Fining parents isn't the way to confront lead poisoning...


May 31, 2000

Fining parents isn't the way to confront lead poisoning

Congratulations to City Council President Sheila Dixon and the Baltimore City Council for finding the solution to lead poisoning in Baltimore City ("City Council measure would require lead poisoning tests for children," May 23).

The proof is Council Bill 44. It offers an ingenious solution that's escaped others who have worked long and hard on this problem: Fine parents $100 if their child does not get tested for lead poisoning.

As everyone knows, having parents pay fines removes lead from both the children and the environment.

Only one thing could have made this bill more deserving of scorn. That would have been the City Council designating the funds the fine raises to pay their way to next year's Preakness celebration.

The lead poisoning of children in Baltimore and Maryland requires thoughtful measures and focused action.

But this bill from the City Council adds nothing to recently passed state legislation. It adds nothing to city and state efforts to solve this ongoing scourge.

The bill is punitive and flawed and should not pass out of the City Council.

Richard L. Gorman


As city loses population, it must lose representatives

Sen. George Della may be right that city-county legislative districts will preserve city representation in Annapolis, but those districts are probably also unconstitutional ("City-county districts preserve city's influence," letters, May 12).

Maryland's Constitution requires that in drawing districts "due regard shall be given to natural boundaries and the boundaries of political subdivisions."

Courts have held that this means the places voters typically use to identify where they live -- municipalities, counties and Baltimore City.

After the 1990 redistricting, Baltimore went from zero to five legislative districts crossing city lines. Only one of those is subdivided in the State House. The rest are dominated by city lawmakers, leaving county residents poorly represented.

Drawing districts is a zero-sum game; the city's gain is the county's loss.

If the city's population has declined, then unfortunately, it must lose some representation -- anything else would be unconstitutional gerrymandering.

Douglas E. McNeil


Interest-rate increases may doom our boom

If chairman of the Federal Reserve bank, Alan Greenspan, persists in his arbitrary interest-rate hikes, he will transform our longest economic boom into bust.

He will then earn the condemnation of tens of millions of citizens whose glorious dreams are converted into horrendous nightmares.

Leon Peace Ried


Gay marriages violate God's design for reproduction

In response to the letter "Same-sex couples have right to legal recognition" (May 22), I note it's not unconstitutional to prohibit gay marriages and civil unions.

Although this country is not ruled by a church or a "church state," the reality is that many laws are based on God's law, the Bible and other biblical principles.

In God's infinite wisdom, he designed living organisms with the natural ability to reproduce. Apart from hermaphrodites, all animals, particularly mammals, reproduce on the basis of sexual differentiation. Humans are no different.

The writer suggests that gay unions should be allowed so gays can raise children with the same status of kids from male-female marriages.

But unless a gay couple has kids from a previous heterosexual marriage or has committed adultery to have a child out of wedlock, how can two people of the same sex naturally have children?

D. Adams


A story of faith that uplifted readers

The Sun's article on the Class of 2000 was excellent ("Why? `Because God told me to'," May 22). Lisa Pollak is such a superb story-teller and polished writer that I could not stop reading until I was forced to get a Kleenex when my sobs and tears made it impossible to read.

Christine Lincoln's story of faith is so powerful, moving and inspiring that it should be required reading for everyone.

I congratulate Ms. Lincoln on her life of faith and on her Sophie Kerr Prize and Ms. Pollak for a memorable article.

Alice Shelton


What an encouraging, inspiring and worthwhile article right on the front page ("Why? `Because God told me to'").

Yes, there is good going on, and what a positive impact it makes on the reader. Earleen F. Henderson Baltimore

Owings House replica won't be the same

It is not likely that even the most amateur historian will be misled by the attempts to rebuild the Samuel Owings House ("Plans filed to rebuild Owings House," May 21).

The project's architect, Lawrence J. Link Jr., is correct when he bristles at the word "replica." A replica is a reproduction that is faithful to the original.

What Mr. Link and developer Howard Brown are building is a large house that has a facade similar to the Owings House's. This is hardly a newsworthy event and certainly can never make up for the loss of the original building.

Mr. Link might well bone up on his history of the Owings House.

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