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Pro and Con

I just read Michael Corbin’s review of Eddie Conway’s book Marshall Law (“Prison Prose,” Feature, April 27), and congratulate you on it. It is an excellent and accurate review. I hope the book will help more people in this country understand both our history and the current reality of the glut of incarceration.

Laura Whitehorn

New York, NY

I know Edward Ericson Jr. We have engaged in casual conversations as one human being to another, seeing him as he walked his dog. But I am truly disappointed with his piece on Marshall “Eddie” Conway’s The Greatest Threat (“No Excuse,” Feature, April 27). I was expecting something more insightful, more respectful to both the Sager and Conway families. I was expecting information reflecting that we have gained something useful from this tragic period, some type of bridge to healing, not the same recycled media terminology of sensational emptiness.

The entrenched racism of this nation is more complex than apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany combined, with the residue of both failed nations now settling like acid rain in this country. How long can we remain in denial? As the author Inga Muscio has stated: “The truth is glaring, but in this country, the eyes of whites are wide shut.” And, by the way, Inga Muscio is so-called “white.”

I see racism everyday in the daily vitriol to dehumanize or belittle the very president of the United States. I see it every day in the most hi-tech, morphed, and subtly stereotypical ways we continue to deal with each other as humans of a color hierarchy, a color economy—evolved slavery. This invisible war has never gone away, and I do not see Marshall Conway looking for any excuses. And, in my opinion, he is no more of a “cop killer” than you would label any war veteran a “kraut killer,” “Jap killer,” “gook killer,” or “sand-nigger killer” for life.

I experience the Baltimore streets today. Some things have changed, but not truly for the better. Conway made a choice to stand against one of the most advanced systems of oppression this world has ever known, and yes, Ed, unlike Nelson Mandela, there may be no end to the price he has to pay. This may be that “mystifying viability” he has among the Left, and their lifelong nonviolent agitation may be in respect for him, disregarding any claims of “sophism,” or intimidation by a continual, brutal, consuming, duplicitous, deaf, dumb, and blind, racist/fascist/capitalist system.

Eric James, aka JahHannibal Abba-Ra


The Late, Great Mayor Schaefer

What in the world were you thinking when you published that ridiculous cartoon about the late great Mayor Schaefer (Static, April 27)? If you do not have any respect for his many accomplishments, at least have respect for the dead. I disagree with you when you say he personally did not care for the well-being of the citizens of Baltimore. The economic ventures and the Inner Harbor. Contrary to your slanderous {I believe you mean “libelous.” —ed.] cartoon, Mayor Schaefer had nothing to do with the Colts leaving Baltimore—the deal was already in the bag. Robert Irsay and developer Robert Welch already conducted negotiations in the dark with Mayor David Frick of Indianapolis.

The Franklin-Mulberry Street corridor was not a highway leading to nowhere; it was a business venture to provide a new way for the trucking industry to transport goods in and out of the city effectively in the morning and during the evening.

Mayor Schaefer and Kurt Schmoke have done more for the city of Baltimore than any of the previous or former mayors combined. If Schaefer was such a bad mayor, how was it possible for him to run the city from 1971 to 1987 and serve two terms as governor? He was most influential in the progress of the light rail system and the Camden Yards stadium. The neglected school system should not be blamed on Mr. Schaefer—the blame should be on lazy parents who send their kids to school not prepared intellectually, culturally, religiously, or not at all. Don’t hate on a great man.

Charles Washington


Negatively Positive

Thanks to City Paper for its “negativity.” In your April 27 issue, for example: Tom Chalkley’s cartoon strip on the dark side of Saint Willie Don, Smith’s interview with Eddie Conway (“Lifer Lessons,” Feature), and the Conway reviews by Edward Ericson Jr. (“No Excuse,” Feature) and Michael Corbin (“Prison Prose,” Feature), which, although not negative, explore the deeper, darker issues so important to the life of Baltimore.

We are every day so bombarded by the boosterism of this ad-addled society that these items are refreshing. From the sheer lunacy of chirping anchors and weather girls in the morning to the bloated stentorian anchors of the evening, the screaming negativism of a WBAL-AM radio host almost comes as a relief! But they too are crazy. You might say that WYPR-FM radio, with its “measured” tones, is a contrast. But no one looks beneath the surface (but you all), no one goes deeper, no one is righteously, honestly angry.

I attended a debate the other night at the Meyerhoff between Republican Karl Rove and Democrat Howard Dean, co-sponsored by WYPR. The audience actually laughed at Rove’s jokes and demurely listened to his money-making shtick.

Thankfully one old guy in a suit got up and yelled out, “No platform for war criminals”—a negative voice as the banquet continued.

Dave Eberhardt


Keep Left

The picture shows the bike lane on the right-hand side of St. Paul Street abruptly ending at Mount Royal Avenue, where traffic exiting the JFX merges onto Saint Paul (“Where the Bike Lanes End,” Feature, April 20). But perhaps the better choice would be to place the bike lane on the LEFT SIDE of St. Paul. That way the cyclist could avoid this hazardous traffic merge. Other advantages of a LEFT SIDE bike lane would be not having to deal with buses that are constantly pulling to the curb to drop off and pick up passengers. And drivers exit parked cars onto the sidewalk instead of the bike lane.

At the April 18 Bicycle Meeting at Johns Hopkins University, City Bicycle Planner Nate Evans indicated that he is leaning toward placing the bike lane on the left side of Maryland Avenue once the street is repaved. Why the left instead of the right? To avoid the hazard at Lafayette, where cyclist John Yates was killed by a right-turning tanker truck. Also to avoid conflicts at Franklin Street, where right turns are authorized from both the right-hand and right-center lanes. I look forward to the city carefully evaluating, when designing bike lanes, which side of a one-way street works best for bicyclists. Maryland law provides an exception, when operating on a one-way street, to our state’s general rule for cyclists to keep right. And other cities, like New York City, often have bike lanes on the left-hand side of a one-way street.

Lastly, a bike lane is no substitute for paying attention and evaluating whether to use the bike lane or roadway. Bike lanes work best when the road follows a stream, railroad track, freeway, etc., where right-hand turns aren’t authorized. Bike lanes are new to Baltimore, and motorists haven’t been instructed to slow down and merge into the bike lane behind the cyclist when preparing to make a right-hand turn. Consequently, bicyclists need to be alert. When a motor vehicle pulls beside you but doesn’t complete the pass or passes and slows down, WATCH OUT. The motorist may be preparing to make a right turn. The safest thing is for you to slow down, and when safe pull directly behind the motor vehicle, preparing to stop if the vehicle slows down further or turns right. And there are downhill bike lanes, where right-hand turns are authorized, that I leave the bike lane and use the regular traffic lanes. The University Parkway downhill bike lane north of 39th Street, where cyclist Nathan Krasnopoler was critically injured by a car turning right into Broadview Apartments driveway, is the tragic but classic example of why the bike lane isn’t always the safest place to ride.

Jeffrey Marks


Correction: City Paper contributing photographer Rarah received credit for last week’s cover photograph of the folks behind Rooms Play, but he did not receive a credit line for the photograph accompanying the story inside (“The Quest,” Stage, April 27), which he also took. Sorry about that.

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