Letters To The Editor


October 16, 2003

Speed humps could prevent traffic tragedies

One answer to John Barry's question, "Gittings and Lake avenues are busy east-west thoroughfares. What did you expect when you bought a house there?" is that we expected that motorists would drive at speeds reasonably close to the posted speed limit ("Negotiating city speed humps is an increasingly bumpy road," Oct. 7).

Speed limit signs for 25 miles per hour are posted all along East Lake Avenue. Yet motorists routinely travel 40 mph to 45 mph during the daytime. Late at night, motorists rocket down East Lake Avenue at 50 mph to 60 mph.

Mr. Barry also comments, "How often are you allowed to bring [speed humps] up if you don't like the answer? It should be put to rest."

But this issue should not be put to rest. As new residents move into neighborhoods and traffic patterns continually evolve, the issue of traffic calming measures needs to be readdressed periodically to keep pace with neighborhood needs.

Motorists need to be diverted back onto Northern Parkway, a nearby thoroughfare that was planned and built with commuter traffic in mind. To that end, signs are needed to direct cars traveling north on York Road to westbound Northern Parkway.

Our police force has enough major concerns, and if "sleeping policemen" can deter some speeders at the inexpensive cost of $2,000 per speed hump, this one-time cost is a bargain.

Last week, my neighbor's cat was struck by a car and killed. This is a sad and utterly unnecessary misfortune. Must we wait until the avoidable tragedy of the killing of a child occurs before traffic calming devices are installed?

Betty Ann Chodkowski


Closing institutions ends discrimination

Closing institutions is a necessary step toward ending discrimination against people with mental illnesses and moving Maryland's mental health system into the 21st century ("Shutting Md. mental hospital proposed," Oct. 9).

We have known for decades that people recover and create fulfilling lives in the community if provided adequate supports. But, tragically, many individuals are instead unnecessarily confined in hospitals or trapped in a cycle of repeated admissions because of the failures of the mental health system, not because of their mental illnesses.

We cannot afford to continue using institutions as a substitute for adequate services and housing. Therefore, while we urge the governor and legislature to close Crownsville Hospital Center, it is imperative that the state use the savings exclusively for community supports and housing for individuals with mental illnesses.

Failure to do so would ensure that Maryland will continue to waste scarce dollars and precious human potential.

Laura L. Cain


The writer is an attorney for the Maryland Disability Law Center.

School woes require regional redress

Urban policy analyst David Rusk hits the nail on the head by suggesting inclusionary zoning policies ("Class dismissed," editorial, Oct. 10).

Such policies address the fundamental flaw in the American public education system -- which segregates students by income and place, and therefore by race. As Mr. Rusk suggests, we must break this vicious cycle of segregation by changing institutions. And those fixes must be regional in scope.

Charter schools and vouchers merely offer short-term solutions. We must adequately fund all schools.

And fixing schools and wiping out poverty once and for all require local governments to cross political boundaries and cooperate for the region's best interest.

Thomas J. Vicino


The writer is a graduate student of urban policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

First lady's remarks don't justify diatribe

I think most of us agree that Kendel Ehrlich's comments about Britney Spears were inappropriate, especially in light of the circumstances in which she made them (at a conference on domestic violence).

But Ms. Ehrlich has apologized, and I doubt she will repeat her error. Yet Michael Olesker chose this issue as the topic for his column "First lady should set sights on targets other than Spears" (Oct. 10).

Fair enough. But somehow, after a few paragraphs about the incident, he managed to turn the column into a diatribe against Republicans, specifically Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rush Limbaugh.

Huh? Please, let's move on.

Nancy Shaffer


Abortion procedure sacrifices newborns

Members of a satanic cult "called the sacrifice of newborns the most pure thing you can do" ("Laci Peterson case attracts strange hypotheses," Oct. 12).

Were they talking about partial-birth abortions?

Andrew Todaro


Moving mayoral race will save city money

The Sun is the one with the "terrible idea" ("Mixed dates? Nuts!" editorial, Oct. 6).

The coalition that unwisely changed the mayoral election date is the cause of the city's "goofy election schedule." And making the mayoral election coincide with the presidential election is totally idiotic. Who will be paying attention to local politics when presidential and congressional elections are being held?

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