Nurse kids in the home Without question the landscape...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

April 22, 2000

Nurse kids in the home

Without question the landscape of the workplace has changed dramatically as more and more women, by necessity or choice, have sought employment.

But it is wrong to bow to political correctness by allowing their very young children to disrupt business, as is suggested in the article "Nursing mother leaves GOP panel" (April 15).

Clearly, infants and toddlers do not belong in an office setting. It is unfair to suggest that keeping tiny tots out of a business environment is "sending a terrible message to working people."

Amy Leaberry was undoubtedly effective as a Republican activist.

But her choice to be a mother of three children under 4 years old should not affect those with whom she works. A 3-month-old child who requires breastfeeding does not belong in the workplace, nor do two- and three-year-old children belong at evening meetings.

Indeed, with her record of absenteeism at meetings of the Queen Anne's County GOP central committee, it seems Ms. Leaberry's attendance record may be the issue, not the fact that she chooses to breast-feed her baby.

But it is unrealistic for her to expect either the infant or her toddlers to be quiet and well-behaved in a setting designed for adults to function at their jobs.

I don't agree that "this is an example of how little sensitivity there is." This is an example of "mommyism" gone amok.

Ms. Leaberry would be far more effective, and her children far more comfortable, if she stayed at home until the youngsters reach an age at which they can attend meetings without needing to be fed, nurtured or quieted.

Cooky McClung

Chestertown

Regarding the breastfeeding GOP activist Amy Leaberry, I think women can just take things too far.

Of course most people are pro-family and family values or whatever other values the Republican Party wants to claim for itself alone.

But it's one thing to breast-feed discreetly and of necessity in a public meeting and absolutely another to appear with two kids running around and sit there uncovered and breast-feed as if to say, "This is my right."

I don't care how natural breast-feeding is, there's something about manners and society in general that Amy Leaberry doesn't get.

Annie P. Wagner

Lutherville

As artist, Van Gogh certainly `made it'

The Sun Journal article on absinthe, was marred by inaccuracies ("Precious inspiration to oblivion," April 18).

Vincent Van Gogh shot himself in the chest on July 27, 1890; he did not "put a bullet through his brain," as the close of the article suggested.

The article also leaves the false impression that Van Gogh "never made it as an artist while alive."

That's a remarkable statement considering all that Van Gogh accomplished.

The article gives the misleading impression that it was only because of the "pain of his failure" that he shot himself.

Sure Van Gogh felt like a failure. But he was also malnourished and physically ill.

Van Gogh was ill with a type of epilepsy that involves delusions and psychotic attacks. During one such seizure he cut off part of his left ear-lobe.

His artistry succeeded because he was able to identify deeply with people who one might call social misfits. He made it as an artist in the sense of his mastering the modern style.

If writer Richard O'Mara meant that Van Gogh didn't make it as a commercial artist, he has a point. Otherwise, I think Mr. O'Mara misunderstands the contribution that Van Gogh made.

Van Gogh may not have made it as a patient or as a person with his own infirmities, but he made it as a mature artist.

Diane Kohan

Baltimore

West side needs to use transit

The Sun has written numerous editorials decrying the lack of a convincing transit strategy for the Baltimore region.

While I agree with this assessment, I am surprised that The Sun has not linked the transit issue with west side redevelopment.

The Sun has endorsed the Baltimore Development Corp.'s west side strategies, which don't deal with mass transit and focus their transportation strategy on additional parking garages and opening the Lexington Mall corridor to cars.

The west side has the best transit connections in Maryland. Bus lines, the Metro subway and the light rail line traverse the area and most visitors reach the area via public transit.

The west side also holds the key to improving connections among the area's various transit modes. Any transit line extensions will likely connect to the existing systems somewhere on the west side.

West Side redevelopment is needed, desirable and a huge opportunity for the city.

But it should be conceived as a transit-oriented development. It should promote good connections for pedestrians and concentrate use near mass transit stations.

Proposals that place parking garages and telephone switch gear on valuable floor space ("call centers") next to existing transit stations and relegate pedestrians to narrow sidewalks need to be reconsidered -- not only because of their much-debated lack of historic preservation but because they also lack long-term transportation thinking.

Klaus Philipsen

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