Criminalizing the homeless is no solution Kudos to The...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 07, 2002

Criminalizing the homeless is no solution

Kudos to The Sun for recognizing the innovative federal Shelter Plus Care program, which has ended the homelessness of 500 vulnerable Baltimoreans with disabilities ("Give them the money," editorial, July 25).

However, city business leaders have much to learn from the Shelter Plus Care program in the innovation department. Their reactive initiative to further criminalize people forced to live out their private lives in public spaces is mean-spirited, short-sighted and unlikely to produce the results they desire ("Crackdown pledged on nuisance crimes," July 24).

Want to reduce public urination on the west side? Let's start with public restrooms before saddling the poor with arrest records.

Want to reduce the number of disheveled citizens staking camp beside the dumpsters of downtown businesses? Let's begin by guaranteeing access to emergency shelter and by increasing spaces available through the Shelter Plus Care program.

We expect forward-thinking solutions from our city's business leaders - not the same tired attempts to arrest our way out of the problems of poverty and homelessness.

Kevin Lindamood

Baltimore

The writer is chief external affairs officer for Health Care for the Homeless, Inc.

The Democrats do little for city

As if scripted, many of the city's black leaders have called upon their voters to look at the GOP's record and to support the leading Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend ("Townsend reaches out to black officials," July 30).

But given Baltimore's terrifying crime rate and ruined schools with lagging test scores, some questions must be asked: What, exactly, is the Democratic Party's record in the city over the past two decades? What exactly has it done for the black community?

And what could Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. do as governor that could possibly be any less effective?

Tim Marshallsay

Baltimore

Ehrlich campaigns instead of serving

Mike Lane's July 26 editorial cartoon with the heading "The Debates: An empty suit vs. an empty chair?" was a perfect depiction of Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s service as a congressman.

I'm sure Mr. Ehrlich is lurking somewhere inside that empty suit, with his cell phone, calling every radio talk show, as usual.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has been doing her job as lieutenant governor while Mr. Ehrlich has been running for governor courtesy of free radio time for years - when he should have been concentrating on his duties as a Maryland congressman.

Sheila G. Haynie

Mariottsville

Teachers are worth as much as athletes

As a longtime educator in both public and independent schools, I found the column, "Teachers, follow A-Rod's example in contract talks" by Thomas Cottle (July 23) very refreshing. While Mr. Cottle offered a tongue-in-cheek argument, he spoke eloquently about an issue on which most educators agree.

Perhaps if more Americans were to change their belief that only athletes and movie stars are worthy of huge salaries, and realize that teachers do much more in the daily lives of young people, teachers might be considered worthy of at least one-eighth of what Alex Rodriguez got in his latest contract.

But with many Americans holding the values of "A-Rod," it's no wonder there is and will continue to be a severe teacher shortage in the United States.

Ronald Jones

Berlin

The writer teaches at the Salisbury School.

Apology only makes Israel even stronger

It was uplifting to finally see something in The Sun in support of Israel. And Mona Charen is right to note that no one ever uses the words "war crime" or "atrocity" when discussing Arab homicide bombers ("Israel will be sorry that it apologized," Opinion * Commentary, July 29).

Israel is defending herself. Who else will defend the Jews?

But I must disagree with Ms. Charen when she suggests that Israel has "lost a piece of the psychic armor she so desperately needs to win" by apologizing for its recent attack.

Even in the face of overwhelming condemnation in the world and horrendous loss of civilian life, Israel remains - and always will remain - the region's loudest voice against unnecessary deaths of innocent people. The apology only makes it stronger.

Joan Solomon

Baltimore

WTC site needs an arbor of green

A pox on further high-rises. Doesn't New York City have enough of them ("New York listened," editorial, July 26)? The designs for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site were deemed sterile and unimaginative - and with good reason.

In my opinion, the site needs a thicket of trees in its midst where people can seek solace and peace of mind beneath an arbor of green.

There also must be some kind of sculpture that acknowledges the many foreign nationals who worked in the buildings and lost their lives and dreams in the disaster.

Office space is important, but we must not sacrifice the humanity of what happened on those 17 acres to commercial greed.

Janet Heller

Baltimore

Bush keeps sneering at the bureaucrats

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