Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 27, 2005

City must do more to help retailers

When will Mayor Martin O'Malley and the Downtown Partnership wake up and smell the coffee? Another major independent retailer is leaving downtown and no one in City Hall appears to see this trend ("Gage era approaches the end," Oct. 25).

My store left Charles Street a year ago because it became too hard to do day-to-day business downtown. We did not get one phone call from a city official encouraging us to stay.

We had to deal with an overzealous cop who constantly ticketed our delivery trucks, utility companies that felt free to pull up in front of our store at any time and start tearing up the streets for days or even months - the list goes on forever.

If the powers that be want good independent retailers to come back to downtown and survive and flourish, the city needs to make a major effort to support them, including a grand plan for retail development that involves incentives and cooperation with city officials.

Steven Appel

Baltimore

The writer is president of Nouveau Contemporary Goods Inc.

Hostile legislation scares stores away

Downtown Baltimore is ready to shop. But where are the stores ("City ripe for retail rebirth, study says," Oct. 19)?

The author of a new study claims luring national retail chains to downtown Baltimore is a matter of more effectively packaging and selling the city's impressive demographics.

Unfortunately, it's up to the politicians in Annapolis to create an attractive environment for retailers in Baltimore.

If city residents want downtown shopping options, they must tell lawmakers to stop trying to pick winners and losers in the retailing economy.

In May, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. took a courageous step to protect Maryland consumers, Maryland jobs and the Maryland economy by vetoing legislation that would punish the very industry that Baltimore wants to set up shop in the city when he vetoed the bill that would tax large companies that don't spend enough on health care.

But the state legislature's continuing threat to override Mr. Ehrlich's veto has created a hostile environment for retailers across the state and in Baltimore.

This legislation unfairly targets the retail industry, but all Maryland businesses must face the very real possibility that such laws will soon be aimed at them.

Anti-retail legislation at all levels of government, including several county ordinances, places Maryland at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states that have no similar statutes.

Maryland's unfriendly environment for retailers means fewer jobs, reduced tax revenues and a weakened economy.

Baltimore may indeed be on the "cusp of a retail wave." But if Baltimore residents want more shopping choices, they have to prevent legislation that threatens the success of Maryland retail ventures.

Sandy Kennedy

Arlington, Va.

The writer is president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Students understand the stakes in Iraq

I was amazed by Louis Cantori's comments that American public opinion is "stultified" and that Johns Hopkins students evince "naivete" ("Little outcry raised on Iraq," Oct. 24).

Let me propose an alternative explanation: Perhaps the Hopkins students and those "stultified" segments of the public understand the stakes in Iraq better than Mr. Cantori does, and don't share his nostalgia for the good old days of Vietnam protests.

Steven Metz

Carlisle, Pa.

Front-page editorial against the war

The headline and report titled "Little outcry raised on Iraq" (Oct. 24) was little more than an above-the-fold, front-page anti-war editorial.

The entire piece basically forwards the opinion that the American people are too stupid to know that they should be against the war in Iraq.

This article belonged at the back of Section A, not on its front page.

Moshe Gavant

Baltimore

Many show outrage over war in Iraq

After reading "Little outcry raised on Iraq" (Oct. 24), I wonder whether Louis Cantori and I live among the same people.

Large numbers of people whom I encounter express outrage at the invasion of Iraq. People feel sickened by the mounting death toll, including uncounted numbers of innocent civilians.

On Sept. 24, about 100,000 people protested in Washington, with most of the organizing done via the Internet.

A heart-wrenching demonstration at the Johns Hopkins University paid homage to the war dead by displaying empty boots.

An unprecedented series of natural disasters and Washington scandals has filled up much of the newspaper and airwave space. However, many among us are still counting bodies even though we are forbidden to see the coffins of returning service members.

And we are still counting the billions being spent in Iraq because our president opened a Pandora's box with no idea how the endgame would play out.

Dorian R. Borsella

Fallston

Stop encroaching on the wetlands

Thanks for featuring the rape of the Cambridge wetlands on Sunday's front page ("Project's effect on wildlife debated," Oct. 23).

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