Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 27, 2003

Values, culture of immigrants enrich nation

Several recent Sun editorials provided insight into the contributions immigrants make to the communities in which they live (e.g. "Getting started," editorial, Nov. 23). And while the justifications the editorials offer for putting out the "welcome mat" make perfect economic sense, we should also take note of other important reasons why we should embrace these newcomers.

Yes, immigrants can provide an important labor force and can help to revitalize the housing stock and, consequently, the tax base of a city or a region. But in the process they also provide other important intangible benefits.

Ever marvel at the success of the immigrant corner grocer's ability to thrive in what others have long considered an economically depressed area?

Ever ponder the sacrifices made by immigrant workers who somehow manage to send money back home to help support families they left behind?

The family values and work ethic of these newcomers provide a wonderful role model for all of us and the cultural richness of their traditions, language, cuisine, art, music and literature are just a few of the gifts they contribute to our American mosaic.

Kudos to The Sun for its efforts to draw attention to a very important resource in our state. It is refreshing that immigrants in Maryland are being recognized for their contributions.

Hector L. Torres

Elisha Pulvarti

Larry Worthington

Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, the executive directors of the governor's commissions on Hispanic Affairs, Asian-Pacific American Affairs and Migratory and Seasonal Farm Labor.

Immigrants need to learn our ways

I would like to comment on The Sun's editorial encouraging more immigrants to come to Baltimore ("From foreign shores," Nov. 19).

I have no problem with anyone coming to Baltimore, or anywhere else in the United States, who is willing to work and make a better life for himself or herself. That's what our ancestors did. That's what made America great.

I do have a concern when businesses must send their supervisors to school to learn the language of their foreign employees.

I do have a concern when businesses put people who cannot speak clear English in a position where they must communicate with the public, either in person or by telephone.

In short, bring on the foreigners. But make them conform to our society, not vice versa.

Carl Justice

Baltimore

Allow all couples a secular ceremony

A state functionary in Paris married my wife and me because no marriage in France is legal unless performed by the state. Three days later we were married in a ceremony carried on in the tradition of the religious Society of Friends. That's the one that counted for us; we didn't think we were really married until then.

The state was happy and provided us with full legal privileges. We were happy because we felt we were married in the eyes of God and of humans.

A constitutional amendment defining marriage -- which is a religious ceremony for most of us, and therefore off limits to the state -- would, it seems to me, go against our belief in the separation of church and state ("State-by-state fight looms over same-sex marriages," Nov. 22).

Wouldn't it be simpler if we allowed people, gay or straight, to have a secular ceremony as happens in Europe, which provides all the legal rights of marriage, and then decide on their own whether to follow up with a religious one which will provide spiritual blessings?

Sam Legg

Cockeysville

A bigger Beltway won't stop gridlock

I'm a driver who disagrees that devoting tolls solely to Beltway improvements will thwart gridlock ("Use new tolls only to build better Beltway," letters, Nov. 20).

In fact, that would make the problem worse. Not only will the construction of improvements result in gargantuan delays but the new lanes (what other "improvements" could the letter writer mean?) will invariably be swamped with newly enticed drivers.

This is exactly what happened to the "improvements" to Interstate 270 from Frederick to Washington. Within two years, the added lanes became rush-hour parking lots.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr.

Baltimore

Need another leader like John F. Kennedy

With the 40th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination last week, one cannot help but wonder how President Bush would have handled the Cuban Missile Crisis. My sneaking suspicion is we would have all been reduced to radioactive ashes.

Thank God for Mr. Kennedy. We could really use another such leader right now.

Brad Schwartz

Olney

Investigating cause of loss of water

Arc Environmental Inc. is investigating what led to the loss of water in north Baltimore on Nov. 19. We ask people not to jump to conclusions until the investigation is complete and all facts are known ("Water main break closes businesses and schools," Nov. 20).

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