Local business backs county's push for power to condemn...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 21, 2000

Local business backs county's push for power to condemn

The Sun's characterization of the business community's position in its editorial "The power to condemn" (Jan 12) was incorrect.

The Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce strongly supports County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger's legislation to grant the county authority to condemn private property in areas targeted areas for economic development.

For more than a year, the chamber has engaged in a dialogue with Mr. Ruppersberger and the county's director of economic development, Robert Hannon, to ensure that the bill guarantees that business owners receive due process, fair market value for their property and relocation expenses.

We believe the bill Mr. Ruppersberger's administration is taking to the General Assembly satisfies our concerns.

The Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce agrees with The Sun that state lawmakers need to give the county the ability to condemn blighted properties in these targeted communities.

We intend to make that position clear to the county's delegation in Annapolis.

Robert L. McKinney, Towson

The writer is president of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce.

Don't publish remarks that glorify drug use

We are very upset and most likely will cancel our Sun subscription, which we've had for years.

First, The Sun showed a picture of a teen-ager shooting up heroin on its front page (Dec. 7). The accompanying article described the teen-ager saying shooting up was better than he had been told ("A quick trip from `Sir' to `Yo'," Dec. 7).

Now, in an article on television game shows, The Sun quotes Garth Ancier, NBC's president of entertainment, saying that game shows are like crack cocaine: "Once you're on it, it's wonderful," he said ("Networks' latest big gamble," Jan. 10).

Couldn't this comparison have been left out of the article?

We believe in freedom of the press. But why is it necessary to sensationalize the use of drugs?

The Sun has many good features for our youth, such as Reading by 9. It can be a positive influence.

Edward W. Cummings

Patricia M. Cummings, Brooklyn

The Sun should not print articles that in any way glorify the use of illegal drugs. Quotes characterizing something as being good or better than getting high on crack cocaine should be omitted.

Young people who read the articles could interpret such remarks as a stamp of approval for drug use.

Errors like this are why I do not purchase the paper.

Michael Harper, Baltimore

Integration won't cure television's real problems

NAACP President Kweisi Mfume undoubtedly believes that his success in getting the television network to hire more persons of color will improve the quality of what's on the tube ("More hues for NBC peacock," Jan. 7).

I'm sorry, but I fail to see how more color in the casts of "Friends," "Suddenly Susan" and similar programs will make them better.

Mr. Mfume would have done us all a greater service by using his clout to change the content of programs.

Lack of color is not the big problem. The problem is the mindless, sex-drenched drivel that bombards our children night after night.

Mary F. Kollner, Baltimore

Sexist caption didn't fit article on bowling lanes

As a female, I found offensive the quote The Sun chose as a caption for the photograph with the article "Lanes with ambience to spare" (Jan. 10). The quote, from Ted McFadden, read: "Tenpins is a sissy game. Duckpins is a man's game."

By distinguishingmen's and women's bowling, Mr. McFadden furthers the sexism that quietly pervades today's society. Seemingly inconsequential remarks such as this increase the difficulty of women gaining a level playing field.

I take umbrage with The Sun for printing this quote on the front page of the Maryland section.

I hope it will be more respectful of women when choosing quotes and other statements in eye-catching positions in the future.

Molly O'Connor, Baltimore

History of hatred makes hate crimes laws necessary

Whether you favor or oppose hate crime legislation, the recent letter criticizing such legislation was strikingly uncogent ("Hate crimes legislation is divisive and unfair," Jan. 11).

It suggested that it didn't matter that Matthew Shepherd (murdered by homophobic thugs) was gay or that James Byrd (lynched by racist thugs) was black.

But Mr. Shepherd was murdered because he was gay. Mr. Byrd was lynched because he was black.

The letter protests the idea that these murders are more heinous because of their motivation. But our racist society has always judged atrocities less heinous when people of color were victims.

Similarly, some straight people feel so revolted by gays that they deem homophobic murder an act of righteousness.

Had racial and homophobic bigotry never been sanctioned by our laws and practices, today's bigots would not feel free to maim and murder. And there would be no point to hate crime legislation.

Unfortunately, some Americans are less incensed by the certain injustice of the crime than by the alleged injustice of hate crimes laws.

Robert Birt, Baltimore

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