Growing revenues, projects make future bright for...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 06, 2002

Growing revenues, projects make future bright for Exchange

The board of the Woman's Industrial Exchange thanks The Sun for its coverage of the assistance provided by John Hopkins University graduate students who studied our operations requirement and provided creative ideas for our board to consider ("For shop, an unlikely exchange," March 23). But we would like to correct the article's misleading implication that the exchange is in dire straits.

Like other downtown businesses, the exchange was negatively impacted by the decline of the Charles Street shopping corridor and the scarcity of parking and tourist-targeted attractions. But today, the exchange is stronger than ever and is an anchor of the Charles Street revitalization initiatives.

Revenues from both the restaurant and consignment shop are growing steadily. And a February ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the successful completion of a $1.6 million capital campaign.

In Phase I of the capital improvement project, seven market-rate apartments were renovated on the building's upper floors and are now for rent.

Phase II of the project, funded by a $400,000 federal grant obtained by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, will enable us to improve the efficiency of our kitchen and spruce up the retail and restaurant space.

What has made the directors' efforts so rewarding is the ongoing support from the exchange's many longtime customers and supporters. Their interest and generosity is what has made the Baltimore exchange so distinctive and so enduring.

Linda Goldberg

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Woman's Industrial Exchange.

Blame felons, not racism, for their loss of voting rights

When the Legislative Black Caucus expended passionate debate in defense of a bill to restore the voting rights of convicted felons, I knew they were running low on legislative purpose ("Votes for Md. felons called a race issue," March 29). But when they did so by invoking the ghosts of Jim Crow, poll taxes and literacy tests, I knew they had become morally bankrupt.

To equate the denial of a felon's voting rights, regardless of his or her race, to blatantly racist policies from the past, as Sen. Joan Carter Conway did, is incorrect, irresponsible and insulting. Convicted felons haven't lost their right to vote because of some conspiracy; they've lost that right because they chose to break the law.

And what Senator Conway and the Legislative Black Caucus obviously failed to realize was that this way of arguing their point suggests that to be a convicted felon is to be black. And if that is not racism, I don't know what is.

John Phelan

Baltimore

Voting is one of the rights criminals lose as repeat offenders. The fact that there are many African-Americans in jail, losing this right, doesn't mean that these people are being singled out. What it does mean is many people in our African-American communities are committing crimes against their neighbors.

To give voting rights back to repeat offenders, no matter what race they represent, would send the wrong message.

Punishments for breaking the law must have teeth to discipline those who refuse to behave in a civilized manner.

Lou Perry

Sykesville

Lottery revenues, not taxes, paid for downtown stadiums

In the Saturday mailbox letters on naming the football stadium (letters, March 30), 10 writers shared the persistent error of stating or implying that the stadiums were built with tax money.

I am tired of seeing this misconception in print, so let's make this clear: The stadiums were built with proceeds from the lottery. This fact can be confirmed by calling the Maryland Stadium Authority.

The sporting crowd (lottery players) supported the sporting crowd (Orioles and Ravens fans).

Harry E. Bennett Jr.

Baltimore

Executing Moussaoui would diminish us all

Thank you for The Sun's cogent and courageous editorial regarding the fate of "the 20th hijacker" ("No death for Moussaoui," March 21).

It is clear that the likelihood that this man, Zacarias Moussaoui, will get fair treatment in either the courts or the press is extremely low. And if he is executed for his perceived intentions, we as a society will indeed be greatly diminished.

It takes courage to rise above the appeal of the raw emotion that suggests Mr. Moussaoui should "get what is coming to him," and I, for one, applaud The Sun for that courage.

Mary K. Anderson

Bethesda

KAL's caricature of Sharon reflects terror Israel inflicts

I am astonished at the reaction of so many readers (letters, March 30) to the mild caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in KAL's March 28 editorial cartoon.

The terror that Israel has suffered has been only slightly less appalling than that which Mr. Sharon has inflicted on the Palestinians. It is terrible not to be able to go to a cafM-i or a pizza parlor without fear. It is worse to have your home bulldozed and to not be able to walk down the roads of your own land, even to a hospital, without harassing searches.

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