Shrinking population doesn't rule out a new Baltimore...


March 26, 2001

Shrinking population doesn't rule out a new Baltimore renaissance

While many rightly express concern about the potential loss of political power Baltimore will experience as a result of its smaller population ("A shrinking Baltimore is losing its political grip," March 20), several important points are overlooked.

Canton has been (rightly) heralded as a neighborhood well into its revival, yet census figures show its population has declined since 1990. The lesson is that smaller is not necessarily worse.

Second, national trends (which always seem to arrive late to Baltimore) have demonstrated a remarkable reversal of urban flight from major cities such as Chicago and New York. Baltimore can rightly expect the same.

Baltimore maintains distinct advantages in amenities, cost of living, location and funkiness that are increasingly recognized as desirable.

If the mayor can reduce crime and keep us solvent, new residents will join those of us who have already figured out that the city is the place to be.

Stephen D. Sisson


Confronting genocidal past would help Turkey progress

The argument that business in Maryland would suffer as a result of Maryland passing the long-overdue Armenian genocide resolution is peculiar ("Old dispute still burns," March 8). It suggests that, although historical truth is undeniable, blackmail should prevail over principle.

We in the United States have learned the liberating value of confronting our own past, including the shameful history of slavery, and we continue to seek freedom by combating prejudice and injustice.

If we care about Turkey, should we not help it confront its past and thus make strides toward true democracy?

Lucine Zadoian Kouchakdjian

Silver Spring

The national debt is our greatest challenge

The national debt is a menace to our credit. It is the greatest weakness in our line of national defense and the largest obstacle to our economic development.

It should be retired as fast as possible under a system of reasonable taxation.

This can be done only by continuing a policy of rigid government economy.

Joseph Lerner


Don't condone shooting an unarmed intruder

I work in Owings Mills and I'm shocked that the majority opinion I have heard in response to the shooting of several apparently unarmed suspects caught stealing at Back River Supply Inc. has been "they got what they deserved for stealing."

I'm shocked because there is little concern that lives have been violently taken in the protection of wealth. Although a gun was reported stolen, no evidence has been presented that the burglars were armed or dangerous -- only stupid and greedy.

We would not tolerate the shooting of unarmed suspects by our police. Why should we tolerate it from angry citizens? If it's all right to shoot someone burglarizing your business, is it all right to shoot someone for sleeping with your wife? Where do we draw the line?

There is no honor in killing anyone for any reason other than a direct threat to the personal safety of yourself or others.

Let's not defend the actions of the criminals, only their right to live. They should be punished, but not slain in the dead of night by vigilantes.

Randy Chase


President Bush takes us back to the future

History is moving backward. "Annie Get Your Gun," "The Music Man" and "Kiss Me Kate" are Broadway hits, the Beatles are big and we are fighting the Cold War again.

Our childish response to recent Russian espionage -- banishing as many as 50 Russian diplomats -- has to be the work of the white-haired retreads dominating the White House.

Hula hoops and bomb shelters are just around the corner.

Michael Kernan


Curbside recycling helps city, environment

Baltimore's decision to eliminate collection of blue bags is a dreadful mistake ("City dumps blue bags," March 20).

Removing plastic, glass, aluminum and steel containers from the waste stream makes sense for several reasons.

It reduces the amount of trash incinerated, resulting in less air pollution as well as the amount of ash requiring disposal.

It extends the life of landfills, which in a metropolitan area are increasingly difficult to develop when old ones fill up.

Recycling containers also reduces the amount of bauxite mined and energy required to produce aluminum and the silicon and energy required to produce glass.

Plastic containers are not reused as containers, but instead provide material for making other useful plastic items.

The fact that only 10 percent of Baltimore residents presently recycle containers could easily be remedied by making blue bag recycling mandatory (as other municipalities do) or enacting a mandatory bottle deposit system in Maryland.

For those of us who worked so hard to institute curbside recycling, it would be a terrible blow to have to again chase all over Baltimore to recycle our containers.

Ajax Eastman


Eliminating curbside recycling would be a huge mistake. The city is already under a mound of trash and this would only add to it.

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