Harbor visitor center has served city, needs prominent...

Letters to the Editor

July 05, 1999

Harbor visitor center has served city, needs prominent site

Although it was exciting to read about plans for a new Constellation visitors center in the Inner Harbor, "Visitors center design approved," (June 25) I write to remind readers that, for several years, the much-maligned building now slated for removal has served the Inner Harbor as the real visitors center.

While the Constellation has been in dry dock, it was the place visitors came to get their bearings. On summer weekends, they came by the thousands for information on hotels and restaurants, bus schedules and ball games and for restrooms and wheelchair rentals.

On one Saturday last August, 3,200 visitors passed through the turnstile.

The center's staff and volunteers (including me) is to dispense information in a hospitable way and see that visitors go out the door with a smile and a can-do countenance that replaces the quizzical expression they wore coming in.

Alas, the visitors center has had to vacate this hand-me-down space as the Constellation returns to her berth. We have ended up in temporary quarters, a mobile trailer south of the Light Street Pavilion which is even less commodious. Being further from the gateway to the Inner Harbor, our crowd appears to be somewhat lighter.

The visitors center performs a valuable service, not only to the Inner Harbor attractions, but to the venues around the city. Visitors leave the center heading up Charles Street to the Cultural Center, out to the restaurants in Fells Point and Highlandtown, to the markets in Federal Hill and Lexington Street, to the Babe Ruth and the B&O museums.

A conspicuous and spacious location for this important activity is appropriate. Authorities should be challenged to find space for it near the gateway area.

Isaac C. Lycett, Baltimore

Baltimore needs a fairer jury selection system

Gregory Kane's column about jury duty in Baltimore, "Baltimore's revolving-door jury system doesn't do justice to those often called" (June 20), certainly hit home for me.

When my husband and I moved to Baltimore 13 years ago, we registered to vote. Soon after that we received questionnaires from the Circuit Court regarding jury duty. During the past 13 years, we have each been summoned for jury duty seven times.

A few years ago, we heard that Baltimore would start using driver's license records as well as voter registration to determine the jury pool. If they have done so, it has brought no relief. The summonses continue to arrive every 16 to 18 months.

On the other hand, we know people in Baltimore who have never been summoned for jury duty. Some have ignored the first summons they received and have never heard anything more.

The city needs to use every means available to distribute the civic duty of jury participation fairly among all citizens.

Leslie Christopher,Baltimore

Schaefer isn't the first to throw his weight around

"Once upon a time, the governor had his way at Board of Public Works meetings. Then William Donald Schaefer came along," read a recent Sun headline ("Comptroller Annoyed," June 29). The article reads as if governors should expect to control that board, but Maryland's Constitution and history simply does not bear that out.

Perhaps The Sun remembers a distinguished comptroller by the name of Louis Goldstein. A check of the record will show he also took his job very seriously and caused every governor he served some very uncomfortable moments on the Board of Public Works.

Hats off to Mr. Schaefer. He knows he wasn't elected to be a rubber stamp.

The people of Maryland benefit from the viewpoints of all three members of the Board of Public Works.

Perhaps The Sun could use some Maryland history lessons.

Christopher C. Hartman, Cockeysville

The writer was press secretary to William Donald Schaefer when Mr. Schaefer was mayor of Baltimore.

More guns don't mean more violence, killings

I believe Nicholas Varga's logic is faulty when he states, "It is only logical to believe that more unregulated lethal weapons means more indiscriminate killing and threats of violence" ("Weighing merits of Second Amendment," June 26).

I challenge Mr. Varga (or anyone) to prove that more guns -- unregulated or regulated -- mean more indiscriminate killing and threats of violence

Indeed, it is difficult to find any area of the country in which guns are not "regulated."

And, looking at crime data for large U.S. cities that strictly regulate guns, such as New York City and Washington, reveals that the murder rate is considerably higher in those cities than in ones that permit law-abiding citizens to protect themselves with firearms.

Perhaps, rather than look to daggers and swords in medieval Europe, Mr. Varga should consider data for U.S. states that allow citizens to carry weapons.

He might find that violent crime rates have decreased where citizens are permitted to be armed.

Earl P. Weaver, Havre de Grace

Gun rights belong to private individuals ...

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