Believing in city leads only to regret I am outraged at...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 28, 2002

Believing in city leads only to regret

I am outraged at City Council President Sheila Dixon's comment, "I do not want to see Baltimore under siege by some petty drug dealers" ("Man, 21, charged in fatal city fire," Oct. 18).

What city does she live in? News flash: Baltimore is -- and has been for 25 years -- under siege by petty drug dealers. What is Ms. Dixon doing about it?

I live in Guilford, arguably the best neighborhood in Baltimore, and yet even I do not feel safe here. Like every good neighborhood in Baltimore, Guilford is surrounded by seedy, crime-ridden areas.

Yet politicians such as Ms. Dixon scratch their heads and make shockingly ignorant comments while more and more people flee this city.

Plastering the town with the laughable slogan "The Greatest City in America" isn't fooling those of us who live here. And an expensive advertising campaign -- BELIEVE in what? one wonders -- isn't progress.

Baltimore needs to take tough steps to curb its out-of-control crime -- by locking up criminals and throwing away the key. The suspect in this month's firebombing, for instance, has a police record.

This city is doomed without daring new leadership and brash measures at all levels of government.

I tried to believe. I stayed in this city, despite the warnings of family and friends about Baltimore'ss violent reputation.

I bought a home here. I even convinced several out-of-town friends to move here.

And now I regret it.

Kevin Naff

Baltimore

`Believe' campaign gets its first martyrs

The Dawson family dared to believe they could live ordinary lives in a city neighborhood ("Suspicious house fire kills 6," Oct. 17). Now the "Believe" campaign has its first martyrs, but will the sacrifice produce hope or despair?

Despair is the likely answer if the forces of good attack one another -- by blaming the mayor or the police rather than the criminals, for example. Or if we remain indifferent to the violence because such things happen to poor people in bad neighborhoods.

But hope can grow if there is dialogue between political leaders and affected neighborhoods, improved community policing and conviction of the guilty by prosecutors and jurors. And The Sun can play a role by pursuing the kind of analysis contained in its "Justice Undone" series.

In a city that makes much of war memorials, uniting to take back the streets would be a fitting tribute to the innocent victims of our war against violent criminals.

John G. Walsh

Catonsville

Police do consult with prosecutors

As a retired homicide detective, I would note that detectives do not charge accused murderers in a vacuum ("Baltimore police officers' power to file murder charges is rare," Oct. 22). During an investigation, the detective is in contact with a prosecuting attorney.

In fact, in the hundreds of murders for which I was the primary detective and an investigation was conducted over any period of time, I never charged a defendant without working closely with an assistant state's attorney.

I think Baltimore City State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy should stop looking to blame the police and look at her prosecutors.

Gerald Alan Goldstein

Gaithersburg

The writer was a homicide detective in Baltimore for 15 years.

Lobbyist is no friend of Townsend's

I was one of many Democrats outraged by Bruce Bereano's brazen appearance at former President Bill Clinton's event for Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend ("Clinton swing into Baltimore to rally troops for Townsend," Oct. 19).

Mr. Bereano has publicly endorsed Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for governor. And this is no surprise since Mr. Ehrlich does almost everything Mr. Bereano's tobacco company clients want, while Ms. Townsend supports effective measures to reduce smoking.

Vincent DeMarco

Baltimore

Divestiture effort picks wrong target

How gullible does Sherri Muzher think Sun readers are ("Targeting pocketbook might end rights abuses," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 18)?

Perhaps she thinks them incapable of discerning that the divestiture movement is not really about "peace and justice" but is rather a thin patina for the ongoing campaign to delegitimize Israel?

Two years ago, Israel made the Palestinians an offer they shouldn't have refused. And were they, even now, to stop the violence, Israel's defensive countermeasures would stop, too. But every time Israel has relaxed restrictions, Palestinian violence has resumed.

If Ms. Muzher is truly interested in "peaceful change," she would do well to advise Palestinians to adopt such a course.

Richard D. Wilkins

Wilmington, Del.

Perhaps parents should divest

Sherri Muzher's tender concern for people who support the bombing of buses, coffee shops and malls might be less absurd if she and others asking for divestiture from Israel would demand the same for such beacons of freedom as Saudi Arabia and Iran ("Targeting pocketbook might end rights abuses," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 18).

But no, it is only the one democratic country in the Middle East that is the object of their wrath.

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