November 10, 2008

Boys' Latin carefully considered demolition

The demolition of our middle school building was truly a harrowing experience for the faculty, administration and board of directors of the Boys' Latin School. However, comparing the preservation of Castalia on the Calvert School property to the removal of Jenkins Hall, the Laurence Hall Fowler-designed structure mentioned in the letter "Boys' Latin razes another city treasure" (Nov. 5), is comparing apples and oranges.

The decision to remove Jenkins Hall came after more than five years of wrangling over how to upgrade the middle school facilities, even though the house was not historically significant. Faculty and staff were informed of every plan that was considered, most of which retained the structure as part of the redevelopment. Unfortunately, these plans never fully met the needs of the school. A final inspection of Jenkins Hall revealed structural problems that led to its removal.

Despite this loss, the new facility will retain the outward appearance of the original structure. Furthermore, many of the interior appointments have been retained for installation in the new building.

The landmark protection bestowed on Castalia occurred when Calvert School provided little justification for its removal. Having infuriated the Tuscany-Canterbury Neighborhood Association with the construction of a middle school that has yet to provide the residential neighborhood relief from school dismissal, it seems the protection of Castalia is the least that could be done for the community.

However, like Calvert, Boys' Latin is in need of new facilities for the middle school. Unlike Calvert, the new facilities will not impact the area any more than before.

As for the photographs of the demolition, these were not taken "arrogantly." They are part of a continuing series documenting the redevelopment of a middle school capable of meeting the needs of the faculty and students long into the future.

Dorsey Boyle, Baltimore

The writer is a teacher at the Boys' Latin School.

Ensure every vote counts in Harford

Is it true that the Democratic Party is attempting to disenfranchise Harford County voters who used absentee ballots ("Kratovil expands slim lead in 1st," Nov. 7)?

How can Democratic congressional candidate Frank M. Kratovil Jr. possibly represent the thousands of Harford County residents that his party has ignored by seeking to discard their votes?

I want my vote counted. I want all absentee votes counted.

Timothy Whitley, Joppa

Apply county job rule to state lawmakers

Now that Baltimore County voters voted down a charter amendment that would have allowed County Council members to hold state jobs ("Voters reject revisions to charters," Nov. 7), now is the time to prohibit General Assembly members from holding state or local government jobs. The same opportunities for abuse and conflicts of interest apply to these well-paid elected positions.

Charles Herr, Perry Hall

Gay marriage vote was disheartening

As thrilled as I am at Barack Obama's victory Tuesday, I am at the same time disheartened that discriminatory marriage bans passed in three states ("Voters approve gay marriage bans in California, Arizona, Florida," Nov. 6).

Since when is a civil right contingent on majority rule? It should never be up for a vote.

Gays and lesbians are depicted as exceedingly promiscuous, jumping from partner to partner. Then, when they express the desire to get married, they are told that those kinds of unions will not be recognized.

I fail to see how a legal and blessed commitment to my same-sex partner in any way denigrates my neighbors' heterosexual marriage. If this sacred institution is in such peril, shouldn't we as a society be encouraging and celebrating those folks who want to make the decision to commit to a partner, and thereby increase the number of stable, loving households?

When my partner and I get married next October, we will stand in front of family and friends to declare our love and commitment to each other, and to invite them to share in our happiness. This will serve as the beginning of our building a life together, and creating our own family - just as my brother and his wife did, and just as my partner's sisters and their husbands did before us.

Stefan M. Freed, Elkridge

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