Letters To The Editor


August 21, 2007

Harassing homeless won't solve problem

Who gave the Downtown Partnership the right to act like a SWAT team toward the unfortunate homeless people in Baltimore ("Homeless booted from city site," Aug. 16)?

The homeless people in America are nameless and invisible to most of us. But they are human beings and they do have rights.

How terrible it is that homeless people are "relieving themselves" in public, as Downtown Partnership president Kirby Fowler noted. But where are they supposed to go to relieve themselves, Mr. Kirby?

With shelters closing and fewer services available for the homeless, Baltimore officials seem to hope that if we take more steps to destroy what remains of the self-esteem of our homeless people, they will simply go away.

We cannot simply eliminate services and assistance to the homeless and then expect them to disappear.

It has been said that the true test of a society is how it treats its most unfortunate.

And it is clear that in 2007, despite all of our prosperity and our success, the United States still gets a failing mark for its treatment of those our society has thrown away.

Eric Crossley


Must city tolerate the homeless' mess?

I sometimes have differed strongly with the Downtown Partnership. But I think The Sun has given it a bad rap on the Guilford Avenue rousting of the homeless ("After downtown cleaning, the homeless come back," Aug. 17).

While it may be politically incorrect to raise the issue, Downtown Baltimore has become a magnet for vagrants and folks who don't take their psychotropic medication, especially since advocates for the poor and mentally ill and money-saving politicians got many mental hospitals closed and courts gave homeless people "rights" I don't have.

But confronted as we are every morning and each day by having to clean up the mess these folks leave behind, must the non-homeless people silently continue to bear the expense and the disgusting results?

Rob Ross Hendrickson


Partnership is right to clean up the city

I find it ludicrous that, even as the mayor's office is spending a great deal of money for an ad campaign to help clean up Baltimore, the Downtown Partnership is getting criticized for trying to clean up the city by removing the trash and debris generated by the homeless population ("After downtown cleaning, the homeless come back," Aug. 17).

In addition, it is quite disturbing to see this population bedded down along Fayette Street, on the grounds of a neighborhood church and along Guilford Avenue.

This does nothing to enhance the image of our city and it is not a safe environment for these homeless people.

While I consider myself a fairly liberal person, I cannot agree with the stance taken by the American Civil Liberties Union or Health Care for the Homeless Inc. on this issue.

Solving the problem will not be easy. But this is an unsightly, unhealthy and unsafe situation that should be dealt with.

Laraine Fisher


Mayor knows sister can handle the job

I was perturbed to read the article about Mayor Sheila Dixon's sister being a paid member of Ms. Dixon campaign ("Dixon's sister is on payroll," Aug. 17).

Many candidates in the past have done exactly the same kind of thing. It is perfectly legal.

And why wouldn't Ms. Dixon pick her sister to be part of her campaign team?

She knows her qualifications, believes her sister can be trusted and knows her sister is dedicated to the campaign.

I believe that the amount of money Ms. Dixon's campaign is paying her sister is minimal compared to what she would have paid to a professional manager.

And it is Ms. Dixon's campaign money. She raised it and she can spend it in accordance with the laws governing campaign expenditures.

Let's not make such a big deal out of nothing.

Richard Rynd


The writer is a former state delegate.

Added aid to Israel a waste of resources

I am appalled that the Bush administration has "offered Israel an unprecedented $30 billion in military aid over 10 years" ("Israeli forces offered 25% more U.S. aid," Aug. 17).

At a time when U.S. bridges are starting to collapse, the roads in our cities are riddled with potholes, other elements of our infrastructure are in dire need of an upgrade, our health care system is one of the worst in the developed world and the cost of the war in Iraq may soon approach $1 trillion, our government can ill-afford this kind of handout to a country like Israel, which already has one of the strongest military forces in the world.

On top of being a terrible misuse of our tax dollars, this increased military aid to Israel will also allow that government to escalate its oppression of the Palestinian people.

While Israel builds an apartheid-style wall to steal more and more Palestinian land and squeeze Palestinians into ever-shrinking territories, the last thing the United States - which should be an honest broker in the Middle East - should be doing is increasing its military aid to Israel.

Joanne Heisel


Rules regulating migrants do matter

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