Mr. Marenberg's say-anything approach hasn't played well among us, whether educated yuppies, Section 8 tenants, working-class families, or boho artists. None of us appreciates being treated with contempt.
In order to see that Remington is truly improved, and not just taken advantage of, we are raising the standards of what we expect of ourselves as well as our elected officials, city agencies, and incoming developers. We need our potential new neighbors to understand and respect this.
What? Lowly Remington demanding respect? Demanding that the rules are followed? And that the community occupies a prominent seat at the table? You better believe it. The word is out: If your act won't play in Homeland, Guilford, or Roland Park, please don't bank on opening it in Remington.
There is no division in Remington. The number of residents who have considered this project and refuse to support it outweigh those who do support it by such a large degree as to render the supporters statistically insignificant. The sides of this argument consist of Remington residents and the developer, Sandy Marenberg. Mr. Marenberg has also enlisted the help of a hired planner who has a loud voice in city planning, Al Barry. He would like you to think there are neighbors against neighbors, but it is simply not the case
I am sure Molly Rath tried to fairly relay information regarding the trouble we have had insisting that the lot in my backyard of 14 years be developed responsibly. But her article left many questions unanswered.
For instance, why did Mr. Marenberg start his presentations at community meetings by stating a desire to be a good corporate neighbor only later to show his lack of sincerity with threats of the Inferno nightclub's return and offers to sell his contract to anyone willing to buy him out at a profit?
Why is the Planning Department working so hard to push this project through? Why does Al Barry talk to the Planning Department and not to the neighborhood anymore? Why is he trying to push a project into this neighborhood that is totally out of scale and would overwhelm our block with people, cars, and traffic? How can he discount our community association and the neighborhood's residents with regard to what one city planning commissioner called "a massive building" and then commend his own neighborhood organization's "vigilance" when it goes after a Homeland resident who installed a copper roof on her garage?
Why are community members painted as being anti-development when we have issued an alternate development study listing numerous residential and commercial developments that would better integrate into the existing neighborhood? Why have we gotten no response from city officials concerning our study?
My most disheartening questions is: Why do residents, those most affected by what is built next to their properties, those whose homes are probably the largest investment in their lives, have such a hard time protecting them?
Carole French Schreck
Recording secretary, Remington Neighborhood Alliance
Barking at the Moon
In Jack Purdy's review of Eugene O'Neill's Moon for the Misbegotten at the Rep Stage, he suggests that the play fails because of what he considers its dated language (Stage, Oct. 31). Purdy goes on to suggest that the "sad, loving fatalism of this play will finally be realized" only if O'Neill's estate were to allow some "brave producer" to . . . change the play.
There are two assumptions implicit in this statement. The first is that O'Neill's slang somehow reduces the play and makes it unworthy of being performed. If that were the case, none of us would ever have heard of Shakespeare, but his language and his asking the big questions keeps us coming back. The same is true of O'Neill.
The second assumption is common, especially here in Baltimore: To save the play, we have to change it. If a play asks questions or presents problems that we are unable to immediately solve, we rush to edit, to amend, to rework, to "improve," as if the inadequacy were the play's instead of our own. Seeing or producing a play is a chance for us to grapple with these questions; that production, and each playgoer's experience of it, is our collective answer. If we choose simply to ignore the questions, why produce the play, and why see it?
The Great National Public Radio Scare brings out the worst on both ends of the paranoid spectrum (The Mail, Nov. 7). Marc Steiner frightens the self-righteous Left, who seem to be terrified of change, and the angry Right, who don't want more of the same. Pretty ironic, huh?
"You better free your mind instead," as the man sang. How about some local enthusiasm, encouragement, résumés, free exchange of ideas, and rolled-up sleeves ready to volunteer to work for our newly independent local edition of NPR, WYPR? Stop whining and get to work.
All We Are Saying . . .
As an anti-war activist and a protester of the genocidal sanctions against the Iraqi people, I appreciated Sandy Asirvatham's column "Patriot Games" (Underwhelmed, Oct. 17 ), which brought attention to Lewis Lapham's recent Harper's Magazine article "Drums Along the Potomac: New War, Old Music." Lapham nudged the flag aside enough to uncover a glimpse of U.S. foreign policy: "By choosing to support oppressive governments in the Middle East (in Saudi Arabia and Israel as well as in the United Arab Emirates, and, when it suited our purposes, in Iraq), we give people reason to think of America not as the land of the free and the home of the brave--a democratic republic to which they might attach their own hopes of political freedom and economic growth--but as a corpulent empire content to place the administration of its justice in the hands of brutal surrogates." It is a very bold statement considering the drift of these times.
Of course, a letter-writer was miffed by "Patriot Games": "America is not perfect. But we do much more good for this world than we do bad" (The Mail, Oct. 31). Such a Pollyannaish view ignores reality. As a member of the Baltimore Emergency Response Network (BERN), I have been arrested protesting U.S. involvement with death squads in many countries, including Chile, East Timor, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, the occupied territories, and South Africa. This latest adventure, bombing possibly the poorest country in the world, and surely the one with the largest concentration of land mines, has quagmire written all over it. George W. Bush might want to invite Pete Seeger to the White House to sing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy." No government can legitimately claim concern for innocent civilians while dropping bombs on a Red Cross facility in Afghanistan.
On another war front, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died as a result of economic sanctions. So each Friday, BERN members hold an anti-sanctions demonstration outside U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes' Baltimore office. Since Sept. 11, many more angry passersby have challenged our patriotism as we hold a banner reading feed the children of iraq, don't bomb them. To those who mock dissident points of view, I suggest you would better serve the memory of the Sept. 11 victims by challenging a government that is bombing Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vieques. Peace activists, just as disturbed by the terror attacks as anyone else, want justice, not a vengeful bombing campaign against a population unlucky enough to live under a Taliban dictatorship. Let us honor our dead by recognizing the terror attacks as crimes against humanity and prosecute, through an international tribunal, those responsible.
The End of Days
I read the story about George and his mother, Miss Pat, in City Paper ("Miss Pat and Georgie," Oct. 17). I must say how much this touched my heart. I moved in with my elderly parents to help them out. I am single and 54 years old. They are both in their late 70s. I am competent and have a job and I see how difficult it is for me. But I can drive, and if they need me for transportation--to go to the grocery store, the doctor, or whatever--I can help.
As they get on in years, it gets more difficult seeing them age and gain infirmities. What will happen to George when Miss Pat passes on? God only knows. Life can be cruel sometimes. My thoughts are with them.
Correction: Sorry to disappoint all you Kingpin fans, but it'll be Dennis Quaid playing Jaxx Nov. 17, not Randy Quaid, as reported in last week's In the Wings.
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