Letters To The Editor


November 03, 2006

Mayor has blocked faster public transit

I was both amazed and amused when I read the recent article describing Mayor Martin O'Malley's "new" Smart Growth-based transportation plan ("Mayor hitches onto transit issues for votes," Oct. 26).

According to The Sun, the mayor accused Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. of "making a series of bad policy choices that contribute to congestion."

However, if the mayor's current policies for transit are any indication of his future transportation initiatives if he becomes governor, an integrated public transit system for the region is doomed.

Why? Because the mayor and the city Department of Transportation have refused to allow signal pre-emption for surface transportation so that transit vehicles would have priority over automobiles when the two intersect on city streets.

Signal pre-emption technology allows transit vehicles to bypass traffic because the operator can change traffic signals as the transit vehicle approaches an intersection. It would be a relatively quick and inexpensive way to improve our city's transit system.

Safe and effective signal pre-emption would decrease riding time for light rail passengers. And if we were to shorten the ride, more people would opt for the convenience of public transit rather than fighting traffic gridlock.

An integrated transit system is long overdue for the Baltimore region. And signal preemption for at-grade transit would be a start in building a successful public transportation system that would better link Baltimore with the rest of the region.

Nancy Worden Horst


Supporting Steele for wrong reasons?

The Sun's article "Steele endorsed by black officials" (Oct. 31) describes how many leading black Democratic politicians in Prince George's County have endorsed Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele for the U.S. Senate.

Indicating that blacks have been taken for granted by the Democratic Party, former County Executive Wayne K. Curry is quoted as saying, "It's not going to be like that anymore."

Although this no doubt is intended as a warning shot across the bow for the Democrats, I think the article has disturbing implications.

If Mr. Steele is elected, he will join a Congress, now led by Republicans, that has not been helpful to the economic interests of most black people.

If you look at the record of both parties on such issues as financial aid to cities, funding of mass transit, increases in the minimum wage, education funding and affirmative action, it's hard to conclude that Democrats have taken black voters for granted.

But this is not the most disturbing thing: The most disturbing thing is that these prominent black politicians seem to be supporting Mr. Steele just because he's black.

And this leads one to the next logical question: Should whites vote for Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin just because he's white?

Leo J. Vidal


`Halloween in Hood' smacks of racism

I applaud the Johns Hopkins University's Black Student Union for promptly calling out the pathetic exposition at the Sigma Chi fraternity ("Hopkins fraternity accused of racism," Oct. 31).

This party may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it saddens me that even at an "enlightened" venue of higher education, over-advantaged college kids still need to express their fear of the city's urban surroundings in this way.

I am sick and tired of college students coming to this city with unreasonably bloated preconceptions of its danger - simply because white is not the city's primary color.

If these fraternity boys really feel this way about Baltimore, maybe they should leave, and take their not-so-suppressed racism with them.

J. David Lovejoy


Burying bad news to protect O'Malley?

Buried on the last page of Monday's Maryland section was a small article noting that Baltimore is the 12th-most-dangerous city in the country ("City listed 12th on danger list," Oct. 30).

Why was this article not on the front page, where it should have been, for all to see?

Is The Sun afraid that this would hurt Mayor Martin O'Malley's election chances?

Barbara Barry


A chance to reject the abuse of power

In his column "Simply Orwellian: Cutting and running from `stay the course'" (Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 29), Leonard Pitts Jr. asks such a reasonable question - why aren't we all protesting at the gates of the White House in response to President Bush's latest fiction: "Listen, we've never been `stay the course'"?

I am not protesting at the gates of the White House yet because of faith - faith in my fellow Americans that, come Election Day, enough of us will vote.

Faith that enough of us will vote against the leaders who think that saying "we are winning the war in Iraq" makes it true.

That enough of us will vote against the leaders who promote torture.

That enough of us will vote against the leaders who try to frighten us into sacrificing our freedoms.

That enough of us will protest the democratic way - by voting for new leadership for America.

Beth Greenland


Reparations are key to rebuilding trust

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