Letters To The Editor


May 08, 2006

Newcomers boost South Baltimore

I see it on a daily basis while I am running errands, walking my dog or jogging in South Baltimore. And The Sun's article "Raising the bar" (May 2) confirmed what I had suspected all along - that some long-time residents in South Baltimore resent the newcomers.

I am fortunate to live on a block with wonderful neighbors. However, on the whole, my experiences with friendly long-time residents have been few and far between.

While they may have valid reasons for resenting us, I tire of being met with the retort "yuppie" every time my husband, my neighbors or I try to make it possible for us to live in a healthy community.

I will not deny that there are some newcomers who exude an air of superiority. However, there are people like that everywhere, not just in South Baltimore. You deal with it. You prevail in spite of it.

And many of the newcomers are the very people involved in the grassroots efforts that are making our neighborhood better.

While we do not want to live in a replica of Georgetown or Williamsburg, we do want a neighborhood free of drugs, crime and litter. We want good manners and responsible citizenship to be the norm, not the exception.

The very things that have made the neighborhood a better place were made possible by new and old residents working together as a team, not against one another.

It is my dream one day for my neighborhood to be clean and full of children.

I long for a neighborhood of the sort portrayed in my favorite A. Aubrey Bodine photograph, "Wash Day." In that photo, women are scrubbing their front steps in a clean neighborhood surrounded by children outside.

That neighborhood was lost because of apathy among the citizens.

It will be realized again thanks to those of us who have come in and invested in our community and are working together to make it better.

Erika Haws


Spending bill shows leadership deficit

The recent failure of the U.S. Senate to strip a $700 million proposal backed by Mississippi's two Republican senators to relocate a fully functional, recently repaired rail line in that state is another sign that the majority party is no longer prepared to lead the nation ("Senate defies Bush, passes spending bill," May 5).

The proposal is hugely wasteful; it doesn't take a mathematician to see that it would waste the total tax contribution of tens of thousands of citizens.

And the actual costs of the project may well be even higher than $700 million.

Will Sen. Trent Lott be asking the U.S. taxpayers for more appropriations for this project next year?

The Republicans have strived to cut federal subsidies to the heavily used Amtrak system.

How, then, can they turn around and demand that so much money be spent on this railroad project that will benefit almost no one?

Omar Siddique

Ellicott City

President decided to launch the war

On Thursday, protesters accused Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld of lying about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq ("Anti-war protesters disrupt Rumsfeld speech," May 5).

However, the decision to invade Iraq was ultimately made by President Bush, who offered the American people the same false pretenses for it that Mr. Rumsfeld did.

While I wouldn't go so far as saying that we should impeach President Bush, it is worth contrasting the timidity of the media in challenging Mr. Bush's fallacies to its bold depictions of former President Bill Clinton's conduct throughout the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

I hope that history won't remember us as a people more troubled by drawers than wars.

Eric Frenkil


Stop the carnage on state's roads

Dead is dead, whether it happens at the World Trade Center or on Maryland's roads.

Congratulations to Sun reporter Michael Hill ("Driving's heavy toll," April 30) and editorial writer Peter Jensen ("Wheel life," editorial notebook, April 29) for their excellent coverage of the needless carnage on our highways.

To place the deaths on our highways in proper perspective: There were about 3,000 deaths in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and the country turned upside-down to fight terror. There have been more than 3,000 deaths on the roads in the U.S. every month of every year since 9/11.

What can be done?

For a start:

Speed control - enforcement of existing speed limits and laws.

Elimination of drunken driving - draconian measures may be required.

Continuance and enforcement of motorcycle and bicycle helmet laws.

Remediation of hazards on secondary roads.

It is time to establish an interdepartmental state commission to stop the needless deaths on our roadways.

Dr. Timothy D. Baker


The writer is a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

It isn't just sodas that cause obesity

Getting rid of non-diet sodas and other high-sugar drinks in schools is fine ("The fizz flunks out," May 4). But we also have to get rid of all the salt, processed sugar and fat that are crammed into most prepared foods in the stores.

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