West side's story could recreate downtown's successI want...

Letters to the Editor

July 26, 1999

West side's story could recreate downtown's success

I want to second The Sun's endorsement of the formation of the West Side Development Corp. ("West side gets moving in the right direction," July 18) As the editorial suggested, the west side now in many ways parallels the situation downtown when the Charles Center and Inner Harbor projects were launched.

In the late 1950s, the Charles Center-Inner Harbor area seemed like a wasteland of empty buildings and vacant lots. A few viable businesses and residences hung on in some historically significant structures.

The perception was that the city's plight was desperate: Residents were moving out, local headquarters companies were being acquired by out-of-town conglomerates and city taxes were unable to keep up with social problems.

Then, the initiative for redevelopment came from the private sector and it was warmly welcomed by public officials.

The success of the city's renaissance from that low point is well known, but it is sometimes forgotten that it took almost 20 years of sustained effort to reverse the city's collective inferiority complex.

Those 20 years were exciting -- a true adventure story, with many hair's-breadth escapes and cliff-hanging success stories -- before the city was ready to contemplate attracting tourists.

Today, the West Side Development Corp. can act as the delivery system for the West Side Master Plan, just as Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management Inc. (CC-IH) did for those downtown projects.

The new organization's approach should be the same as CC-IH's was when it was formed: those in charge must have no other thought but to do whatever is necessary to make this program work.

That principle was followed by seven mayors. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Martin L. Millspaugh


The writer was chief executive officer of Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management Inc. from 1965 to 1985.

Mass transit is needed to build world-class region

Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the citizens of Maryland now have an opportunity to make transportation decisions that could move us forward to become a world-class state or backward to more congestion, dirtier air and dehumanizing sprawl.

World-class communities move people efficiently, rapidly and efficiently. If there was ever a metropolitan area that should have learned that this means mass transit -- not automobiles -- it should be traffic-choked metropolitan Washington.

The Inter-County Connector should be a light rail line. The new bridge on the Capitol beltway over the Potomac River should be only eight lanes. A new subway line should be part of the new bridge.

As Sydney, Australia prepares for the next Olympics, it is building a new subway line. After traffic fiascos at the Atlanta games, the International Olympic Committee has made substantial mass transit infrastructure a pre-requisite for all new Olympic sites.

As the Washington-Baltimore area seeks to host a future Olympics, and grows into a more crowded megalopolis, it is high time we grew smart.

We need to learn from world-class cities such as London and Paris and build mass transit.

Highways are old, 20th-Century technology. We should grow smart with mass transit.

T. Herbert Dimmock


If gun crimes are few, why push for gun control?

The Sun's article "Violent crime rate drops 7 percent" (July 19) reported that in 1998 violent crime was at its lowest level in 25 years and that only 8 percent of those crimes involved a firearm.

Both Attorney General Janet Reno and the Republicans offered explanations for the drop in crime, but neither mentioned gun control.

This was not surprising, since firearms were rarely used in violent crimes. Why, then, is there so big a push for more gun control, both by politicians and this newspaper?

Do they pay any attention to facts or just pander to emotions?

Gordon B. Shelton


Child's murder shows parents must be vigilant

Shenea Counts' death was another ghastly murder ("Stray bullet kills girl in front of her home," July 22). But I want to know why a 13-year-old was on the city streets at 12:30 a.m.

How many more black teen-agers must die before African-American parents, and other adults, begin to supervise their children?

Shouldn't the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) be promoting this kind of parental responsibility, instead of worrying whether enough blacks are on TV?

Michael Holden


Baltimore should stop bargaining away justice

I don't always agree with Michael Olesker, but his column about Hispanics speaking out in the face of repeated outrages captured why so many citizens are justifiably upset: In Baltimore, even when a criminal is caught perpetrating felonies, as occurred with Officer Dorian Martin, real punishment is often plea-bargained away and justice is circumvented ("Angry crowd speaks for fed-up public: `Justicia,' " July 13).

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