Hampden elitists unfairly limit trade
Charm happens; it is not legislated into being. For Hampden to expect city government to keep out legal businesses or facilitate the sculpting of a predominantly white, middle-class neighborhood to appease the special interests of a few transient elitists is shameful ("Hampden strives to preserve its style," Jan. 3).
At taxpayer expense, they propose that we restrain legal trade and property rights and manipulate real estate values.
All such socialist notions serve only to benefit the lucky few "neo-locals" who are wealthy and educated enough to afford to care where their gourmet veggie burgers and quesos are prepared.
Without full participation by all property and business owners in the area (which is a tricky feat), legislation will only divide Hampden further and waste the City Council's time.
Elitism, like its cousin racism, does not belong on Baltimore streets.
The writer is a local architect who has worked on several projects in Hampden.
Traditional tavern deserves finer fate
"What a wonderful editorial," I thought as I began reading "From Byrd to (Star)bucks" (Jan. 4). The Sun's gifted editorial writer evoked sweet images of a wonderful, historic old tavern in which I have spent many joyous hours.
Then, sadly, in a retreat from what could have been, the paper gave high-fives to Starbucks for its proposed takeover of the King of France Tavern.
It's true, as the editorial notes, that "local residents pine for another music and dance spot at the site, but no one has proposed one."
But some things are worth fighting for.
And what serves the greater good - choosing the expediency of a Starbucks or holding out and aggressively searching for a visionary entrepreneur who will one day come in and reopen that beautiful old King of France to function as it was intended?
America's Founding Fathers, who struck "deals over drinks" at the tavern, would be shaking their heads in disbelief.
Havre de Grace
Waiver for lobbyists favors big money
Sometimes the things you hear about your government are so amazing that you have to wonder where the people involved come from.
The latest (as I write) is that the geniuses in Annapolis have decided the need of paid lobbyists to access legislators overrides the need to have standardized, effective security screening ("Lobbyists get a pass on lines," Jan. 1).
The lame excuse is that when legislation is under consideration, normal screening procedures might create inconvenient delays. But nobody seems to have considered that these delays serve a worthy purpose and affect everyone equally.
And now lobbyists, who may or may not pose security risks, will rush to the sides of complaisant legislators while ordinary citizens, who have at least as great an interest in the effects of legislation, will stand in line for routine screening.
Regardless of the consequences for security, it is certain that the consequences for legislation will be a greater voice for big money.
Katharine W. Rylaarsdam
Scandal reminds us gambling corrupts
As the Abramoff scandal unfolds, residents of Maryland should bear in mind that the principal source of the funds underlying the corruption originated from casino gambling interests ("Lobbyist pleads guilty to fraud," Jan. 4).
It follows that Marylanders should ask themselves whether more gambling, in whatever form, is what they want in their state.
I think the answer is no.
Israeli occupation inspires terrorists
As I read Moshe Yaalon's column "The Israeli model for fighting terror" (Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 3), I wanted to offer an additional method that works well to reduce terrorism.
Mr. Yaalon wrote about the importance of a long-term battle to win the hearts and minds of people. Maybe he would consider not stealing other people's land as an effective tactic to win their hearts.
Over the last 35 years, there seems to be a direct relationship between the number of settlers in the occupied lands and the number of terrorist attacks.
President usurps power to make laws
We are in a constitutional crisis.
In signing into law Sen. John McCain's language prohibiting torture, President Bush issued a statement that declares that it is his right as commander in chief to disregard this law if he deems its restrictions to be in conflict with national security concerns.
It seems clear that Mr. Bush believes that he alone determines what the laws are and in what circumstances they will be followed.
Congress has made its intentions perfectly clear: Torture is not to be used.
We are supposed to be a nation that follows the rule of law, and this includes (one would assume) the president.
Mr. Bush's statement is nothing more than a usurpation of power, and it makes a mockery of the separation of powers the Constitution mandates.
Insulting protesters of Vietnam War