some time in placement, and the average length of stay exceeds three years.

Our experience is that the court backlog contributes significantly to denying children the permanance they need. Despite this, we observe that judges and masters spare no effort in attempting to handle the various caseloads. Shortage of resources drives the problem.

We commend Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan for recently assigning a new judge who will begin working with the juvenile docket. This will help reduce the juvenile docket backlog. However, the Baltimore judiciary and associated agencies remain grossly understaffed.

We hope, therefore, that resources are not shifted from child placement to help resolve problems with the criminal docket. Instead, resources should be increased to help the court manage all of the dockets. Such an investment should provide better justice and yield savings in various welfare and correctional agencies, which pay dearly because of court delays.

Thelma Wright, Baltimore

The writer is chairwoman of the Citizens Review Board for Children's city circuit.

Teen deserves explanation, not a license to harass

In the article "Student barks, teacher frets" (Feb 13), the writer seems to favor this young, academically talented student who seems to succeed in class but not in civility. As a citizen, he has every right to solicit and receive an explanation on why he was not recommended for the National Honor Society. But he is not entitled to abuse or accost Kay Sokoloff or any other teacher.

Kenneth Rose, Glenwood

Hurrah for teacher Kay Sokoloff. Franklin Pierce Wright III shows through his actions why he is not an acceptable candidate for the National Honor Society.

Members must have an academic and moral character worth emulating and stand as role models for the other students. Thank goodness Ms. Sokoloff had the courage to stand by those standards. Now if only her school principal and the police would help before she gets hurt.

Karen Ryan, Lisbon

Franklin Pierce Wright III's behavior is very immature and has shown that he is not worthy of having the honor of belonging to the National Honor Society. I am a member of NHS at Western High School, and our counselor, Barbara Golaski, reminds us often that we are the creme de la creme and should act accordingly.

Being a part of the National Honor Society is not Mr. Wright's right.

Kristen Ehrenberger, Baltimore

Don't belittle achievements of World War II generation

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