The fight against hunger still needs public...


October 28, 2001

The fight against hunger still needs public contributions

Rob Kasper absolutely nailed the story of our Second Helping program ("Food shuffle: how to fill the plates of the needy," Oct. 17). He structured clearly what we see every day -- the odd combination of joy and pathos, celebration and deprivation, and of enthusiastic volunteers dealing with the consequence of a frayed safety net.

For years we've picked up food from the food service industry and delivered it to shelters and soup kitchens, hoping that maybe, around the next legislative session, the key to ending hunger will emerge.

Mr. Kasper's article was even more enlightening considering the recent radio ads from Larry Walton, president of the United Way of Central Maryland.

Mr. Walton very eloquently thanks Marylanders for their generosity in supporting organizations dealing with the consequences of horrific acts in New York and Washington but tries to remind people that every day, volunteers are out there picking up donated food and delivering it to volunteers who brighten the day for "down on their luck" individuals.

Indeed, despite the generosity of the food industry and the good work of the volunteers, programs such as Second Helping do require financial support, 365 days a year. And there are hundreds of nonprofits in our state helping thousands of people deal with a crisis, an emergency, or overwhelming situations.

I hope Mr. Walton's point makes it to as many people as possible.

William G. Ewing


The writer is executive director of the Maryland Food Bank.

Thanks for demonstrating downside of deregulation

Once again, the Baltimore area owes a debt to The Sun and Jay Hancock for clarifying the rapacious conduct of Constellation Energy and its BGE affiliate (or is it the other way around?) in agreeing with an ineffective Public Service Commission to a deregulation settlement that will end up costing ratepayers -- that's us -- an arm and a leg ("Electricity numbers still don't add up to good deal," Oct. 21).

Let's at least hope for the success of the Mid-Atlantic Power Supply Association's efforts to overturn this outrageous grab.

Jack Bond


Public deserves a chance to vote on gay rights law

A lawyer for gay rights advocates was strictly out of line when he made a statement such as, "It shouldn't be easy for a minority to `controvert the will' of a popularly elected legislature" ("Gay rights law petition fight looms," Oct. 11).

He was referring to the petitions to bring the gay rights law to referendum next year. But maybe he needs a math lesson. The voting population of Maryland is not a minority. Why can't we have a say in "controverting the will" of the legislature?

The sad part of the episode is that the legislature should not be passing bills that have to do with lifestyle to begin with.

Lifestyles are what we choose or have forced upon us by our environment, heredity or standard of living, and should not be protected by the law.

David Michael O'Beirne


City will profit handsomely from new parking garage

Regarding the economic "math" of the East Lombard Street garage, the view of the writer of the recent letter "Baltimore loses big on parking garage site" (Oct. 14) is so incomplete as to be misleading.

In addition to the payment for the site ($2,748,000), the city will benefit from:

A 650-space, $13.5 million privately financed parking garage in a key area of downtown.

An estimated $394,000 in real property and parking taxes in the first year of operation above the amount previously collected from this site.

That's good economic development.

M. J. Brodie


The writer is president of the Baltimore Development Corp.

Renovations must preserve the beauty of the Basilica

As a parishioner and donor to the Basilica of the Assumption's restoration, I hope and pray that in the process the church does not lose its present sense of character, beauty and reverence ("A papal blessing for Basilica work," Oct. 15).

Rumors abound that the beautiful stained glass and murals on the walls and ceilings will largely disappear. But making the Basilica appear as it did in Benjamin Latrobe's time would not necessarily make it better. The religious embellishments to the Basilica over the years have given it a sense of grace and veneration.

One only needs to trek to suburbia to encounter Catholic churches uninspired, devoid of art; they are often nothing more than large meeting halls in the round.

The Basilica is special. It hearkens to a time when a church (as the house of God) lifted the soul and inspired a sense of the sacred. I hope we don't lose that quality.

Alexander Wolfe


Fixing church, closing school shows misplaced priorities

How ironic that, on the same day the pope gave his blessing to a "multi-million-dollar" project to modernize the Basilica ("Pope endorses preservation plan for Basilica," Oct. 18), the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced plans to close a school a few blocks away ("Catholic school in city to close," Oct. 18).

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