Letters To The Editor


August 13, 2004

Lead-paint bill would restore proper balance

I believe it is ludicrous and irresponsible of The Sun's editors to pose as advocates for the at-risk youths in Baltimore while opposing corrections to legislation designed to address an overzealous court ruling that flies in the face of centuries of common law ("If it moves like a snake," editorial, Aug. 4). In fact, it is the at-risk children of our city who would benefit from the way the bill would modify the language of the law.

The bill would recodify the responsibility of residents to notify their property managers of all types of damage because the residents occupy the property and thus are in the best position to know the up-to-the-minute conditions in it.

Failure to promptly notify the property manager of problems only aggravates the harm to which residents and their families are exposed.

Let us be clear that absolutely no one has a monopoly on sympathy for a child or for any resident harmed as a result of negligence. And the bill would not take away the protections afforded at-risk children against lead poisoning or any other injury. Our local, state and federal laws are replete with codes requiring compliance of property owners to establish and maintain lead-safe housing.

The bill is about restoring a balance of responsibility that ensures property managers, owners and renters will work together to establish and keep a lead-safe, well-maintained and damage-free home.

Unless the City Council restores this time-tested balance, property managers will be forced to take steps no one will like. The result will be unannounced inspections, loss of residents' privacy and higher security deposits to offset the greater risk of damages.

Furthermore, the higher costs of doing business in such an environment would lead to more abandonment of city housing.

Sound and reasonable residents, elected officials and property owners see this legislative correction for what it truly is: an honest effort to continue to provide quality, affordable housing in a city in desperate need of it.

James Caffey


The writer is executive vice president of the Maryland Multi-Housing Association.

Media's eyes open to their own bias?

I had to chuckle a little after reading reporter Kimberly A. C. Wilson's article "Applause raises specter of bias" (Aug. 7). The bias referred to in Ms. Wilson's article has been so obvious for so long, especially to those familiar with The Sun, that it seemed humorous to me to present it as something of a startling new revelation.

But as obvious as this bias has been, perhaps the eyes of many journalists are just now beginning to open to the fact that for far too long, they have been acting more like lobbyists than journalists. If so, that's a good thing.

I will be watching to see how The Sun and other papers around the nation follow up on this startling new revelation of bias in the media.

However, I suspect that The Sun believes it has done its duty on this matter by printing Ms. Wilson's article and that we have heard the last of this issue for quite some time.

Christian Roemer


Kerry was a big hit at Pennsylvania rally

I was very disappointed to read Jules Witcover's assessment of the John Kerry and John Edwards road trip. My friends and I attended their Harrisburg, Pa., rally and our reaction was completely different from Mr. Witcover's ("Dems' duo not a big hit on the road," Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 4).

Approximately 20,000 people stood for four hours waiting for the Kerry-Edwards tour to arrive. Although the night was hot, and the audience was crowded, everyone remained patient, friendly and upbeat.

At the first sight of the buses, the crowd erupted into thunderous applause and cheers. The cheering grew louder as the candidates made their way toward the stage. As the crowd repeated, "Hope is on the way," the chant developed a sing-song quality, but its meaning couldn't have been more heartfelt.

If he attended the rally, I don't know how Mr. Witcover could have missed the energy and excitement in the air.

Democrats have never been more energized and united behind our candidate.

Nell Thompson


Activist judges protect our rights

The contrasting events in Missouri and Washington affecting gay marriage display the profound necessity of the courts and the protections they offer America ("Missouri votes to bar gay unions," Aug. 4, and "Wash. judge upholds same-sex marriages," Aug. 5).

Missouri voters decided to continue outright discrimination in marriage. A Washington court stood up for justice and equality.

The fact that voters in Missouri overwhelmingly supported constitutionally limiting marriage to heterosexual couples does not mean such an action is right or good. American history is full of examples in which the will of the people has led us astray from the real values of our Constitution. Missouri's vote can now be added to the list.

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