Better public transit would help the arts thrive in...


November 26, 2001

Better public transit would help the arts thrive in Baltimore

I'm delighted with The Sun's interest in promoting the arts and artists living in Baltimore ("Baltimore & the Arts," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 13). However, I wish your enthusiasts for the arts would traffic in some common sense.

Aspiring young artists generally are not wealthy and don't realize significant remuneration for their craft for years, if ever. To refine one's art generally requires a huge investment of time, which is incompatible with a full-time, low-paying job.

Therefore, a municipality can do an aspiring artist a favor by building a transit system that allows mobility without having a car (which costs roughly $6,000 a year, not counting parking).

It is no surprise that New York and Philadelphia (with superb transit systems compared to ours) and Providence (which has aggressively pursued a New Urbanist agenda) are places young artists thrive.

In contrast, Baltimore under Mayor Martin O'Malley's regime has subsidized the building of downtown parking garages as a cure-all for every urban ill.

Artists do not thrive economically, intuitively or intellectually in a landscape littered with single-use buildings dedicated only to commuter parking.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr.


If you dislike `Boondocks,' just don't read the cartoon

If someone is offended by the comic strip "The Boondocks" ("Boondocks has no place in a reputable publication," letters, Nov. 17), I encourage that person to press charges against the person holding the gun to his or her head and forcing him or her to read it.

Curtis Adams


Bounty on Osama bin Laden isn't best use of our resources

The Pentagon recently stated that, with any luck, Afghans motivated by a $25-million bounty will successfully locate and destroy Osama bin Laden.

No person's life is worth $25 million. Sure, bin Laden is a terrible man who deserves to die, but the United States military should not rely on an ordinary Afghan man to do its job. The multimillion-dollar incentive may inspire starving Afghans to attempt the next-to-impossible, but all will probably die trying.

And what kind of message is the United States sending? Millions may starve to death in Afghanistan, but we're not using that $25 million for extra food and blankets for the coming winter.

Of course, it is important to minimize American bloodshed, but to sit idly by while millions of innocent people starve seems strangely un-American.

Jared Spier

Owings Mills

Nobody in Saudi Arabia possesses political rights

Susan Baer's statement that in Saudi Arabia "women are not allowed to . . . vote" is, of course, true ("White House pushes for Afghan women's rights," Nov. 16). But that fact is not evidence of gender discrimination. In Saudi Arabia, no one, male or female, enjoys any political rights, including the right to vote.

And while we are all rejoicing over the liberation of the Christian aid workers in Afghanistan, it is worth noting that they would have been in equally deep trouble for preaching Christianity in Saudi Arabia.

In fact, as members of a church-related charitable organization, they would not have been allowed into Saudi Arabia.

Vincent Daly


Don't forget Asian victims of chemical, biological war

Michael Stroh's article "Bioterrorism hardly a new idea" (Nov. 12) is incomplete. He mentions Hitler's Germany but fails to mention Imperial Japan's far more extensive experimentation and, in fact, use of biological weapons against Chinese populations during World War II.

The Japanese army is reported to have used cholera, dysentery, typhoid, anthrax, paratyphoid and plague to strike Zhejiang, Chekiang and Kiangsi provinces. Some 50,000 or more Chinese civilians are estimated to have been painfully killed by these agents.

In citing World War II horrors, The Sun has a responsibility to remember Asian victims just as it does European ones.

Werner Gruhl


Perseverance pays off for a Catonsville school

Isn't it marvelous that the children of Baltimore have a real-life illustration of the old adage, "When at first you don't succeed, try, try again"?

Three years ago, Catonsville Middle School (CMS) submitted a Blue Ribbon application. Staff, students, parents and community members worked very hard, only to lose the award. However, the CMS community rallied and turned around the areas of concern listed by the state.

CMS reapplied after three years and won the Maryland Blue Ribbon Award this year. Way to go, and good luck at the national level.

Sarahjeanne Sayles


Charges against ex-deputy are unfounded

Once again, Michael Olesker misses the point and provides misleading information in his column that refers to my abrupt departure from the Baltimore Police Department on May 11 ("Once again, McFadden misses the point," Nov. 8).

Mr. Olesker writes that "[Officer Barry Powell] got himself dismissed last spring for lots of reasons." But he fails to explain the facts, rendering that statement unsubstantiated and biased.

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