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Letters to the editor

June 23, 2003

Metzner: I back shelter, but at Franklin St. site

To the editor,

The recent articles regarding my position on REACH's cold-weather shelter have caused much discourse both in the media and on the streets. This public and private debate is healthy and appropriate. This debate needs however to be based on facts, not suppositions or assumptions. I offer the following facts:

I have supported REACH's cold- weather shelter from its inception. My wife and I have volunteered at the shelter every year and I have spent many overnights at the shelter.

My son, brother and sister-in-law have also volunteered. My house of worship has hosted the shelter for many years. This began when I was a member of its board of directors. I fully supported that decision.


I have supported in the past, support today and will support tomorrow REACH's prior public plans to have their shelter located in the old shoe factory in conjunction with Christ's Reformed Church located on West Franklin Street. This location is in the same block as my law offices, some 50 yards away. I do not object to it being in "my backyard."

I do not today and will not tomorrow support such a shelter in the central core of downtown, in a location not allowed by current zoning laws, within 300 yards of the public library, the Arts and Entertainment District, and the future high school for the arts. This is exactly where the City Council was informed that REACH was attempting to put its shelter. My response was then and is today that this is unacceptable.

For those who my question my compassion and knowledge regarding this issue I would note the following facts: I am a past member of the Board of Directors of the Community Free Clinic, former vice-president of Community Rescue Service, former member of the Board of Governors of the Maryland Chapter of the ACLU and have over 25 years experience as a criminal defense lawyer including the representation of hundreds if not thousands of indigent people during that time period.

Few people understand the disadvantaged, downtrodden and homeless population more than I do. Representing people with unpopular ideas and beliefs, and being an advocate for the poor and disadvantaged has been a part of my life since visiting my ACLU card-carrying grandmother as a child.

I do not shy away from debate or criticism. I encourage it, but please, let's deal with facts, not suppositions, assumptions or emotions.

Lewis C. Metzner


Unequal justice

To the editor:

Just recently, after much anticipation for a lot of readers, we read the outcome of Ron Bowers' trial for his D.W.I. and the wrecking of a state vehicle.

Someone please explain to the readers why the laws and punishments are so wide spread. It seems those who are less fortunate take the hardest blows when it comes to the punishments. Why does your influence in the community matter? If you break the law there should be a price to pay. Your public status or your race or even your wealth shouldn't matter.

Why can't there be one set punishment for the crime? I truly believe that people in the public eye should be more responsible for their actions. They should be setting standards for others.

Sports figures, actors and public officials break the law and walk. It seems to be a never-ending cycle. The public needs to speak up and stop thinking that it's just the way things are. If not that will surely be the way things remain. Someone tell us what lesson was learned here or better yet, what lesson Ron Bowers has learned.

Brian Lloyd


Fight not over

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the article on June 10 concerning the Lee statue at Antietam. The Historic District Commission of Washington County denied the owner of the property permission to erect the monument.

Mr. Chaney, the owner of the property, appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals and they overturned the HDC, not on historic grounds but on an alleged technicality. An appeal of that decision was filed by Save Historic Antietam Foundation on April 29 in the Circuit Court of Washington County.

This appeal is well-known to Chaney, who risks having to remove the monument should the decision be reversed. Chaney's "battle" over his inapprpriate monument is a long way from over.

Tom Clemens


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