Source:  Baltimore Sun Sunspot

                    Letters to the editor

                    Action needed now to clean drug corners, unclog
                city's courts
                    Some in the complacent bureaucracy and judiciary, accustomed to
                    the well-meaning sloth of the city's prior regime, complain of Mayor
                    Martin O'Malley's impatience in hustling them forward on the linked
                    issues of crime and drug use.

                    One suggestion: Make them read and commit to memory Kurt
                    Streeter's article "Risking their lives to save their street (Feb. 27).

                    Let them learn the names Clayton Guyton, Elroy Christopher, Kelly
                    Brown, and Vincent Richardson; they are three heroes and one
                    heroine, at a time when such citizens are in short supply.

                    Their fearlessness, dedication, and sacrifice over long, desperate
                    years were critical in restoring to tenuous health just one of the
                    hundreds of poisoned blocks in our wounded city.

                    We are indebted to Mr. Streeter's recounting of their daily struggles;
                    his taut story was at once chilling and inspiring.

                    Thoughtful Baltimoreans lucky enough to live far different lives know,
                    as does as our young, energetic mayor, that the clock ticks. Not for
                    too much longer can there be a safe disconnect between the halves
                    of our divided town.

                    There are countless more corners like Rose and Ashland streets to
                    be reclaimed.

                    The mayor's hurry to do so is more than appropriate; it is critical to
                    our cherished city's survival.

                    Milton Bates

                    Why doesn't Judge Martha Rasin just "do it now" -- place a judge in
                    Central Booking starting next week ("Judiciary defended by Rasin,"
                    March 1)?

                    If she is as devoted to our city as she says, then let's see some action
                    on behalf of the citizens of Baltimore, now.

                    It's high time judges got over their dislike of evening, weekend and
                    holiday work.

                    Others who have devoted their lives to public service (health care
                    professionals, policemen, firemen) expect to work such hours. Why
                    not judges?

                    Susan W. Talbott

                    Bill mapping group homes is unfair to the disabled
                    I was appalled to read the bill introduced by Del. Tony Fulton that
                    would require the Maryland Office of Planning to prepare an annual
                    color-coded map of group homes in the state.

                    The goal is to ensure disabled individuals and others do not "unduly
                    interfere with the use and enjoyment of residential property" or
                    "unreasonably threaten the health and safety of residents."

                    Apparently, in Mr. Fulton's view, somewhere along the way, those
                    with disabilities lost the right to be residents.

                    Fortunately, the Supreme Court sees things differently, as evidenced
                    by its recent decision which affirmed the right of individuals with
                    disabilities to live in the community.

                    Legal experts who have reviewed the bill believe its intent violates
                    federal fair housing law. The bill should be rejected on that basis

                    Few among us can look within our families and not find someone
                    touched by disability. All these folks are asking is to be a part of the

                    Linda Raines
                    The writer is executive director of the Mental Health
                    Association of Maryland Inc.

                    We must do more, faster to help disaster victims
                    Watching the frantic efforts of flood victims in Mozambique to save
                    themselves and their children brought tears.

                    The sight of people clinging to rooftops, trees and floating debris,
                    finally weakening and losing their grip and slipping silently underwater
                    was overwhelming.

                    I, for one, have been shocked beyond measure and wish so much
                    that I could reach down and save just one child.

                    The demand by neighboring countries for payment before dispatching
                    help is surely the abyss of cruelty.

                    What has happened to our world that we stand by and watch what
                    was once merely a river now stretch to the horizon and swallow up a
                    nation's people?

                    As natural disasters of increasing magnitude occur around the world,
                    the incalculable wealth of industrialized nations should create the will
                    and means to develop well-equipped international instant response
                    rescue teams.

                    Henry L. Blum

                    County should stop overcrowding Timonium
                    As the past president of the Pot Spring Community Association in
                    Timonium, Maryland and a member of the Greater Timonium
                    Community Council, I would like to ask Baltimore County Executive
                    C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger to take a hard look at what has
                    transpired in Timonium over the past two years and call a
                    moratorium on more business-retail development.

                    We are saturated with strip shopping centers, new gas stations, car
                    dealerships and fast food restaurants, to say nothing of the Target
                    store to open in July 2000 on land that was owned by Baltimore
                    County and sold to the developer of this huge store.

                    We now have Home Depot, Office Depot, Sam's, Applebee's, the
                    Macaroni Grill; the list goes on and on.

                    To rub salt in the wound, a new huge Cinema Theatre, with a 1,000
                    car parking lot on Padonia Road, is being requested. What's wrong
                    with the Hoyt Cinema at Hunt Valley?

                    I must be dreaming, and it's not a pleasant dream. In fact, it's more
                    like a nightmare to travel York Road every day.

                    Margaret F. DiNardo

                    Religious conservatives stand up for our core values
                    I read with some amusement the column by Jack Germond and Jules
                    Witcover "Straight talk on the religious right" (OpinionCommentary,
                    March 1) As a Christian and a conservative, I would submit that
                    Sen. John McCain's opinion is no more "straight talk" than is that

                    Mr. Germond and Mr. Witcover's use of thinly-veiled, left-wing
                    pejoratives such as "extreme right," "fundamentalists" and "moral
                    absolutist" evokes visions of Biblical Neanderthals.

                    It seems they are using Republican campaign rhetoric to promote
                    their own narrow-minded campaign against those fearless Americans
                    who are not afraid to stand their ground.

                    People who are willing to fight for what they know to be true: That
                    human life is sacred; that we are all made in the image and likeness of
                    God; that we have been granted free will and are responsible for our
                    actions; that the traditional family is worth fighting for; and that this is
                    the greatest country on earth.

                    If those beliefs earn me the scorn of some, I will wear that scorn with

                    Joe Rooney
                    Tracy's Landing

                    In returning Gold Koran, Hopkins sets a good
                    Congratulations to Johns Hopkins University for doing the honorable
                    thing in releasing its portion of the Ninth Century Gold Koran to
                    Turkey, to be re-united with the remainder of that holy book of Islam
                    ("Sacred writings returned," Feb. 29).

                    As the article explains, museums and libraries are re-examining the
                    provenance of their holdings, and many "are returning objects to
                    descendants of their original owners or to countries of their origin."

                    Since the manuscript was written in the Arab world well before the
                    Seljuk Turks conquered what is present-day Iraq in 1055, the
                    honorable thing would be for Turkey now to return the book to its
                    rightful Arab owners, from whom it was taken.

                    Turkey should follow Johns Hopkins' exemplary gesture of genuine

                    Dean C. Lomis
                    Newark, Del.
                    The writer is director emeritus of the University of Delaware's
                    International Center.

                    Originally published on Mar 9 2000