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Patterson Parked

Posted 12/14/2005

Nice to see a feature on what’s doing along Patterson Park (“Patterson Park Place,” Dec. 7). Better yet, inspiring to see some sympathetic coverage of the impact of urban removal on the lives of the less privileged. The observation that most of the children recruited for various programs/beautification projects have been displaced farther north of the park is just creepy. Being of the muttering class, I have often muttered to myself, “Wonderful job on the mural, kid, or the crab or whatever, now get out of the neighborhood.” Nice.

Also, I take exception to the notion that during the 1990s, until more recently, a trip to the corner store along the park was an enormous gamble, the path littered with miscreants and murder. Certainly there were some unsavory types lingering about, but I always viewed them as a curious way to assure that those who settled here were not mere spectators. Spectators are just about all we have now. Most unsettling, most of the newly arrived use the veil of broad public good while exclusively pursuing the interests of the affluent. For the time being, my neighbors still consist of people who make our sandwiches at Attman’s, work at the post office, or fight fires—this arrangement is tenuous, as the assault on genuine urban values continues by those seemingly unburdened by issues of race and class. In the end, we have an environment unsettlingly like the suburban one we are supposed to have left behind.

Christopher Hammersla
Baltimore

Writing Wrongs

True story, two weeks ago: My boyfriend asked, “Are you going to answer the writing contest?” (“Fiction and Poetry Contest Winners,” Nov. 30)

“No way,” I said. “Every year the winning story is about depressed semiconscious people sitting around and talking. Two years ago some couple was sitting in a diner and last year it was about some guy sitting around playing chess. I mean, like, where are they going to be sitting and talking this year? If I had to sit around writing about people sitting around I would kill myself.”

So, two weeks later, wow, a bar (“The 7-Year-Old Lush”)! I had my money on a bus station, but that’s even grittier! Add a kid—extra poignant! I wait with baited breath to find out the (dismal, proletarian) location of next year’s sitting-and-talking-yet-not-making-a-connection-frailty-of-human-intimacy-and-connections winning story.

Marcie Jones
Baltimore

The writer is co-author of two books: Great Expectations: Your All in One Resource for Pregnancy and Childbirth and Great Expectations Pregnancy Journal and Planner.

If this is the best that Baltimore has to offer, could you at least eliminate the glaring grammatical errors in the first-place winner? Incorrect grammar is, frankly, just unnecessary.

As for the rest, third place was the only well-written piece in the whole bunch.

Come on, Baltimore! You’ve produced many excellent writers. Where are they?

Sally Kahn
Baltimore

Editor Lee Gardner responds: Having been blasted by disgruntled Fiction and Poetry Contest winners in past for correcting what we perceived as “errors” in their work, we edit the selections that appear in the paper with a very light hand.

Hunger Management

I am furious that the city is taking one more shot at the homeless (“Eating Disorder,” Quick and Dirty, Nov. 30). Funding seems to be available for fluff projects—but not practical needs for the hungry. I have done missions for the hungry; it was the most humbling, important thing I’ve experienced to date. To stop private citizens who attempt to do what the city can’t or won’t is a disgrace. Now they pay for a search for a new image slogan. How about: “The City That Starves the Poor”?

Cindi Trout
Millersville

No Trouble in Paradise?

Your Murder Ink column in the Nov. 30 issue incorrectly stated that a murder was committed on Eierman Avenue in Arcadia. Eierman Avenue is not in Arcadia. This is most likely not the fault of City Paper, since the Baltimore Police Department database incorrectly lists Eierman Avenue as being in Arcadia. Crime statistics for Arcadia are negatively skewed due to inclusion of a few streets that are not actually in Arcadia. Arcadia is a very safe area and a wonderful place to live.

Steve Raskin
President, Arcadia Improvement Association
Baltimore

Anna Ditkoff responds: The block where that victim was killed is on the line between Arcadia and another neighborhood on the official Baltimore City Neighborhoods map, which we use to make all neighborhood designations in Murder Ink.

Don’t Shrink This Modern World

What are you doing with one of the best parts of City Paper? Why is This Modern World getting smaller and smaller (I can barely read it these days), and why is it being placed in increasingly more obscure parts of the paper?

This cartoon is one of the most sophisticated, witty, and intelligent political cartoons appearing in U.S. papers today. I still have posted up in my office some of the cartoons that appeared after the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision. And the recent ones on the right-wing media spin machine are just brilliant. Give this guy some respect. The cartoon is the first thing I look for when I pick up my copy of CP. Please restore it to its former prominence.

Sherrilyn Ifill
Baltimore

Lee Gardner responds: The size of This Modern World as it runs in the paper is up to the weekly vagaries of the paper’s size and the Baltimore Weekly calendar layout, complicated by TMW’s shape (square, rather than a strip or rectangle). The art department is under instructions to make it as big as possible every week; every week, they do their best.

Editor’s note: Death takes no holiday, but Murder Ink is taking this week off. It will return next Wednesday with an installment covering two weeks.

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