New arena downtown would not help revive BaltimoreIn their...


April 21, 1999

New arena downtown would not help revive Baltimore

In their push for a new downtown sports arena, Baltimore City's leaders have shown once again how far removed they are from reality.

With all the problems facing the city -- businesses and citizens moving out steadily, more than 300 murders a year, a court system that is crumbling from the inside out, a school system that is a model of failure on every level -- you'd think our leaders would be focusing on seeking effective, innovative solutions to these long-standing problems.

Instead, they are warming to the nonsensical idea of pouring $200 million into a new sports arena at a time when we don't need it.

The city has no professional hockey or basketball team, the most likely candidates to use such an arena regularly. It is highly unlikely that Baltimore will attract such a team without giving away the farm the way we did to entice Ravens' owner Art Modell to move to town.

So what's left to occupy such an arena -- the occasional monster-truck rally or professional wrestling freak show?

Our leaders are truly living in denial if they think that building an arena will get the city off life support. We already have a harbor full of glitzy establishments that operate on a daily basis, and conditions in Baltimore continue to deteriorate.

We don't need another last-place sports team full of whining, underachieving multimillionaires.

John Martalo, Owings Mills

Clinton's conduct wasn't just private misbehavior

The Sun's April 14 editorial ("Finding a punishment to fit the crime") criticizes Kenneth Starr, the House of Representatives and the Senate for using "the most possible power" in their respective roles in the Lewinsky matter. But you omitted President Clinton and his administration, which used all their power to delay and undermine Mr. Starr's investigation.

In fact, were it not for Starr's investigation, the stained dress would still be closeted and the Clinton machine would have steamrolled Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky with smear and lies, relegating them to historical footnotes.

You called Judge Susan Weber Wright's recent contempt citation for President Clinton a "fitting last word" regarding Mr. Clinton's "tawdry private behavior," as if that was what this whole saga was about. Lying under oath by a sitting president, regardless of the subject matter, is not private behavior: It is blatant disregard for our system of justice.

Likewise, Mr. Clinton's angry, finger-wagging denial on national television was not private behavior. It was an arrogant, in-your-face show of disrespect for the American people.

Doug Lombardo, Timonium

President deserved more than contempt citation

The Sun's April 12 article "Clinton cited for contempt in Jones case" made me wonder. It reported that the judge who issued the contempt citation "wrote that she had fully considered whether to hold Clinton in criminal contempt of court, but said such a severe finding could consume the president's time."

Am I to understand that if I lied to her court while under oath, this judge will "fully consider" whether the imposition of the harsher criminal contempt charge on me might consume my time?

I guess some of us are more equal than others.

Richard Walter, Columbia

On Earth Day, let's improve our surroundings

In honor of the fact that tomorrow is Earth Day, perhaps everyone should take a look at the "earth" around them to see what condition it is in.

And perhaps we can ask ourselves: Is there trash around my neighborhood that I can clean up? Could I plant trees and flowers to improve the air quality and beauty of the earth around me? Do I recycle everything I can -- paper, aluminum, plastic -- so my waste is not choking our rapidly filling landfills? Do I dump toxic chemicals down drains or into sewers that flow into our bay?

On this last Earth Day of the century, everyone should go outdoors and do some small thing to help clean up their little part of the earth. Every school, business, store, factory and government agency in our area should take an hour or two off to go outside and do something to beautify their surroundings.

What a great way to start the new millennium.

Geri Schlenoff, Lutherville

Anti-Semitism seen in reference to Pikesville

I was disappointed to read your April 15 front page story "Off welfare, new workers seek tax help." It began with the quote, in bold letters, "This ain't a Pikesville accountant's office. I'm in a whole different business."

The accountant who made that statement, Andrew Hudyma, might not have thought about what he said, but The Sun certainly should have. What that quote suggested to me is that all Baltimore-area Jews live in Pikesville, they all make a lot of money, and they all go to their Jewish accountants.

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