Green from the Purple and Black?
First of all, a late author was once quoted as saying, "We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are." Although it was terrible, what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, I'd have to concur with Joe MacLeod's statement, in which he said that we should stop and think about why the attacks occurred (The Mail, Nov. 6). We get so caught up in pointing the finger at each other that we don't really take the time to look within ourselves.
My second comment is about the Nov. 6 City Paper cover, which featured a young woman on the Mall in Washington, wearing a Viking helmet, holding up what I deemed a disturbing banner: BOMB TEXAS, THEY HAVE OIL TOO. Huh!?! I'm curious about what Texans, or the state itself, have ever done to the lady. Despite my advocating freedom of speech, expression, etc., such banners do not promote or support world peace. If the woman on the paper's cover visualizes world peace, then she sent a mixed message.
I'm a holdout. I balk at media conspiracy theories. There's no grand design, I insist to my pinko pals, just individual choices of editors and producers who all happen to think the same way. But then even I couldn't help but notice the unanimous lack of pictures of the anti-war protest, which I'd heard filled blocks upon blocks in D.C. Thanks for running Lauren Goodsmith's great photos ("Visualize World Peace," Nov. 6).
I was so glad to see the story "Visualize World Peace," and I especially loved the pictures of the people with the signs. Those signs stated the issues with wonderful acuity and succinctness. And I bow down to the genius who created the one using all big-oil names to convey her message. Incredible!
With regard to your recent column about the Gertrude Stein/David Bachrach house, perhaps I can add some helpful information (The Nose, Nov. 6)
The Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) currently has underway the acquisition of more than 150 vacant buildings and lots that are blighting the community in Reservoir Hill. For too long, derelict owners have failed to meet their legal obligations to repair their properties and make them habitable. This hurts the many good owners and other residents who are striving to create a strong neighborhood. The city and this community have taken a stand. This cannot be tolerated any longer. Utilizing revitalization funds granted by the state legislature in the past two years, and after a planning effort by the community, the city is focusing its efforts on gaining control of much of the vacant housing stock in this historic neighborhood by means of eminent domain. This acquisition effort includes the Stein/Bachrach house and it will, indeed, be offered for redevelopment.
We know many of the vacant houses are in very poor condition and have been vandalized or left open to the elements. However, we are not deterred and believe they can be reclaimed. On Saturday, Oct. 26, HCD held an open house offering the first six vacant buildings we had under our control. Although slated to begin at 10 a.m., by 9:30 in the morning, it was difficult to find a place to park as the first of more than 300 potential urban pioneers showed up, many from D.C. and the suburbs, to look at the housing opportunities in Reservoir Hill. At 1 p.m. when we shut the doors, we had to turn people away. The excitement this generated was palpable.
This turnout confirmed our feeling that there is a strong market for urban property with interesting architectural features and in a centrally located community with such wonderful community assets as Reservoir Hill has. Although in bad shape, through use of historic tax credits and other available rehabilitation financing, most of these properties can be brought back to life, including the Stein/Bachrach house. We intend to continue to offer property in Reservoir Hill for purchase and rehab proposals as we take title, and look forward to the day that the construction crews begin making these houses homes once again. Proposals for these first six houses are due by Dec. 9 to HCD. In the case of equally attractive proposals on any property, we may have to conduct a lottery to select someone to redevelop.
Additional housing development opportunities in Reservoir Hill can be expected to continue in the spring of next year. Persons interested in these opportunities can get additional information from the Baltimore City Web site (www. baltimorecity.gov), or by calling the HCD Office of Property Disposition at (410) 396-4109.
HCD Assistant Commissioner for Development
Taxes and Death
I appreciated Brian Morton's column "Land of the Free" (Political Animal, Nov. 6). As one who lives on $12,000 a year or less, tax breaks do me little good and Alan Greenspan's interest-rate cuts have so lowered any income from the few CDs I have that there is no hope from that source. One has to be destitute before anyone notices. And at the same time we have a gunslinger in the White House, sniping at any country he doesn't like with money we don't have, unless he robs Social Security and cuts aid to education, welfare, etc.
Was also glad to see City Councilman Kwame Abayomi's comments on U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone's plane crash (The Nose, Nov. 6). I was living in Missouri when Gov. Mel Carnahan's plane went down, so you can imagine how I feel about this one. Keep up the good work!
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