Thriving restaurants, museums enhance city's cultural...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 14, 2001

Thriving restaurants, museums enhance city's cultural life

Was Dan Fesperman's article "Our Charm City is experiencing a dumbing-down" (March 31) an April Fool's joke?

Let's see, according to the article, opera subscriptions are up. The Baltimore Museum of Art is reopening its world-renowned Cone Collection. The Walters Art Gallery is upgrading its facility while hosting a Manet collection which has only appeared in one other city, Paris.

The American Visionary Art Museum continues to push the edge in the national arts arena, not to mention Maryland Art Place's expansion in the Brokerage and the Maryland Institute of Art's acclaimed new building plans.

New upscale steakhouses are thriving, as well as unusual, distinctive restaurants such as Bicycle, Ethel & Ramone's and Petit Louis, just to name a few.

Even greater cause for alarm: Citizens are demonstrably excited about the Ravens, the Terps, the city's new leadership and city life in general.

Woe is me.

Carolyn O'Keefe, Baltimore

The writer was a co-creator of the "I Love City Life" campaign.

It's the governor who put us on road to fiscal disaster ...

Gov. Parris N. Glendening blaming President Bush for Maryland's pending budget gloom is like the proverbial child who killed his parents and then begged for mercy because he was an orphan ("Budget anxiety on the eve of vote," April 1).

The fact is that the governor proposed -- and the legislature's fiscal leaders eagerly approved -- a budget that spends every penny of the state's $400 million surplus.

But even that wasn't enough. They then dipped into the state's "rainy day" fund for another $600 million.

All this at a time when the economy shows signs of slowing. Where will we turn if and when the rainy day actually comes?

The governor should drop the cute, divisive sound bites about talking our way into a recession.

He has put Maryland on a course for a fiscal disaster of our own.

G. Stuart Lacher, Lutherville

... but the legislature also failed to exercise restraint

Have our legislators in Annapolis lost all good judgment?

After expressing early session disgust and confusion about the governor's explosive budget for the coming year, our legislators, like so many lap dogs, fell in line and approved a 9 percent increase in state spending.

I can recall the howling from Annapolis about the need to stay within the 6 percent affordability cap in this year's budget. What happened in the ensuing 90 days is embarrassing and irresponsible.

We have a bunch of folks in Annapolis who seem to measure their success by how much taxpayer money they can spend. Any pretense about representing the best interests of constituents is a sham.

Larry Koch, Reisterstown

Another Annapolis stint for William Donald Schaefer?

Regarding Michael Olesker's column "The `do it now' governor might want to do it again" (April 5), I second the nomination of William Donald Schaefer for governor in 2002.

All in favor say "aye."

William E. Weeks, Frostburg

Don't include drug dealers in city's murder tally

While I applaud The Sun's decision to tally the murders in Baltimore City on its Opinion

Commentary page, it could improve this feature by breaking down the number between those killed while involved in drugs or gangs and those murdered for other reasons.

When people decide to enter the drug culture, they know full well they are going to end up either dead or in jail. Therefore, a drug dealer getting shot should not be considered "murder," but rather an "occupational hazard."

Splitting the murder tally this way would show young people thinking of entering the drug world how fatal it is.

And it would reassure decent people that Baltimore is not so dangerous a place, if you keep your nose clean.

Paul Smith, Baltimore

Sacrifice gun ownership to protect other freedoms

Today our freedoms are threatened not by outside forces, but by forces within our society: the forces of selfishness and fear and an intense local arms race.

In the spirit of those who sacrificed their lives to obtain and preserve our freedoms, citizens committed to the freedoms on which our country was founded would sacrifice personal desire for gun ownership to the greater good of community safety and personal freedom for all citizens.

Children exercising their right to public education are not free if their schools and streets are not safe.

And none of our citizens are free to exercise their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as long as the ever-present danger of gun violence and the unauthorized use of armed force prevails.

Joan F. Robertson, Timonium

More ways to make sure that every vote counts

Two principles appear to be required to accomplish the goals of The Sun's editorial "Making the ballot box as savvy as the ATM" (March 22);

Undercounting -- Add to the list of candidates for each office the category "None" (or "Not Voting").

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