Church too slow to help improve Washington Hill Thank...


April 29, 2002

Church too slow to help improve Washington Hill

Thank you for The Sun's accurate and fair reporting on the ongoing attempts to have Bishop Franklin Showell and the First Apostolic Institutional Faith Church honor their many promises to rehabilitate a two-block area of blighted church-owned property in Washington Hill ("Church targeted in anti-blight effort," April 17).

Bishop Showell has indicated that his church is being unfairly singled out. But while other areas of Washington Hill have been and continue to be successfully redeveloped, the church has a 20-year history of empty promises, unmet deadlines and unanswered correspondence.

Bishop Showell and his congregation must be willing to meet with the community and outline a plan that would eliminate these blighted properties through rehabilitation or sale.

We would suggest that Apostolic Church form a committee of parishioners to handle these properties and establish a fund to rehabilitate the empty houses and vacant lots.

Obviously, we could get much more done by working together than as adversaries.

Maureen Sweeney Smith


The writer is executive director of Citizens for Washington Hill.

Restore the splendor Broadway boasted

Kudos to Michael Olesker for his column "Broadway corridor crucial in rebirth of city's east side" (April 23).

I must add, however, that Broadway goes all the way to North Avenue. And some of us, including me, have lived near or on Broadway most of our lives. It was once a majestic, beautiful boulevard.

I hope that with the addition of the proposed "biotech park" project, Broadway and the community "in the shadow of Johns Hopkins Hospital" will be restored to prominence.

Grace Y. Jones


Virtual porn ruling protects free speech

As a lawyer who has studied the Supreme Court decision striking down the law banning child pornography produced without children, I think Steve Chapman got it exactly right ("It's not child pornography without a child," Opinion Commentary, April 23).

Back in 1919, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that the government may not ban speech unless it presents a "clear and present danger."

If the Supreme Court had allowed "virtual" child pornography to be banned merely because pedophiles might view it and be encouraged to molest children, the government could have banned any speech that could cause harm, whether or not it presents a clear and present danger.

Racist speech could be banned for promoting racism; violent television programming banned for promoting violence; adult pornography banned for degrading women -- the list could extend indefinitely, until little was left of the First Amendment.

Henry Cohen


Repeat offender belonged in jail

It's becoming more difficult to read The Sun every day. After reading the appalling account of what happened to that poor 8-year-old child, I'm so outraged I don't know if I ever want to see another paper ("Man held in rape of girl," April 24).

Tamar McCullough, who is charged in the girl's rape, has been in and out of jail, for how long we don't know. We do know that he has served time for drug possession and distribution, auto theft, larceny, malicious destruction, possession of burglary tools and second-degree assault. All within three years.

But for some reason the powers that be just kept letting him out.

I'm repulsed at the heinousness of this crime, and at the fact that this multiple offender could have been on the street to commit it.

Barbara Casparriello


Pot prohibition wastes money

It is so refreshing to finally see open discussion about marijuana prohibition ("The real reefer madness," Opinion Commentary, April 22).

Marijuana prohibition wastes money and jails innocent Americans. It is time our politicians realize that every marijuana user arrested is one less violent criminal or terrorist arrested.

Jeremy Keil


American credibility lost many years ago

Franz Schneiderman's column "Undermining democracy in Venezuela" (Opinion Commentary, April 18) states that the "United States will now have little credibility as an advocate for democracy in the Americas."

It is more accurate to say that the United States has no credibility -- and hasn't had any for many decades.

Does anyone think that the people of the Americas have forgotten U.S. support for death squads in El Salvador and contra terror in Nicaragua, or the many tinhorn dictators we have propped up?

Gerald Schultz

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Despite unfair barbs, Norris does a fine job

Baltimore Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris has done an excellent job.

Not only does he take on crime and drugs, but he has had to battle reverse racism from a mostly African-American City Council that seems more concerned with filling positions with minorities than with the best candidates possible ("City Council questions Norris about crime, minority hires," April 23).

It's time for all types of racism to stop -- and that includes hiring to fill quotas.

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