Letters To The Editor


January 26, 2003

Billboard ban blocks blight on neighborhoods

It is outrageous that serious consideration would be given to relaxing Baltimore's landmark billboard ban ("Planning vote opens door to lifting billboard freeze," Jan. 10).

The Sun's article mentions the "years-long effort" that culminated in the prohibition of new billboards and the removal of about 1,000 illegal billboards, which had gone unregulated throughout the city.

Readers should understand that this effort spanned more than eight years and was supported by a full-time organizer at the Citizens Planning and Housing Association (CPHA).

Citizens in more than 30 neighborhood groups attended meetings, testified and wrote letters, called officials, checked the zoning docket every week and documented billboards in their neighborhoods - all so that citizens would have a voice on an issue that was a source of blight in too many neighborhoods.

This work was intense and sustained, and its victory deserves much more respect than was shown by the Planning Commission's endorsement of lifting the freeze on billboards or by city Economic Development Director M. J. "Jay" Brodie's dismissal of any objection to it.

I hope that the full City Council shows more respect for the efforts and accomplishments of so many of Baltimore's citizens.

Carol Beck


First-rate signage could enhance arena

The Sun's editorial on "wallscaping" the 1st Mariner Arena indicates what a minefield of controversy this proposal is ("Wallscaping the Arena," Jan. 13).

It would appear that there are not nearly enough limits on this type of advertising. However, if major signage (and the advertising dollars it generates) is the goal, then shouldn't we get the best signs - ones like those used at Times Square in New York?

That sort of signage does indeed create a sense of excitement that could be a positive element to the arena area.

If that part of downtown is to reach its full potential, we should require the best from all major players involved.

Matthew J. Mosca


Reward the progress schools have shown

The Baltimore public schools have been the center of attention for their budget woes, and were recently excoriated by various members of the General Assembly ("State officials slam schools over finances," Jan. 10).

I do not discount the importance of maintaining a budget. However, given the progress of the city schools over the last few years, our legislators might also have said, "You only need 3 percent more in your budget to maintain your progress? That's a bargain. Great work."

Ed Rutkowski


Invest in city schools, but stop the waste

I thought The Sun's editorial on the Baltimore city schools and the need for fiscal responsibility was excellent ("Hit the books," Jan. 14).

As the spouse of a Baltimore school teacher who works for a financial services company, I am constantly frustrated by the stories I hear about waste and inefficiency in the city's schools.

Invest more in Baltimore's public schools? Absolutely. Education is the cure for social and economic ills. But allow Baltimore's schools to waste the additional dollars invested? Absolutely not.

I applaud the academic progress city schools have made the past few years, but a more thoughtful, business-like allocation of resources would help accelerate the progress.

Mike Dunn


Taking from seniors to pay for tax cuts?

The economic stimulus program proposed by President Bush once again primarily benefits the greedy instead of the needy - with big bucks going to the former and mostly lip service to the latter ("Bush starts campaign for new tax cuts," Jan. 10).

It may be true that dividends are taxed twice (assuming that the corporations did pay taxes).

But why not eliminate the income taxes that senior citizens must pay on their Social Security benefits, when they have already paid on the earnings on which those benefits are based?

And where will the money come from to finance President Bush's proposal, and the continuing and growing federal deficit?

Might it be from the funds the Republicans labeled as safe in a "lock box" - the Social Security trust fund?

Herman Katkow


Bush hasn't made the case for war

President Bush says he is "sick and tired of games and deception" by Iraq, but he is playing his own games ("Bush: `Time running out' for Iraq," Jan. 15). He has failed to make a case that Iraq threatens the security interests of our nation or our friends, and he has not shown that Iraq was associated with the terrorist attacks of September 2001.

He refuses to provide any evidence, but claims the United States has all the evidence it needs. The administration appears to believe that its bullying is all the convincing it needs to do.

No one disputes that Saddam Hussein is a terrible dictator who should not be in power. But our nation should not be considering shedding anyone's blood without exhausting all other options.

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