Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 07, 2004

Work together to make transit more efficient

While I agree that Maryland Transit Administration should do more to accommodate handicapped riders, I feel that the National Federation of the Blind's so-called freedom rides will aggravate a serious problem for the light rail system - people boarding without first buying a ticket ("Light rail changes for blind sought," Aug. 31).

The Federation's request toallow people to pay their fare on board would slow thetrains down, lengthen commuting time, and increasecosts by having to hire fare collectors. The MTA and light rail patrons need to remember that the system was built on the cheap , mostly without federal funds,and has shortcomings.

To save money and protect the environment, the system was built above ground on existing railroad rights of way, car parking on floodplains was limited and much of the system was single-tracked.

Patrons should be patient in this construction period as MTA double-tracks the system and updates its equipment.

The city of Baltimore could help facilitate train travel on Howard Street by allowing traffic lights to be synchronized to favor the light rail.

Local businesses could do their part by participating in subsidized transit programs and allowing riders some lee way in work times.

Also, in today's computerized work environment; private businesses and government could provide desktop computers for their employees so transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians could just carry the computer Disc to and from work rather than having to lug the PC around. In short, rather than encouraging people to board the light rail without paying, everyone from the Federation of the Blind to the city, businesses and the MTA should work together to make using the light rail and public transit more pleasant and efficient.

Incidentally, when I had trouble using the new electronic scanners at the supermarket, I recalled my parents' old fashioned advice and simply asked someone

Jeffrey H. Marks

Baltimore

List the casualties among Palestinians

On Sept. 1, The Sun detailed the major attacks against Israelis by Palestinian suicide bombings from June 2001 to March 2004, constituting a death toll of 490 people ("At least 16 die in Israel as Hamas strikes 2 buses," Sept. 1).

May we look forward to a similar enumeration of Palestinians killed by various methods by the Israelis?

And would The Sun please include the amount of Palestinian territory that has been appropriated by Israel during this period?

This would help to lend some balance to The Sun's reporting.

Doris Rausch

Ellicott City

Violence now part of daily life in Haiti

Despite The Sun's Aug. 28 news brief on Haiti's current political plight ("U.N. encouraged by efforts of Haiti peacekeepers"), I find it difficult to find anything "encouraging" about that island's desperate present situation.

As the widespread opposition-generated violence that allowed the United States to orchestrate the overthrow of the Aristide government six months ago becomes settles down to being a daily fact of life, the United Nations is again demonstrating its in effectiveness in handling an international crisis with dispatch and seems to be operating without a mission and with intolerable languor.

Although the Security Council authorized a peacekeeping force for Haiti of 6,700 soldiers, only 2,700 troops have arrived.

This is why pressure must be exercised by the Security Council to ensure that countries pledging troops now deploy them and that international donors who grandly authorized contributions now actually allocate them.

David Kolker

Washington

The writer is a research associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

D.C. team allowed Baltimore to get O's

Raymond Daniel Burke needs to bone up on his sports history ("Don't swing at Washington's bad pitch," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 1).

First, there is a moral consideration concerning the restoration of baseball to Washington. The fact is that in 1955 1954, the St. Louis Browns were allowed to come to Baltimore only because the Washington Senators' ownership graciously acceded to the move.

Second, using Mr. Burke's logic on the need to maximize markets, the National Football League was crazy to let the Ravens move here from Cleveland. If this region can support two football teams, why not two baseball teams as well?

Had the Senators' ownership and NFL owners followed Mr. Burke's advice, Baltimore would likely still be a minor-league town.

Patrick D. Weadon

Severna Park

Late-term abortion loophole too broad

I was surprised and disheartened to learn that arguments against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act had surfaced again, and that a federal district court judge in New York ruled the ban unconstitutional ("Federal abortion law struck down," Aug. 27). The reason: The ban makes no provision for cases in which the mother's health is at risk.

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