City must compensate businesses harmed by renovation...


April 10, 2001

City must compensate businesses harmed by renovation projects

As a deli owner in the Hopkins Plaza food court, I was particularly galled by The Sun's article "Baltimore doesn't dicker in paying stores to move" (March 27).

Renovations in Hopkins Plaza began a year ago and were to be completed last summer. While the revised completion date has been moved back at least one year, the plaza looks more like Kosovo than downtown Baltimore.

Access to the plaza has been cut off in varying degrees, forcing customers who want a quick meal to find alternatives. Our sales have been cut in half and the city has scoffed at the idea of compensating the businesses in the food court even a dime.

A shoe store owner, however, gets $165,744 for the "inconvenience" of moving 100 feet.

We're in favor of progress and renovation, but the city must consider affected businesses when it budgets projects.

As one city official asked incredulously "Do you know what would happen if we started compensating every business that was hurt by these projects?" Yes, it would be doing the right thing.

Jeb Brownstein


The writer is the owner of the Hopkins Plaza Deli.

City's budget cuts will drive more people to the suburbs

To solve the city's budget woes, Mayor Martin O'Malley is proposing an income tax increase, an energy surcharge, layoffs and cuts in services and facilities.

If these are passed by the City Council, I hear the rumble of 2,000 more former Baltimoreans leaving for more fiscally sound climes in adjacent counties.

Donald Holland


Governor can't blame Bush for budget that doesn't add up

I read Howard Libit's article about the softening of the economy and Gov. Parris N. Glendening's feeble attempt to blame President Bush ("Budget anxiety on eve of vote," April 1). Was I out of the country when the president came to Maryland to stump for the governor's budget plan?

It is ludicrous, of course, for the governor to blame the president for the fiscal disaster facing Maryland, yet that appears to be precisely what he intends to do.

But Mr. Glendening proposed spending every cent of the state's $400 million budget surplus. Mr. Glendening proposed dipping into the state's "rainy day" fund to balance a budget that started out $600 million in the hole. Mr. Glendening twisted the arms to get the budget passed.

And most important to him, he'll be out of office when the budget tanks.

What happened to the fiscal discipline that once ruled Annapolis? The legislature used to abide by rational spending affordability and strict borrowing standards.

I don't even hear meaningful legislative debate anymore. Instead, it's spend now, worry later.

It's obvious this governor knows his budget is doomed to fail. But sniping at Mr. Bush is a naive and divisive move.

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.


The writer represents the 2nd District in the House of Representatives.

Sun's attacks on Ron Smith only sway anti-gun partisans

What did Ron Smith do to the editors of The Sun? First, Michael Olesker gives him a thorough lashing for being pro-gun ("Proponents of guns have misguided opinions," March 29). Then Mike Lane's April 2 editorial cartoon lambasted Mr. Smith as a mouthpiece of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

I find it fascinating that the anti-gun crowd cannot accept that some people still believe in the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, and automatically connect those who think that way with the NRA -- as if that were a scarlet letter.

Mr. Olesker and Mr. Lane should understand that the people who agree with them on the gun issue are the only ones who view the NRA as evil.

Guns don't kill people. Criminals kill people.

Sonny Church


Lane's lampoon of Smith epitomized cartoonist's art

Mike Lane's April 2 editorial cartoon depicting local talk radio host Ron Smith as a mouthpiece for the National Rifle Association's "blame everything but the guns" agenda was right on target.

It was a great example of the effectiveness of Mr. Lane's profession.

Fred Davis


Burning America's flag is an act of symbolic speech

What the writer of the letter "Flag-burning amendment doesn't threaten free speech" (March 27) does not understand is that the flag is not a monument like the White House or the Lincoln Memorial that must be safeguarded. It is a symbol.

A government that tells me I cannot destroy the symbol that best represents it is not a government that embraces the lofty ideals of free speech and democracy.

If the flag-burning amendment does not threaten free speech, what does it do? Does it protect us in some other way?

And, if flag burning is not speech or even expressive conduct, then what is it about flag burning that offends?

T.J. Madison


Burying the news that Bush really did carry Florida

For weeks, The Sun gave front-page coverage to reports, articles and allegations to the effect that President Bush would not have carried Florida if the manual recount had been allowed to proceed.

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