Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 27, 2007

Angel Burrell shows city still has heroes

I applaud The Sun's article "Aided by instinct" (April 24), if for no other reason than that it began not by discussing the shooting of yet another teenager as a statistic but by reporting on the heroic act of decency performed by a young citizen of the city.

There are heroes like Angel Burrell, young and old, who daily commit acts of unnoticed humanity in this city; these are the people who deserve to be on billboards in the city, not those serving decades in prison for gun, drug and murder charges.

These stories are out there.

But why did we not hear about the Dawson family, for instance, until they had been murdered? They died because they chose to act on behalf of their ill city.

Maybe if we were to know more names like these - like that of the Dawson family and Angel Burrell - maybe if we were to tell their stories, post them on billboards and teach our students about them, maybe then Baltimore would begin to have a true renaissance based on its people, not on its downtown skyline.

Nicholas Windt Seldes

Baltimore

The writer is a social work psychotherapist at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

God bless Angel Burrell for her speedy, common-sense, very brave response in rendering first aid to a student wounded by gunfire on the street.

She's an example to me - and I am an older, but not necessarily wiser, citizen, who has never had to think about what I would do if a bleeding teenager crossed my path.

All the city's troubles aren't enough to stop young people like Angel from doing their best in situations that would frighten or defeat many of us.

To all of them, I offer my thanks.

Eileen O'Brien

Baltimore

Affordable housing will aid city's revival

By passing legislation pending before the City Council that would promote inclusionary housing in Baltimore, our elected officials can help ensure that housing costs do not continue to spiral out of reach of the working families who are the foundation of our communities ("Low-cost homes bill debated," April 22).

For our city to maintain and enhance its diverse communities, it must be able to grow in an inclusive way, even as we invest in and revitalize distressed and emerging neighborhoods.

Baltimore's current housing policy and development patterns have weakened our city by segregating people by income. As a result, we are witnessing a decline in the housing market in some older communities, concentrated poverty, schools under stress and more sprawl.

In Baltimore, it is becoming more and more difficult to find housing for lower- and moderate-income working families.

The health of our city and its communities rests on a sound and visionary housing policy.

We must create communities in which doctors, teachers, police officers, caregivers and custodians can all reside.

Inclusionary housing should not be seen as a factor competing against the city's revitalization initiatives but as a key component of these efforts.

I encourage the members of our City Council to take a hard look at housing policy, and am confident they will see that Baltimore needs this legislation.

Elizabeth Alex

Baltimore

The writer is an organizer for CASA of Maryland.

City can't control the housing market

I think Baltimore's affordable housing bill will be dead on arrival, whether it passes the City Council or not ("Low-cost homes bill debated," April 22).

The housing market is a regional system. Attempting to manipulate market forces in just one segment of the metropolitan area will not have the intended effect, and will probably exacerbate the shortage of affordable housing in Baltimore, as developers figure out creative ways to circumvent the rules in this hot market.

It seems to me that unless and until the five counties surrounding Baltimore join in such an affordable housing initiative, the effort is not ready for implementation here.

In the meantime, as Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III, executive vice president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, suggests, there are more cost-effective ways than this legislation to make affordable housing part of new developments, and these should be pursued.

Carl Hyman

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Tuscany-Canterbury Neighborhood Association.

Urban design critical to our quality of life

The many citizens of Baltimore who care about the design of our city's built environment are celebrating the return of Edward Gunts' perceptive writing to The Sun.

His column about Goucher College's exciting new Athenaeum was a welcome presentation that showed how architecture can embody and inform an institution's noblest goals ("Goucher taps Greece for ideas," April 23).

The quality of life in our city will improve only when we as a community demand the best.

And in renewing its commitment to stimulate discourse about architecture and design, The Sun has taken a major step toward improving our environment.

Steve Ziger

Baltimore

The writer is a partner for an architectural firm.

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