Arts emphasis could help city thriveWe would like to...


June 21, 1999

Arts emphasis could help city thrive

We would like to elaborate on The Sun's coverage of the symposium, "Arts as a magnet for Baltimore" ("Lighting a fire under cultural groups," June 15).

At this unprecedented gathering June 14 at the Baltimore Museum of Art, more than 350 independent artists, cultural leaders, representatives of community development organizations and business leaders came together to determine how to harness the rich, yet untapped, strength of Baltimore's cultural assets.

Many of us recognize how culturally rich our community is. Yet we are also struck by the fact that many within our community -- let alone outside of it -- are unaware of and unconnected to these marvelous resources.

We believe that can and must change.

One of the symposium's most compelling themes was our shared desire to create a vision for metropolitan Baltimore that would help institutions large and small flourish, businesses prosper and artists thrive.

How can we energize the city and the region? According to experts from five cities who gathered at this conference, the arts must be a central, galvanizing civic force and a part of all decision making.

The message of the day was that cities flourish when all citizens are touched by the arts in all aspects of their lives.

Symposium participants left with great hope that we can make these ideas work for Baltimore.

Nancy Haragan

Debra Rubino


This letter was also signed by the five other members of the Baltimore Arts Advocates.

City and suburbs: Who subsidizes whom?

In his recent letter, David Rupkey took Neail Peirce and others to task for disparaging suburbs and said to urbanites, "Until you come up with [solutions], please take the tax handouts from us poor suburbanites," ("Sticking it to suburbia from the shell of a city," June 12).

Mr. Rupkey has some good points, but I am confused as to which tax handouts I, as a city dweller, should take?

Is it the handout that keeps the Baltimore Opera and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the city for suburbanites to visit -- using the city's roads and other facilities?

Or the taxes which assist the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery to stay open and in good repair for suburbanites to clog our streets to visit?

Perhaps it is the stadiums built at taxpayer expense that allow suburbanites to come into the city to decorate our otherwise drab lawns with beer bottles and urinate on our shrubs.

Or the taxes that enable the Jones Falls Expressway to remain in relatively good repair so suburbanites can speed to the (tax-supported) Inner Harbor aquarium and Maryland Science Center?

As a city resident, who pays extortionate taxes myself, I can afford to visit few of these attractions.

So if there is a subsidy I could apply for, which would allow me to enjoy this suburbanite largess, and enable me to attend the symphony or opera, I wish Mr. Rupkey would let me know where to sign up.

Norris Walker


Hurting innocent people to get to their leaders

Listen to the U.S. pronouncements about Yugoslavia. Harken back to those at the Persian Gulf war's end. Substitute Saddam Hussein for Slobodan Milosevic.

The parallels are astounding. In both Iran and Yugoslavia, the idea of our policy seems to be: If we punish the people, they will turn on their leaders.

We cannot have a normal diplomatic relationship with the country, we say, as long as Mr. Hussein or Mr. Milosevic remains in power. If the people don't understand this, punish them until they do.

While we claim to be after their leadership, we punish the people. In Iraq, the cost of this policy has been estimated at more than one million civilian deaths. In Yugoslavia, the counting is just beginning.

Herman Schmidt Bradshaw

Cartoon was unfair to NRA, gun owners

I found The Sun's June 11 political cartoon unfair and demeaning to the millions of law-abiding citizens who make up the National Rifle Association (NRA). We are not a terrorist organization, nor do we have an agenda to arm children or oversee slaughter in our streets and schools.

The NRA is responsible for more anti-violence legislation, tough criminal penalties and gun safety education than the self-righteous liberal media and Democratic demagogues who find no evil in criminals and no good in one of the weapons they choose to misuse.

In fact, there is no "gun violence," only human failure.

I will vigorously guard my ability to protect myself and my family by any means available. This includes my right to own a firearm and to belong to a legitimate organization like the NRA.

Ronald L. Dowling


Right to bear arms belongs to individuals

In response to Jules Witcover's "Perspective" article on the Second Amendment, "Whose right is it?" (June 13), I'd note that the Supreme Court has addressed the Second Amendment on at least a half dozen occasions.

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