Baltimore needs Kweisi Mfume to run for mayorMany people...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 03, 1999

Baltimore needs Kweisi Mfume to run for mayor

Many people, from all walks and stations in life, who love Baltimore want Kweisi Mfume to run for mayor.

Mr. Mfume was courted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to lead it back from the brink of disaster. His conscience led him to accept this daunting calling. He has returned the NAACP to its former preeminence with distinction and integrity in a remarkably short period of time.

Now many citizens, sorely concerned about the city's ability to survive and flourish, have banded together to convince Mr. Mfume to run for mayor, in the same spirit that the NAACP turned to him a few years ago.

It is understandable that others interested in becoming mayor, and their followers, will be frustrated and angered that while they are pursuing the office, the office seems to be pursuing Mr. Mfume. In a cynical age, it is hard for them to believe that that the push for his candidacy is spontaneous. But they are looking for devils who are not there to explain the push for a Mfume candidacy.

I am certain that Mr. Mfume will decide whether to run based on his conscience, not on the inducements many of his supporters wish to give him. The idea of allowing the next mayor to earn outside speaking fees or serve on corporate boards was advanced by the current mayor, not by any of Mr. Mfume's supporters.

Many of us who are deeply concerned about our city and its future hope that in the same spirit that led Mr. Mfume to leave a brilliant congressional career to help the NAACP will now prompt him to accept the challenge of rebuilding the hometown where he himself was rebuilt.

Wally Orlinsky, Baltimore

The writer was Baltimore City Council president from 1971 to 1979.

Mfume's voice needed more for civil rights than city

Kweisi Mfume should resist the movement to draft him as Baltimore's mayor and stay committed to his civil rights work leading the NAACP.

Under Mr. Mfume's direction, this important and historic organization has gotten back on track and its voice is once again being heard. This work is not done, however, and the nation now needs Mr. Mfume much more than Baltimore City.

Racism and hate crimes abound in our country. Black men are being dragged to death behind pickup trucks. Overzealous police officers still beat and execute people. Gay bashing is becoming a fad and racial profiling normal for many law enforcement agencies. We even see high school students taking up arms and coming to school to kill minorities.

I hope that Mr. Mfume does not give up the noble fight. His integrity and spirit are needed for the survival of the NAACP and America.

Baltimore can and will survive with fresh, new leadership -- selected exclusively by the city's electorate.

Joseph Armstead Jr., Baltimore

Look before we leap further into Yugoslavia

NATO says that Slobodan Milosevic's military force is being degraded. General Wesley K. Clark says that "they are vulnerable to collaspe. In short, were winning, he's losing and he knows it."

The nearly 1 million displaced Kosovars may be of the opinion that the current NATO effort to save them does not make the grade. And why should they, or we, believe that a possible invasion of Yugoslavia with ground troops would be any better planned and implemented than the present bombing campaign?

Before America commits lives on the ground in Yugoslavia, President Clinton needs to think this policy through and and Congress needs to throughly debate every aspect of our involvement.

Douglas Hoffman, Baltimore

Use budget for war to change Hollywood

Instead of bombing Yugoslavia into submission, let's spend $6 billion the president wants to fund that war to buy out a couple of networks or film studios.

What they're teaching our younger generation is worse than anything done to ethnic Albanians.

Ken Bitier, Towson

Don't impose religion in the public schools

I am so tired of people writing in saying that tragedies like the one at Columbine High School could be prevented if only religion were taught in public schools.

When they say "religion," presumably they mean their religion. Has it ever occurred to these people that the separation of church and state exists because America is a melting pot of many races, ethnic groups and religions and that to impose the teaching of any one religion in public schools violates the rights of those who believe differently?

These writers apparently assume that Christianity should be taught in the schools, but many of us (also taxpayers) are not Christians. How would Christians feel if their children were forced to learn beliefs diametrically opposed to their own, such as polytheism?

These writers may counter that we could teach some benign, nondenominational version of religion, but even then, how do we choose what to teach? One God? That violates the tenets of many religions. Forget about teaching the Bible. Imagine the outcry.

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