A city in decline isn't attractive to newcomers The...


July 01, 2002

A city in decline isn't attractive to newcomers

The column "Baltimore's salvation lies in immigration" (Opinion Commentary, June 19) doesn't begin to address the gut-wrenching challenges we face as Baltimoreans.

Drive around Baltimore -- off the familiar path. You don't have to go far to find blocks of boarded-up buildings, rats scurrying through trash piled high in alleys, sidewalks and gutters littered with chicken bones, liquor bottles and drug droppings. You'll see adults with empty eyes sitting on stoops or wandering around muttering to themselves.

As our population declines, this Baltimore grows. Many good people have tried to stop this trend before, and failed.

Immigrants and refugees look for the same things most Americans look for in a community -- safe and reliable public transportation, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, jobs or the opportunity to start a small business and drug-free public schools that provide a decent education.

Unfortunately, newcomers won't find these things in Baltimore. And, as one who has lived here for 21 years, I find it harder and harder to stay.

Susan Baukhages


City striving to meet immigrants' needs

As a former refugee from Cambodia and the director of Tressler Refugee and Immigration Services in Baltimore, I would like to share my ideas about how Baltimore can attract and keep immigrants and refugees ("Baltimore's salvation lies in immigration," Opinion Commentary, June 19).

When refugees and immigrants come to America, they look for five things -- safety, good schools, housing they can afford, health care and the jobs and job training to better themselves.

I applaud the mayor and his administration for taking an affirmative approach to Baltimore's population problem. Baltimore already has programs that attract and serve newcomers, and is on its way to putting the necessary supports in place to keep them.

Samedy Sok


Maintain the city we've always known

Bruce A. Morrison and Paul Donnelly assert that only foreign immigration can save our city from population decline ("Baltimore's salvation lies in immigration," Opinion Commentary, June 19).

May I point out another possible strategy: Baltimoreans could have more children of their own. We wouldn't need to attract anyone, and that way we would not have to learn several foreign languages.

What immigration advocates call "growth" would more appropriately be called "displacement" -- of our native population by immigrants.

Most Baltimoreans do not want to see this happen, but many are afraid to say so, for fear of being thought prejudiced. This is wrong. Other countries, after all, do not allow unlimited immigration from America. They would not want to be dispossessed by us; they want to pass on their cities to their own offspring.

This is natural and right, and does not involve any hatred of Americans.

In the same way, we should not feel apologetic about wanting to preserve the Baltimore we have always known: American and English-speaking.

Charles Martel


Two-ticket policy is discriminatory

I was in disbelief when I read "Southwest to use two-ticket rule for large passengers" (June 20). I feel this policy is embarrassing, humiliating and discriminatory.

Customer service agents will be put in the position of deciding whether a passenger is a "person of size." What gives them the right to decide who is obese?

Doesn't Southwest Airlines realize that there are lawsuits just waiting for them?

And how many other airlines are planning to use such a discriminatory policy?

Tanya Barton


Greedy airlines squeeze us all

While I usually find Kevin Cowherd a curmudgeon, I am in total agreement with his point about the size of airline seats ("Some groups find seat policy too confining," June 24). Exactly whom are they supposed to fit?

To get to Madison, Wis., a few years ago, I flew to Chicago and took a bus to Madison. Imagine my surprise when the bus proved much more luxurious and comfortable than the plane.

Were the airlines not so greedy, seats would be big enough to accommodate generously sized human beings.

Barbara M. Simon


Students' censorship stance deserves an A

I was completely disappointed to read The Sun's editorial regarding the recent student journalism controversy at Southern High School ("First Amendment 101," June 20).

The decision on the part of budding journalists to resist censorship in the most dramatic way possible -- to protest by not publishing at all -- was, in and of itself, a journalistic act that regained that very voice for them. They published by not publishing.

Furthermore the notion that the advisors and student reporters could find a "reasonable solution" with an administration that blatantly defies its own policy -- not to mention journalistic integrity -- is naive and ill-conceived.

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