Velleggia's restaurant doesn't discriminate against...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 27, 2001

Velleggia's restaurant doesn't discriminate against handicapped

Velleggia's is in Little Italy and Little Italy is in Baltimore. That area is a major tourist attraction for downtown. That means big dollars for the city and the neighborhood ("Restaurant, disability rights advocates at odds," April 16).

Just because it does not have a modern wheelchair entrance does not mean that the owners have not tried to accommodate disabled customers. They have.

The fact that satisfied disabled patrons have dined at Velleggia's for years clearly shows the problem is with the person who brought the complaint, not the restaurant.

I agree that modern buildings should be accessible for the disabled. However, in this case, the owners should be given some consideration. The building is 64 years old.

We've done a pretty good job driving thousands of good people out of Baltimore City. I hope we don't start doing the same with historic restaurants in Little Italy.

James Wright, Baldwin

The discrimination complaint against Velleggia's for inconvenient wheelchair access underscores the need to re-examine laws that give tyrannical power to the handicapped at the expense of business. Such laws have created a search-and-destroy mentality in an army of people waiting to pounce on the slightest infraction.

Staggering amounts have been paid across the state to replace curbs and restrooms and add ramps and other accessories, without regard to their utilization.

It is government's duty to protect the God-given rights we have by reason of our humanity, not to confer rights on special groups at the expense of someone else.

Consideration and accommodation to the needs of others are normal human traits, not to mention good business, and are not lacking at Velleggia's.

The restaurant caters to diners, as it was founded to do, not to activists empowered by inappropriate laws. Those not satisfied with their food or accommodations can eat elsewhere. Period.

Elizabeth Ward Nottrodt, Baltimore

Orthodox Church's Easter always falls after Passover

In both "Easter falls on same day for Christians" (April 11) and "Traditions herald coming of Easter" (April 14), The Sun stated that the difference in the calculation of the date for Easter between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches is that the Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar calculations whereas Western churches use the Gregorian calendar.

While the difference in the calendars is one of the factors in the complex formula, it is an oversimplification to attribute the difference to this factor alone.

If this were not so, the difference in the date for Easter would be 13 days each year. In fact, the date, as this year, is sometimes the same and in other years may vary from one week to four weeks different.

For Easter to be celebrated consistent with the biblical accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, it must occur after Passover. Accordingly, the formula used by the Orthodox Church is that Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, provided Jews have celebrated Passover.

If not, then it is the first Sunday following the next full moon.

Evan Alevizatos Chriss, Baltimore

Drug use offers no reason to commute death sentence

I was astounded by The Sun's article that told how Judge Catherine Blake overturned the death sentence of John Booth because the jury was not aware that Blake was high on heroin when he brutally murdered an elderly couple ("Death barred a 3rd time," April 21).

I understand Maryland considers being drunk or under the influence of drugs a mitigating circumstance. But if Blake was incapacitated by drugs, how could he tie these people up and calmly beat them to death? This does not appear to be the act of someone who was incapacitated.

I can understand trying to protect innocent people, but I believe criminals should not have easy outs.

Albert M. Harris, Baltimore

Gay rights act doesn't harm anyone's religious principles

Perhaps if Sen. Nancy Jacobs had read the Antidiscrimination Act of 2001 she would have avoided the embarrassment she should feel over her misrepresentation of it in her letter "Gay rights legislation offends the faith of many citizens" (April 17).

Nowhere in the legislation is there anything that should be construed as forcing people to abandon their religious principles. The legislation is strictly about behavior, specifically in the area of commerce. The law boils down to the following principle: All people must be treated equally, regardless of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

This does not prevent Ms. Jacobs, or anyone else, from being bigoted against gays, any more than other civil rights legislation prevents bigotry against women, blacks, Catholics, left-handed individuals and so on.

D. Rein, Columbia

It's wrong for city mayor to raise taxes, cut services

I don't think it is right that Mayor Martin O'Malley is planning to raise taxes, cut services and lay off city employees.

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