For city to unite, drug users must be returned to society
The Sun's Dec. 8 front page evoked mixed emotions, as Mayor Martin O'Malley's prayer to "heal and unite" was coupled with news of escalation in drug violence and failures of the state's juvenile justice system.
How can a city unite when one person in 10 is by definition a criminal because of his or her use of illicit drugs?
Such people live outside the law and have no trust of the police, because they fear arrest. They even fear that social and medical services may lead to the detection of their crime and to incarceration.
They seek justice through a harsh vigilante system that terrorizes the city.
How can the mayor's prayer be answered unless the illicit drug users and distributors are brought back within the normal channels of city life?
And, how can this happen when some are unable to give up the drugs and the drug commerce?
Perhaps much of the money used to detect, arrest and incarcerate the drug users must be spent on adequate treatment slots and prolonged therapy and guidance.
But what of those who are not ready to stop using heroin or cocaine? Maintenance on those drugs under medical supervision, coupled with continued social and psychological treatment, at least as a study project with clearly delineated goals, may offer a solution.
We must remember that the laws against such drugs were passed to protect us from the harm drugs cause.
But now is the time for courage in dealing with tragedy and chaos in Baltimore.
Heroin maintenance, if only for a limited period for those who are unable to accept other therapy, might just bring the victims of drug abuse back into society and put the drug dealers out of business.
Dr. Nelson Goodman, Shady Side
The mayor is right to clean up the city
Kudos to Mayor Martin O'Malley for his Main Street cleanup and proposed springtime neighborhood cleanup initiative ("O'Malley's clean sweep," Dec. 14).
After a heavy rain toward the end of last summer, Baltimore gained a new distinction: a city where one could walk from one end of the harbor to the other without getting one's feet wet -- on floating trash.
But where did all this trash come from?
At 48 years old, my memories of growing up in Baltimore include little old ladies, of all ethnic backgrounds, scrubbing marble steps and sweeping sidewalks.
Where has this mentality gone, and what can we do to get it back?
I propose a sister initiative to Mayor O'Malley: one in which all city residents are taught that our city is what we make it. How about creating, instead of a "throw your trash on the ground" attitude, a "pick up a piece of trash" mentality?
Wouldn't a cleaner city of Baltimore benefit all of us?
Dave Pawloski, Baldwin
Baltimore likes to see its mayor on the streets
It appears that Martin O'Malley already knows what Kurt L. Schmoke never did learn in 12 years as mayor: The people of Baltimore like to see their mayor from time to time.
Betsy Toland, Baltimore
Is the city comptroller defending citizens' needs . . .
City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt voted "no" for the sweetheart deal presented to the Cordish Co. ("Project gets approval after city board battle," Dec. 9).
The comptroller felt that this transaction was not a good deal for the city. She also voiced concern that she had only received the proposal's details one day before the board meeting.
Our city does not need deals that do not benefit the taxpayers, from which private developers make all the money.
We elected Ms. Pratt because of her independence and she has shown that she thinks of city citizens first.
Floyd Briscoe Wright, Baltimore
. . . or grandstanding to garner publicity?
Who would be the first detractor of the Martin O'Malley administration?
During Mr. O'Malley's first day on the job, Joan Pratt jumped into this spot, grandstanding against the mayor's efforts to move ahead with the stalled entertainment complex in the Brokerage.
This much-needed project doesn't need the interference of a publicity-seeking detractor. Ms. Pratt's actions are an insult to the citizens of Baltimore.
Walter Boyd, Lutherville
'The Corner' should be on mayor's reading list
I was surprised no one recommended the new mayor read "The Corner," by David Simon and Edward Burns and Jerry Minton ("O'Malley's reading list," Opinion Commentary, Dec. 6).
It would behoove Mayor O'Malley to read this book about a year in the life of a Baltimore neighborhood.
What better example of the city's seemingly intractable problems than the many corners like Monroe and Fayette streets.
Reading this book would allow him to experience, up close, the lives of those who could be most affected by "zero tolerance."
Patrick Pugh, Joppa
The Sun isn't qualified to pass judgment on mayor