Letters To The Editor


December 07, 2005

Let the students feed the homeless

I was astonished when I read Dan Rodricks' column "A modest suggestion: Feed poor despite law" (Dec. 1). It appalled me that students going out of their way to do service were prevented from feeding the hungry because of a law.

Apparently, it is a law that there must be hot and cold running water in the area where serving food outdoors. According to Melisa Lindamood, this is to ensure that food served outdoors is as safe as food served in restaurants.

I understand how this would be beneficial for food stands on the street. And I feel better knowing the hot dogs I buy outside of Oriole Park at Camden Yards are absolutely safe.

However, the case of the Loyola College students' serving food to the poor and homeless is a completely different issue.

The people receiving this food can't buy food in restaurants. It is very possible that some of them may not eat at all except for the sandwiches provided by the students.

I'm sure if they were given a choice between risking a food-borne illness and starving, they would take their chances with the food.

Unless city officials are willing to either bring food to these people or provide running water in the area, I say, let the students stay.

We all say how much better we want our city to be, how we want more tourists to visit and see our healthy and safe streets, and how we want to help the poor and homeless.

Some people are actually trying to make this dream a reality. For the law to stop them is an embarrassment to Baltimore.

Samantha Pomplon

Perry Hall

Government gets in the way, again

How dare some bureaucrat stop a very worthwhile effort to assist unfortunate homeless people in our community ("A modest suggestion: Feed poor despite law," Dec. 1)?

Since when has it become illegal to help those less fortunate than yourself?

Since when has it become necessary to satisfy laws and regulations that apply to restaurants and commercial outdoor vendors before extending a well-intentioned, well-disciplined and, apparently, clean helping hand to the homeless on a personal, noncommercial basis?

Is it better to let them go hungry - or maybe starve?

Since when has it become necessary to "pay the piper" (read "buy a license") before doing something charitable without asking anything from anyone else?

Is it really necessary for our government to have a hand in every pocket?

What has happened to wisdom and judgment at any level of government in our society?

This is simply one more example of incompetent government bureaucracy.

James Fortner


If the city Health Department feels that students who are trying to help deal with a horrible, overwhelming problem (hungry, homeless people) should have a license, perhaps the city could donate the license or, if it must be purchased, sell it to them for $1.

This is a definitive example of too much government interference.

And I would say to the mayor: Don't you have more important things to worry about?

Wayne Carson


Baker's execution sets awful example

Around 9 p.m. Monday night, the state of Maryland executed a man in cold blood at the Metropolitan Transition Center on Madison Street ("Baker executed for 1991 killing," Dec. 6).

I was there in front of the prison. And I want the state to know that the killing was not done in my name.

And so it goes: Baltimore's mindless murders continue, with the majesty of government showing Maryland's desperate youths a dead-end, murderous way.

Fred Ruof


The real obscenity was Baker's crime

One of Wesley Eugene Baker's lawyers said that Mr. Baker hopes that "this obscenity that is the death penalty withers away" ("Protest ends with sorrow, disappointment," Dec. 6).

The real obscenity is that a grandmother was executed in front of her young grandchildren. And we can only hope that the memory of this crime has withered from their minds and they can remember her with love.

Janet Kline


City policies cause death row disparity

State Sen. Lisa A. Gladden's column "Death row disparity" (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 2) leaves out one important fact.

She correctly states that Baltimore witnesses approximately 250 murders each year, that most of the victims are black and that the murderers are not punished with the death sentence. She then asks why.

The answer is obvious: Baltimore's prosecutors rarely ask for the death penalty.

The prosecutors in Baltimore County are far more likely to ask for the death penalty, so of course more death sentences will be carried out as a result of crimes in Baltimore County.

If city prosecutors were to more frequently ask for the death penalty in cases where it is clearly deserved, the statistics Ms. Gladden cites would surely change.

Michael Connell


Gunn did fine job improving Amtrak

No one in the rail industry accepts the ludicrous assertion that David L. Gunn "stood in the way of reform" ("Fired Amtrak chief stood in the way of reform" (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 1).

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