O U R R E A D E R S W R I T E
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I read "Biotech Park to Fight Blight" [June, p. 20] with great interest. Like Rev. Johnny Golden, mentioned in the article, I also wonder how Johns Hopkins and the City of Baltimore plan to "transform" the East Baltimore neighborhood into a research and corporate haven without gentrifying it.
In fact, the last paragraph of this article reads, "a biotech research park would create demand for housing starting at $115,000 in a neighborhood where houses now sell for a fraction of that price." This seems like a plan for gentrification to me, leaving the concerns of Rev. Golden and many residents in the neighborhood ignored. I was hoping for something more enlightened from a scheme concocted in the boardrooms of my alma mater. Are my dreams too fantastic?
As an undergraduate in Baltimore I was a community organizer with the Student Labor Action Committee (SLAC) on campus and with groups like the Association of Communities Organizing for Reform Now (ACORN) off campus. I know that residents, community leaders, students, faculty, and fellow alumni are wondering whether some of the estimated 8,000 jobs associated with building a new biotech park will be permanent or temporary, and whether such jobs pay mere minimum wages or living wages. Though this should come as no surprise, many of the residents living in poverty in East Baltimore actually work for Hopkins. There is a certain arrogance that comes with believing that Hopkins is the last savior of a community facing problems that are partly historic, structural, and caused by other social agents. It is ironic to have such an attitude when Hopkins may be aggravating the problem by institutionalizing poverty rather than ending it.
Now, as a medical student in Pittsburgh, I am all the more troubled by the fact that big university hospitals, which originated with a mission to serve communities, end up dictating their future for them.
Hence, let us take the opportunity this article gave us to think critically about whether Hopkins plans to transform the conditions in which the current residents live -- conditions that [Hopkins] helped create -- or just transform the demographics of the neighborhood.
In other words, will Hopkins now be a part of the solution
or still be a part of the problem?
Darrell Strobel, Hopkins professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Astronomy, wrote to let us know that "Patches of Insight" (June 2002), which proudly touted Hopkins astronomers' contributions to no fewer than 10 space shuttle missions, had missed a space shuttle flight with significant Hopkins input.
Strobel, who jokingly notes that he can sometimes be "hard to find" because of his joint appointments, was co-investigator on a project that flew into space aboard Atlantis on November 3, 1994 (mission number STS-66). Astronauts put the project, known as the Middle Atmosphere High Resolution Spectrograph Investigation, or MAHRSI, into orbit around the Earth for eight days on a science platform, and then retrieved it.
Strobel reports that MAHRSI's observations proved to planetary scientists that they didn't understand the mesosphere, the middle layer of Earth's atmosphere, "anywhere near as well as we thought we did!" MAHRSI would fly into space again aboard Discovery in August 1997 (STS-85), but Strobel reports that by that time his former student Michael Stevens had become more actively involved in MAHRSI and his own role was somewhat peripheral. NASA has mission patches and summaries for both flights online on its Space Shuttle Launches page, which can be found at www.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/missions.html.
What a delight to discover a picture of my old friend, the
Sidney Lanier statue, in the June issue
Statues"]. As a youngster in the 1940s, I'd get off the
bus and climb onto Sidney's lap before making my way to
classes at the Children's Educational Theatre, held in a
converted barn on campus. The picture brought back pleasant
memories of the theater and of its director, Frances Cary
I was delighted to see
"Remembering Life at 'Hernia Bay'" in your June issue
[p. 67], which mentioned my new book Hernia Bay: Sydney's
Wartime Hospitals at Riverwood. The full history of the
Johns Hopkins Hospital [at Herne Bay] is told in the book,
which is 208 pages and has 165 illustrations. For readers
who might like to purchase a copy, the cost is $23 (U.S.
currency), including packing, postage (Economy Air), and
currency exchange. Checks must be payable to Canterbury and
District Historical Society. Orders can be sent to me, Mr.
Brian Madden, 19 Marcella Street, Kingsgrove, NSW 2208,
Australia. My e-mail address is:
Author, Hernia Bay
I am sorry to have to take exception to the comments of my esteemed classmate, Isabella N. Aldon, concerning the Pithotomy Club [June, p. 7].
One of the reasons I became a Pithotomist in 1947 was that, unlike at some of the other clubs along North Broadway, Jewish students were always welcomed. At least one of our Jewish classmates was a Pithotomist, and I can count more from other classes.
As for admitting women, in my three years of Pithotomy
recruiting, I don't recall that any female student ever
presented herself for consideration. But then, no male
student was ever invited to join the ladies at the women's
residence either. Those were different days.
As a longtime reader of the magazine, I read with interest
Gratitude" [Editor's Note, June]. The second item was
for the not-so-eagle-eyed having difficulty reading stories
with the type reversed on a colorful background. Did you
write this after the designers put together the very first
article on the previous page, "The Big Question"? A
suggestion: If you must use these "clever" design
techniques, use a serif typeface and up it a type size.
Otherwise, my husband and I very much enjoy the
In your April issue, I see that one of your readers is extremely unhappy with any reference to a Republican officeholder [Letters, p. 7]. Never mind that the gentleman involved was elected mayor of New York, and is a multibillionaire, due entirely to his own honest efforts, and has recently been a major contributor to Johns Hopkins. A lot of us would be very happy to have achieved a fraction of what Mike Bloomberg has achieved, and we are damned proud that we went to school with him.
Not everyone who went to Hopkins is a Democrat. The rest of
us can handle an occasional article about a prominent
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