November 20, 2008

City pursued charges against club owner

I commend The Baltimore Sun for reporting on the city liquor board's revocation of Ultralounge's license ("Liquor board revokes license of Mt. Vernon bottle club," Nov. 14). This is an example of what can be accomplished when local government and concerned citizens join forces.

Unfortunately, I must point to one factual error. The article states that "civil and criminal charges related to zoning violations have not been pursued" against club owner Sammy Hyun Paik. In fact, the Baltimore Housing Department's Code Enforcement Legal Section has aggressively pursued such charges.

In 2006, Mr. Paik was convicted of operating the club without a zoning permit and sentenced to 10 days in jail (with 10 days suspended), one year of probation and a $500 fine.

The city also pursued an injunction against him and an order was entered that shut the club down for more than a year before Mr. Paik and his partner reopened the space as a bottle club with proper zoning permits.

Paul T. Graziano, Baltimore

The writer is Baltimore's housing commissioner.

Will city schools get the same attention?

As a Bolton Hill resident, it pleases me to see the University of Baltimore and the Maryland Institute College of Art prosper ("Visions of new UB law building," Nov. 16). The planned new UB law building is sure to add to the aesthetics of the area, as its new student union building did and as MICA's Brown Center and new Gateway building have done.

I only wish that such excitement and revenues could be generated for work on Baltimore's public schools.

For instance, the Midtown Academy, a public charter school on Mount Royal right across from MICA, is housed in an aging, ill-equipped building without a library, an adequate gym playground or a cafeteria.

What do we need to do to have someone with resources like those available to Peter G. Angelos take notice of the city schools?

Caroline S. Ingles, Baltimore

The writer is chairwoman of the Resource Development Committee for the Midtown Academy.

Corporate bailouts wrong use of funds

What genius decided to begin bailing out companies ("Manufacturers make case for $25 billion in U.S. aid," Nov. 19)?

Here are my questions to our representatives: What companies are too big to fail? When and where does it end? And how about bailing out taxpayers instead of companies?

We bail out some companies and let others fail. Let's stop spending taxpayers' money on this black hole and spend the money on:

* Rebuilding the infrastructure of America.

* Providing medicine and free doctor's visits to every American over age 65.

* Giving our soldiers the best care and support in the world.

* Ending our dependence on fossil fuels by building a state-of-the-art railroad system that is fast and efficient.

Washington needs to stop talking and start acting for all Americans.

David J. Jaffa, West Friendship

Don't blame market for financial mess

I keep reading that the current economic crisis is a result of the lack of regulation of the free market. That is a fallacy ("Government shifts focus of bailout," Nov. 13).

The crisis is the result of government interference in the free market, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guaranteeing, at the behest of people such as Rep. Barney Frank, loan programs that were preposterous - ones no lender in its right mind would have offered without those guarantees.

Thomas F. McDonough, Towson

Overlooking damage that statins can do

I am shocked that those in the medical profession who are calling for the widespread use of statins to reduce heart problems seem not to mention their side effects ("Statin drugs show wider heart benefit, study finds," Nov. 10).

Many of us with high cholesterol have tried them and suffered a variety of discomforts that have led us to stop using the drugs.

Statins are enormous money-makers for the drug companies, which are hardly eager to reveal that as these drugs reduce cholesterol, they can produce negative side effects.

To urge healthy people to use these drugs is unconscionable.

Janet Heller, Baltimore

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