Issues of race lurk behind controversy over Fells Point...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 17, 2001

Issues of race lurk behind controversy over Fells Point club

The recent events surrounding Club 723 have left me completely disturbed. It seems that one bar out of many, all of which cater to a young crowd, has become a "menace to society" ("Club owner offers plan to redress rowdiness," Nov. 6).

I am extremely perplexed at how one bar can cause so much ruckus. However, when epithets such as "hoodlum" or "hip-hop crowd" are used to describe the situation, some light is shed. Could it be that the real issue behind the uproar is racial?

I think the answer is yes. As a patron of many bars in Fells Point for more than five years, I have watched the crowd evolve. It has changed from a virtually all-white crowd to a much more diverse one.

As diversity has increased in the area, so has the presence of police. I can't help believe the connection is more than pure coincidence. It seems that, as usual, an increase in minority presence is conducive to heightened scrutiny.

This double standard in our society must be stopped. The majority in this country has to learn to interact with persons of color. This interaction must be achieved without stifling the self-expression of any group.

Therefore, the mere thought of enforcing a dress code should enrage anyone who understands the First Amendment.

Wendi N. Redfern

Baltimore

Eliminating the MSPAP would make us all happier

MSPAP scores have been privately released to school superintendents, and many were baffled by the results ("Wide review of tests begins," Nov. 8).

This has sounded an alarm and caused an in-depth review of the scoring process. But do we really need to pay an out-of-state testing organization $40,000 to tell us if our scores are valid?

Let's take the $40,000 and purchase more textbooks and supplies to teach the basics. Eliminate MSPAP altogether and we will all be a lot happier.

Debby Ross

Timonium

Mastering Algebra I isn't too much to ask of kids

As a sixth-grader at Ridgely Middle School, the article "Value of class adds up" (Nov. 7) greatly distresses me. Since most students take Algebra I in seventh-grade, I see no reason why they should not be able to master it in six years.

I think calculus should be the graduation requirement, not Algebra I.

The article says that students are lacking basic skills on fractions, decimals and percents. That does not seem to be an unsolvable problem.

Parents, how about whipping out flash cards once or twice a day? How about turning off those TVs, ripping that Nintendo 64 out of the wall and handing those kids a math book?

Parents could go over kids' math with them and, if the kids don't understand, tell them to ask a teacher. And make sure their homework is done every night.

Bridget Carr

Timonium

National Guard at airports suggests need for federal role

I am confused by President Bush's policy concerning the use of National Guard troops to patrol airports for security.

On the one hand, I had not heard that the president had nationalized the National Guard. Thus, the president's use of the guard to patrol airports would seem to be a gross intrusion on states' rights.

On the other hand, if the president is somehow using federal powers to use the guard, is he not conceding that airport security requires federal employees, not merely federal supervision as he and the Republicans have argued in Congress?

Frederic M. Brandes

Timonium

Rehashing Florida dispute shows little common sense

I am tired of the rehashing of the Florida presidential vote count "controversy" ("Bush prevails in check of untallied Fla. votes," Nov. 12). Such a controversy today exists only in the minds of liberal newspaper editors and reporters. The Sun showed a remarkable lack of common sense and decency by giving a large, multi-page spread to a story that is long dead.

No responsible Democrat supports any further stirring of the Florida vote mess. So why doesn't The Sun just let it alone?

Robert N. Cadwalader

Linthicum

Study of aging promises to improve quality of life

My hat is off to The Sun for capturing the essence of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging in "Study grows old gracefully" (Nov. 4). Unique contributions by the research participants and their extraordinary dedication to this study over the 43 years of the study has made this "world-famous project" the outstanding study that it is.

It is wonderful to see the National Institute on Aging and National Institutes for Health using our taxpayer dollars for research that provides us with information to improve the quality of our lives.

Pat Duffey

Catonsville

Rangers fulfilled creed in mission to Somalia

I thank The Sun for recognizing the dedication of our soldiers who volunteer for the grueling and hazardous training and life of a U.S. Army Ranger ("Rough road to Ranger," Nov. 4).

But I'd like to rebut the author's suggestion that the Oct. 3, 1993 Ranger raid in Mogadishu, Somalia was disastrous.

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