Neighbors' rage torpedoes effort to nurture kids Mount...


August 16, 2002

Neighbors' rage torpedoes effort to nurture kids

Mount Vernon residents have every right to be distressed over crime in their neighborhood, and I agree they should have had more notice about the planned Tamar's Children program ("A lesson learned the hard way," editorial, Aug. 8). However, I am also painfully aware that the only reason they wanted more notice was to do precisely what they did -- prevent the program from proceeding on Cathedral Street.

Mount Vernon residents were only interested in one message at the Aug. 6 meeting: Not in my back yard.

This is a shame for the women who could have been served, the professionals ready to serve them and the children we hope to help grow up in a healthy environment, without losing those precious first months with their mothers.

While I respect the right to express anger, the shouting, attacks and elitism at the meeting were over the top.

I have never felt frightened walking into the maternity ward at the Baltimore City Detention Center. I did feel frightened by the vitriol in the meeting and saddened by a keen awareness of the level of hatred in this world.

A program such as Tamar's Children would not prevent me from moving to Mount Vernon. The prospect of having neighbors like the people I witnessed on Aug. 6 would.

Chris Walters

Bel Air

The writer is a therapist for Tamar's Children.

Residents were right to protect the area

I was quite dismayed by The Sun's characterization of the concerned citizens of Mount Vernon-Belvedere as disdainful and contemptuous of the Tamar's Children program ("A lesson learned the hard way," editorial, Aug. 8).

As a resident of Mount Vernon who attended the meeting the editorial described, I know no one commented on the need for or value of this proposed program. The issue was its placement in an area that, as The Sun noted, already has more than its share of social service programs and faces an ongoing struggle to maintain its stability.

Passionate and concerned residents should not be characterized as "hostile" and "rude" NIMBYs when they are trying to protect a historical and cultural center.

Julia Moed


A better way to help struggling schools

The Sun's article "Parents skip on school choice" (Aug. 5) suggests we shouldn't worry that it costs $2.4 million to transport fewer than 100 students outside of their failing neighborhood schools because, after all, the program is funded with federal money.

Well, the last time I checked, I pay not only local but also federal taxes. The fact that this money is raised at a national level cannot justify spending $120 per day per student for transportation to and from school.

The program will spend more than $24,000 for each student. Couldn't the schools' poor performance be better remedied by spending this money on qualified tutors?

The embarrassingly small percentage of eligible students taking advantage of the relocation program attests to its impracticality. Wouldn't all eligible students better benefit from, for example, tutoring at their neighborhood school?

Curtis C. Coon


University pushes Islamic propaganda

Islam is not something that one can take selected "appealing" small bites from. My guess is that such a limited approach -- one that purports to show "what is appealing" about Islam -- will amount to nothing more than a piece of propaganda ("Saying `no' to knowledge," editorial, Aug. 9).

Unless all sides of Islam are dealt with, including many of its dark and intolerant tenets, the University of North Carolina should be admonished not for pushing a religion, but for making slanted propaganda required reading.

Peter Stewart


Electioneering in place of news

When I open my paper, I expect to find the day's most important news on the front page. But on Aug. 11, I read, "Trusted ally drums up support for Townsend," which outlines how a Democratic congressman is supporting the candidacy of a Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

This isn't news. And it's not journalism. It's electioneering.

Shame on The Sun.

Peggy West


Focus on Dr. Carson, not Mitchell's failings

I find it highly distressing that The Sun finds it important to waste front-page space on the alleged misdoings of one Michael B. Mitchell ("Eviction, auction at bar linked to Mitchell," Aug. 8) while relegating the illness of Dr. Ben Carson to a small blurb on Page 16B ("Neurosurgeon Ben Carson undergoes cancer surgery," Aug. 8).

As usual, The Sun would rather expend its time and resources on someone in the black community who has done little or nothing positive rather than on a gifted individual who has saved or enriched countless lives, black and white, through his surgical practice, scholarship programs and other endeavors.

The Washington Post saw fit to print an extensive and highly inspiring article about how Dr. Carson is coping with his illness through his faith and support from his family and colleagues.

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