Status quo candidates offer little real hope for...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 09, 1999

Status quo candidates offer little real hope for Baltimore's poor

The media have decided there are only three realistic candidates for mayor of Baltimore. So we've been treated to televised debates involving just three men.

We want systemic change. Poor people need radical change. We watched the debates hoping against hope that a real candidate would emerge.

It didn't happen. There will be no change. That's the stark reality. Each of the three candidates is capable of re-arranging the furniture, but they are not interested in building a new house.

This means that for one-fourth of our population, the people living in poverty, are provided no hope for the future. The only clear plans these candidates offered were zero tolerance measures, broken window theories and "lock `em up" strategies.

All three candidates are tied to the same old solutions. You can see Shadow Government Schaefer, the Wyndham Baker, Demolition Dan Henson, all the loyal bankers and developers and even the Fraternal Order of Police lurking in the background, pulling the strings.

The gut issue is still the same: It is the grinding poverty that continues to eat Baltimore City inside-out. Our city has declined rapidly because of the obscene disparity isolating the rich from the poor.

We need "zero tolerance" for greed and a willingness to divide the economic pie with justice.

If we are content to keep the status quo with these candidates, we will get what we deserve.

Brendan Walsh, Baltimore

The writer is a co-founder of Viva House, Baltimore Catholic Worker.

Baltimore mayor's race: No whites need apply

When I moved three years ago to a suburb just south of Baltimore, I had no idea that I'd be living near such a hotbed of racism.

The statements of Baltimore politicians, ministers and others regarding Councilman Martin O'Malley confirm my suspicions about racial double standards.

I do not know whether Mr. O'Malley is the right person for mayor, but to categorically reject his candidacy because he is white is blatant racism.

Mr. O'Malley is the only top contender for mayor who has had no lies about his credentials on his resume or campaign literature and no deep financial troubles or mismanagement in his background. Is honesty less important than race?

Mr. O'Malley is the only top Democratic contender who has not made the mayoral race an embarrassment to Baltimore.

But the city might just as well put up a billboard: "Baltimore mayoral election: No whites need apply."

Laura Graham, Severna Park

Lawrence Bell has failed to show responsibility

Every time I read about City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III, it seems that he says he did not directly do it: solicit Crown Central Petroleum Corp. for funds; have his supporters disrupt Councilman Martin O'Malley's rally; buy expensive clothes from campaign funds; fail to pay his debts on time.

If Mr. Bell can't control his own people and finances, how can he keep track of all the employees and finances of Baltimore City?

Is this candidate going to help the people of Baltimore, or help himself?

Don Oates, Upperco

I wonder if Comptroller William Donald Schaefer has collected the Maryland "use tax" due on the $4,300 of clothes that City Council President Lawrence A. Bell recently purchased in New York?

Barbara Gilmour, Baltimore

Honor and truth are keys for Baltimore's next mayor

I can't believe that Marylanders may again vote for tainted candidates. The many scandals in the state's recent political history (Spiro Agnew, Larry Young, Marvin Mandel) should have taught us that we should never again accept politicians whose lack of integrity is alarming.

City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III's outburst against Councilman Martin O'Malley and his supporters' disruptive actions at Mr. O'Malley's rally are an outrage.

Carl Stokes misleading the public about his education is another example of wayward thinking.

Honor and truth must be watchwords of our new mayor. Otherwise, we are condemned to sink further into the mire of mendacity.

Kathryn Coke Rienhoff, Baltimore

Time to hold Janet Reno to her word on Waco?

Attorney General Janet Reno has ordered a complete inquiry into the government's actions during the siege of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of more than 80 men, women and children.

I recall Ms. Reno on national television after the siege ended, saying she "takes full responsibility" for what happened.

Shouldn't she then be a defendant if any legal action results from the inquiry?

R. E. Johnson, Glen Burnie

President must protect U.S. citizens on Vieques

I'd like to praise The Sun's article highlighting the sad reality of the 9,311 American citizens who reside on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico ("Puerto Rico threatens big guns," Sept. 1).

But I disagree with its reference to the administration's need to "choose between the politically powerful Latino vote and the military's training demands."

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