Liquor store failed to secure safety
In Peter Hermann's Baltimore Crime Beat column "Shopowner's lawsuit may test the city's padlock law" (Sept. 12), Chang K. Yim, the owner of Linden Bar and Liquors, portrays himself as a victim because his store was ordered padlocked as a result of the persistent problem of drug dealing and violence in and around the store.
Any action that damages someone's livelihood has to be taken very seriously, and must be undertaken only as a last resort to end a problem that is hurting many others.
But I believe that most people in the community of Reservoir Hill and surrounding neighborhoods wish Mr. Yim had done more to work with police and the community to resolve the drug dealing and related crime that have plagued the corner of Linden and North avenues for years.
The Reservoir Hill Improvement Council met with Mr. Yim in its offices earlier this year to try to craft some steps Linden Liquors could take to combat the problem. Unfortunately, Mr. Yim did not take the kinds of decisive actions that would have indicated he was making serious efforts to be part of a solution.
In the end, residents should not have to walk through a gantlet of dealers to reach the few shops within walking distance, or be forced to turn back because they are too afraid to walk in that area. And children should not have to go to school within sight of such activity.
Finally, residents took steps to ensure everyone's safety.
Communities that have seen significant divestment do need stores within walking distance of residents, many of whom do not own cars and thus lack easy access to other shopping options.
However, our communities need stores that provide healthy options for residents, and stores that will be good partners in forging and maintaining healthy, vibrant and safe communities.
John Ruffin, Baltimore
The writer is executive director of the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council.
Linking trails helps save city's green space
Kudos to Jonathan Pitts for updating us on the 2009 Strategic Implementation Plan for Maryland Trails ("Trail mix," Sept. 4).
Meanwhile, in leafy Roland Park, we are locked in a battle to save our remaining green space. A rezoning decision by the city could clear the way for the sale of 17 acres of Baltimore Country Club to the Keswick Multi-Care Center. Many of us believe that approving such a development would be a dangerous precedent for our historic community.
We are quickly learning that we are not alone. Other Baltimore neighborhoods face similar struggles against unchecked development.
To save our green spaces, we need to tie them together. What better way to do so than with multiuse bike trails?
Back in the 1860s, Frederick Law Olmsted demonstrated that cities like Baltimore benefit economically by carving out and linking their green spaces. Proximity to a bike path, park or open space raises property values.
A green infrastructure helps attract "active lifestyle" people to the city and thus bolsters the city's tax base.
This vision has been captured in the city's 2006 comprehensive master plan, which includes a bicycle master plan for the city.
Plans abound. It's time to implement them.
Mike McQuestion, Baltimore
The writer is an officer of the Roland Park Civic League.
Push into Pakistan bolsters our position
I'd like to commend the Bush administration for making specific and surgical moves against al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan and adjoining Afghan areas ("Order bypasses Pakistan," Sept. 11).
These moves have been long needed, as we appear to have lost our direction and goals from the time of the initial incursion to Afghanistan.
Some years ago, the U.S. drove the Taliban from its governing position in Afghanistan. However, we failed to follow up on this victory by not putting enough resources into bolstering the position of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Our original goals in Afghanistan were to strike at the heart of al-Qaida and the elements of the Taliban protecting them.
We should return to these goals while bolstering the power of Mr. Karzai, enlarging his national army and confining the military strikes by our special forces and co-operating intelligence services to specific, high-level targets Donald T. Hart, Baltimore