Landers and the container tax controversyOn Dec. 31, the...

the Forum

November 07, 1990|By Patrick E. Nason

Landers and the container tax controversy

On Dec. 31, the container tax will end in Baltimore County. City Councilman Jody Landers has proposed to end the tax in the city as well so that businesses near the city line will not be adversely affected.

Amazingly, the response from some city officials has been that nothing should have been proposed because they are under no pressure at this time to make a change!

Jody was one of the very few who worked to push the original bill through the City Council so that employees could be saved, the environment protected and our property taxes reduced.

Have we learned nothing from the recent budget bickering in Washington and allegations that the "Keating Five" delayed investigations into the S&L outrage? Are we always going to stick our heads in the sand until a problem turns into a crisis?

Now that the county is ending its tax, we need to look into responsible ways to phase out the city's container tax so that consumers, recipients of city services and businesses are protected.

We also have to work with the county and the state to find alternatives to this measure.

Walter R. Hayes Jr.

The writer is a part-time assistant to Councilman Landers.

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I am thoroughly confused by the negative reactions of the City Council to Councilman Jody Landers' proposal to end the container tax.

Landers seems to be steering the correct course in reacting to Baltimore County's repeal of the bottle tax.

Unless the council acts, thousands of city residents will cross into the country to make their purchases, forcing many city businesses to curtail their operations or fold.

Let's hope that Baltimore County and Baltimore city can come up with a common agenda to tie the elimination of this tax with a substitute levy that would not single out the beverage industry.

This is not a "voodoo measure" as Councilwoman Jacqueline McLean termed Landers' proposal. It is a sound policy to protect the economic viability of merchants who serve the residents of our city. We need to find alternative sources of funds instead of continuing to pile one tax atop another on the shoulders of "taxed to the hilt" Baltimore city residents.

Lance Berkowitz


Accountability plan

As an educator in the Baltimore County schools, I have been carefully reading your recent articles regarding the Maryland state performance program.

One of the plan's primary assumptions is that "all children will learn." In Baltimore County, learning has always been a joint effort between the school, the parent and the child. The plan seems to place the entire responsibility on the school.

The plan also envisions issuing a "report card" for each school. In Maryland's countywide systems, curriculum is implemented regardless of variations in school populations, making individual schools accountable for curricula over which they had little, if any, input and which may be of limited appropriateness for their students. How can a school be held responsible under this system?

Clearly, if the plan is implemented, each school staff must have considerable on-site decision-making power regarding the instructional program and its implementation. Only then could its staff reasonably be held accountable if the school failed to meet standards.

David M. Clements Jr.


Choice terms

The terms "pro-choice" and "anti-choice" are the best labels to use in describing the procreation controversy. I call it the procreation controversy rather than the abortion controversy because the issues involved are broader than those based solely on abortion.

"Pro-choice" means freedom of choice among alternatives in all procreative decisions: whether to have a child, what type of birth control to use; whether to raise the child from an unwanted pregnancy or give it up for adoption, etc. Since all procreative decisions have moral dimensions, pro-choice also means freedom to exercise one's moral authority in making decisions. Pro-choice in this sense means that no one has the authority to make moral choices for anyone else in procreative decisions.

This freedom of choice is analogous to freedom of speech, at least in one way. One can support freedom of speech without necessarily condoning the contents of the speech. In the same way, one can support freedom of choice without necessarily condoning the particular choice made.

"Anti-choice" means precisely that: Against freedom of choice in procreative decisions. The anti-choice side would reduce the number of alternatives and narrow or prohibit choice altogether.

Those on the anti-choice side would impose their moral beliefs upon others by using the power of the government through restrictive and prohibitive laws. They would definitely restrict the exercise of others' moral authority and conscience.

Dan Bridgewater


What a mess

My only regret is that I'm so late in sounding off about President Bush and Congress.

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