City planners ready the blueprint for Baltimore's future...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 16, 1999

City planners ready the blueprint for Baltimore's future

I am writing in response to Edward Gunts' May 2 Urban Landscape column, "An intro to the beginning of a preamble," discussing PlanBaltimore!, the city's new draft master plan.

Mr. Gunts seems nostalgic for an earlier era of city planning when decision-makers imposed their visions on an often-unreceptive public. Highway proposals through Fells Point, Federal Hill and Leakin Park come to mind when recalling this era.

Thankfully, planning has evolved to embrace citizen participation and stakeholder input. The feedback we have received indicates that the PlanBaltimore! process has been an excellent example of this approach.

But planning with public participation requires a tremendous commitment from citizens, extensive public outreach efforts by planners and lots of time.

While everyone is anxious to know what the plans are for their block, going from no master plan to a site specific plan for the whole city cannot credibly or effectively be done overnight.

The Planning Department is eager to work with citizens, businesses, nonprofit groups and government agencies to apply the the goals and policies of PlanBaltimore! block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood throughout the city.

Implementation tools will include our proposed neighborhood planning program, land use master plan, zoning ordinance revision and capital improvement planning process.

We will get to work on these priority items as soon as our draft document receives proper public review, revisions are made and the Planning Commission adopts it as the city's master plan.

The Planning Department will host a public information session to hear comments on the PlanBaltimore! draft at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Roland Park Middle School, 5207 Roland Ave.

Charles C. Graves III

Baltimore

The writer is director of the Baltimore City Department of Planning.

Crime story peddled stereotypes about India

As an Indian, I am greatly concerned about the implications of The Sun's May 3 story "Tradition and murder."

The story can be summed up in one sentence: Alpna Amin had an arranged marriage and, therefore, murdered her husband.

The title itself, "Tradition and murder," suggests that Amin's arranged marriage led her to murder her spouse.

But what led to this crime was a bad marriage, not an arranged marriage. This murder has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Ms. Amin and Viresh Patel were set up by their parents. If they had dated as Americans do, I believe the same events would have resulted.

I wonder how many times The Sun has run an article about a murder of a Christian and discussed his or her marriage and courtship rituals?

This murder was an isolated incident. It should not reflect negatively upon Indian culture and Hindu traditions -- the issue is about a woman who murdered her husband, and nothing else.

It's interesting that it takes an incident such as this for your newspaper to write about a Hindu custom.

Relating the Hindu tradition of arranged marriages to a crime only reinforces negative stereotypes about India.

Rina Vaishnav

Hampstead

Independents powerless by their own choice

Why should independents vote in the Republican Party primary? Anyone who registers as an independent knowingly forfeits the right to vote in a party primary in Maryland.

By registering as an independent, one is saying, in effect: I don't like either political party, but maybe I'll vote in the general election for the candidate I dislike the least.

The independent is being naive. Parties choose their candidates in their primaries.

In Maryland, the real choice generally is in the Democratic primary. To be effective as a citizen and as a voter, one should be able to vote in that primary.

On the other hand, if one wishes to build the Republican Party, he or she should register as a Republican.

And no matter which primary one votes in, you can always act independently in the general election.

The two-party system works fairly well in our country, while the history of third parties is not encouraging.

Independent voters don't have to continue to be powerless. They can always change their registration.

Adelaide C. Rackemann

Baltimore

Parents must shield kids from violence ...

In the wake of the school shootings in Colorado, a welcome dialogue is developing about youth violence.

However, Jack Valenti's statement that there is "zero evidence that has more than a tenuous link" between violent film imagery and violent behavior sadly misses the mark ("At youth violence summit, frank talk, modest plans," May 11).

Research results clearly indicate a link between exposure to violence in the media and violent behavior.

In a society where 54 percent of American children have a TV in their bedrooms and 73 percent of violent incidents portrayed in the media go unpunished, the entertainment industry must become more responsible in policing its product and its marketing methods.

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