A newcomer who reminds residents of city's treasures I...


May 27, 2000

A newcomer who reminds residents of city's treasures

I am a newcomer to the Baltimore community who has found a wonderful new home in the heart of this great city.

When I decided to leave Columbus, Ohio, my home for 16 years, I could have moved anywhere in America.

I researched many cities. I have to admit that Baltimore was not initially on my list, but after I saw the high cost of housing in cities such as New York and Washington I began considering other eastern communities.

I decided to visit the region, and drive to several cities to get a feel for each them. I flew into Baltimore-Washington International Airport because it was centrally located and cheap.

I never made it to the other cities. I was astonished by what I stumbled upon right here.

From the Inner Harbor to the home of Edgar Allan Poe and the living history of Camden Yards and Federal Hill, I was drawn into the city's life. I knew within a few hours I had found my new home.

I hope lifelong residents know the treasure that is Baltimore: its people. I am amazed by the smiles I get from traffic cops and teen-agers in sagging pants; the help I receive from cashiers and stooped old ladies.

This is not utopia. And I have seen the sting of racism and the despair of homelessness and addiction.

But I know there is much more to Baltimore than the racial divide or the frightening murder rate. There is a rich history of struggle and survival -- of slavery and emancipation, of fire and rebuilding -- a history I am learning to celebrate.

I hope to spend many years in this great city. I hope to see a renaissance of pride in the ties that bind us.

Maybe it takes an outsider to come in and remind Baltimore of its greatness.

James H. Chapmyn


Promoting the inexperienced isn't the right remedy

While it is sad that minorities and women have only recently begun to enter the Baltimore County Police Department in significant numbers, changing the laws to allow them to be promoted faster won't help ("Blame the system," May 19).

The police department's promotion system is set up, as it should be, so that officers with more experience are promoted over those with less.

Are we to allow minority officers to become sergeants and captains over officers who have been around for much longer, simply to fulfill some quota?

Yes, it's a shame that it will take minorities and women many years to establish themselves in the upper ranks of the police department. But turning new recruits into lieutenants is definitely not the answer.

If anything, that will hinder the cause by pushing officers without adequate experience into positions they're not ready for.

Experience is a requirement of the job -- because it has to be.

Greg Schwartz

Ellicott City

Questioning pedestrians is part of an officer's job

As I read Gregory Kane's column "Walking while black now reason for suspicion" (May 21), I remembered my childhood, when I was 15 years old.

I remembered that I, too, was walking home on Park Heights Avenue at approximately 11 p.m. and was stopped by a Baltimore police officer.

The officer asked me where I had come from, where I was going, why was I on the street at 11 p.m. (I was walking home from my girlfriend's house.)

Looking back at the incident, all I can think of is that the officer on the beat was trying to protect the citizens on his beat. Nothing more, nothing less.

I am Caucasian and Jewish -- and it didn't smack of Nazism to me.

Larry Woolfson

Owings Mills

Some of Schlenger's work wasn't so public-spirited

"Say nothing but good about the dead" must have been The Sun's intent in writing a detailed laudatory obituary about Jacques Schlenger without including his most notable accomplishment: His major contribution to the 1985 Maryland savings and loan collapse ("Jacques T. Schlenger, 72, dies; helped save Peabody," May 19).

Mr. Schlenger's penchant for conflict of interest in representing both fox and chickens at the same time says much more about his character and career than his indulgence in Savile Row tailoring, rare first editions, fine wines and "carefully stirred Bombay martinis."

Jean Gordon

Owings Mills

Homemakers contribute in many ways

I am appalled by the attitude of the recent letter regarding Al Gore's proposed Social Security increase for non-working mothers ("Don't award workers' funds to stay-at-home mothers," May 18).

As a stay-at-home parent, I work harder than I do when I am working for pay (which I do part time) -- and the work is certainly more rewarding.

My husband and I decided before we had children that when we had a family, I would raise my own children and not let total strangers do the job. I feel that we contribute to society by nurturing and molding our leaders of tomorrow.

Sacrifices are made when a parent stays home.

We don't drive new cars and we are not in our dream home, but children are home for such a short time that it makes it worth it to put those luxuries off until the kids are in school full time.

Beverly Simon Baltimore

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