Retirement park is best way to reuse stadium siteAs Anna...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 16, 1999

Retirement park is best way to reuse stadium site

As Anna Mae Becker noted in her recent letter ("`Technology Park' could revive community," April 5), there is no unanimity in Ednor Gardens-Lakeside over how best to redevelop the Memorial Stadium site. However, a clear majority of residents present at the Feb. 23 meeting of the local community association supported the GEDCO/PHI retirement community proposal rather than the "technology park" Ms. Becker favors.

Nearly 200 residents attended the Feb. 23 meeting and the GEDCO proposal garnered 103 votes, compared to 62 for the technology park and 19 for the mixed-use development proposal.

The stadium redevelopment is the most important issue facing our community. The civic association tried hard to conduct its vote in the fairest way possible. We mailed meeting notices to all 2,100 neighborhood households, inviting citizens to hear the three proposals at a City College meeting on Feb. 16, then express their preference at our Feb. 23 meeting. We distributed flyers and posted announcements for that meeting at key points in the community. Ednor Gardens-Lakeside residents were well informed about this opportunity to express their preference for the site's reuse.

Ms. Becker's limited canvass of part of Ednor Gardens hardly substitutes for a community-wide decision made after extensive discussion of the three pending proposals -- especially since her petition did not offer residents a choice other than the technology park.

Now the four neighborhoods adjacent to the stadium site have united around the retirement community proposal. We feel that it will best stabilize and enhance our neighborhoods.

The retirement community will maintain the area's residential character, with minimal increase in traffic, and will provide residents desperately needed and affordable recreation options; it includes a full-service YMCA as well as space for ballfields, a playground and park land.

We hope the city accepts the community's choice -- the retirement campus. It is not everyone's first choice, but it is the majority's choice.

Barbara Ruland, Baltimore

The writer is first vice president and Memorial Stadium task force representative for the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside Civic Association.

Teen says education about abstinence is best

As a freshman in high school, I'm dismayed by Baltimore County's approach to teen sex and sex education. The county's attitude seems to be that they don't want teens having sex, but they know we'll do it anyway. This message is contradictory and hypocritical. As a teen, I consider it insulting.

The program at my high school, and the Baltimore County policy, is supposedly abstinence-based, yet it allows teachers to bring contraceptives to the classroom, pass them around, and discuss them. So they don't condone premarital sex, but they do condone teenagers using condoms? I guess no one stopped to think about what condoms are for.

Adults assume that teenagers will inevitably give in to their hormones, but has anyone bothered asking us? Recent surveys show that approval of premarital sex is decreasing among teenagers.

Abstinence-only has been proven an effective way to teach sex education and teenagers have shown that they are open to an abstinence messsage. There are many recognized sexually transmitted diseases, and they cause everything from cancer, to sterility, to death. The "safe-sex" approach trusts teenager's safety and their very lives to a very thin piece of latex.

"Some protection" is not better than no protection, because we can do better than both: abstinence provides complete protection.

Christine Walsh, Owings Mills

Religion not good reason to deny gay rights

I appreciate the coverage and strong editorial support The Sun gave this year's Maryland gay rights bill ("Senate should approve gay rights legislation," April 1). Although ultimately defeated, the bill progressed further than such legislation has ever gone in this state, thanks in part to strong support from Gov. Parris Glendening.

I was most concerned to see an amendment attached to the bill that would have allowed people to discriminate against gays if this behavior was based on their religious beliefs.

To me, such a proposal is a first step down a slippery slope to oppression of minorities. Some of the worst human-rights abuses in history have been justified on religious grounds: for instance, the Inquisition, slavery in western nations, racial discrimination in the United States, and apartheid in South Africa.

As a gay Christian, I'm offended that people want to deny my right to equal protection under the law because of their personal religious beliefs. Freedom of religion is one of the most cherished rights we enjoy as Americans, but religious belief should not be used as a cover for bigotry.

Robert Olsen, Baltimore

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