Digital television must not leave poor and urbanites...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 12, 1999

Digital television must not leave poor and urbanites behind

The Sun's article "Sinclair tries to change the future of TV" (July 4) scratched the surface of the competing agendas in the discussion over the digital television (DTV) technical standard.

Many participants in this debate have built careers, businesses and reputations on the selection of the current standard (8VSB). Preserving the status quo is in their self-interest. Few of them seem to care about the viewers.

Sinclair Broadcast Group does have an agenda and it is not hidden: DTV should work at least as well as, if not better than, today's analog TV service. The current DTV system's failure to replicate current TV reception, and enable viewers to receive over-the-air signals indoors, has already been proved.

The electronics manufacturers should either build better DTV receivers (which they claim they may do one day) or select a standard that already works (one such standard exists).

Viewers who receive free, over-the-air TV should subscribe to cable or satellite service because they want to, not because they have to. Those who subscribe to pay TV may not care about free television, but we do.

Broadcast television is a mass medium and we believe urban dwellers, low-income households and minority viewers who rely heavily on free television should not be left behind in the DTV revolution.

About 25,000 DTV sets are in homes today, out of more than 300 million sets in use. Let's fix the DTV problem before it gets larger, disenfranchises millions of viewers and ends free TV as we know it.

Mark E. Hyman, Baltimore

The writer is director of government relations at the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Can razing high rises eliminate crime, poverty?

As part of an immigrant family -- my parents and I immigrated to the United States when I was 13-years-old -- who lived in a high-rise apartment building in Brooklyn, N.Y., I am skeptical about the wisdom of demolishing the Murphy Homes ("Murphy Homes falls victim to change," July 2).

The Brooklyn apartments where I grew up were not luxurious or modern. But the tenants led productive and peaceful, albeit difficult, lives. Their children moved on to enjoy a sweeter portion of the American pie.

The Murphy apartment complex apparently became a refuge for criminal activity and a haven for drug addicts.

Tenants who wanted no part of drugs and crime were trapped. They were unable to do anything about the physical, moral and spiritual deterioration that was enveloping the complex.

But is the solution to demolish the buildings and replace them with a garden apartment complex?

Will changing the physical configuration of these residential structures eliminate the crime, drugs, and poverty that infested the neighborhood? Are crimes and drugs not rampant in some row houses?

Until we identify the root of the problem which leads to poverty, drugs and crime, we are deluding ourselves if we think demolishing the buildings will provide a solution.

Gary I. Strausberg, Baltimore

The writer is a judge in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.

Eliminating highways wouldn't ease congestion

In his recent letter, George Maurer, senior planner at the Maryland Office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, cites a Texas Transportation Institute study that found "areas that have invested heavily in road expansion have fared no better in easing congestion than those that did not" ("Building more roads takes social toll, but won't ease congestion," July 4.)

Let's do away with the beltways and Interstates 95, 83 and 70 and see how well we "fare easing congestion."

E. C. Chavatel Jr., Hunt Valley

Turning Honeygo area into `a special place'

I was dismayed by The Sun's editorial critical of development in Honeygo ("From Honeygo to Honey-whoa," July 6).

As a resident of Perry Hall farms in the Honeygo section, I applaud Councilman Vincent Gardina for advocating larger, wider lots and brick-front homes. These features dress up the area and add an aura of sophistication to the neighborhoods.

Home buyers are demanding these features. The area is losing potential home buyers to Harford County and the northern regions of Baltimore County, where they are standard on new homes. Mr. Gardina is trying to keep potential homebuyers in the Perry Hall area.

As the county planner the editorial quoted said in 1983, "this is the last area; we've got to do something special."

This is precisely what Mr. Gardina is advocating. An area of Baltimore County where homes are not lumped on top of one another, where families can have a yard, surrounding their home, where residents can walk their dogs on tree-lined streets and enjoy their peaceful community.

A neighborhood that will age gracefully with the families who call it home.

Who would object to these qualities in their community?

Karyn Danielcyz, Perry Hall

The Sun was wrong to criticize design changes recommended for the Honeygo area. These changes will improve the area's appearance.

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