Bay's problems well-known;action needed
Much as I hate to say it, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's recent report on the state of the bay presents nothing new. The bay continues its decline, for reasons that are very well known: sprawling development, rampant pollution and seemingly unstoppable agricultural runoff.
The trick isn't in identifying these problems; it is getting our elected officials to actually do something about them. The last session of the General Assembly declined to take action on sprawl development, stream buffer protection and stricter automobile air pollution controls.
Indeed, until our leaders take action, the bay foundation can continue to issue the same report every year. And until something is done, the Abell Foundation, which funded the study, can save its money.
Terry J. Harris
Joan Jacobson is writing very interesting articles about housing in Baltimore city. Unfortunately, they are raising more unanswered questions.
In her interview with Housing Commissioner Robert W. Hearn, the answer seems to be that Republican administrations have reduced the funding of new homes for the poor drastically and in turn have decided to renovate existing homes.
The logic is good. Why abandon a house which can be renovated?
What percentage of the $22 million a year mentioned in the article is going to renovation? What portion is going to enforce housing regulations to prevent further decay?
The article states that in 1979 there were 65,000 low-income rental units in the city. In 1987 there were 44,500. In eight years 20,500 units - 32 percent- disappeared? Where did they go? Even the best magician would have a problem making that many housing units disappear.
Should federal taxpayers in Fresno, Calif., Lancaster, Pa., etc. be expected to have their tax dollars sent to Baltimore to replace lost houses? The answer is not in federal tax money. Hearn's interview seems to prove this hasn't worked.
The city must enforce its housing code if Baltimore is to return to being the jewel of the Chesapeake for housing as well as it is for entertainment and culture.
Charles D. Connelly
Slap on wrist
A recent "Pausing With Pets" column concerned a woman who was arrested for animal abuse. This woman was observed by her neighbor pouring scalding water on a miniature poodle who was helplessly trapped in a wooden crate.
The neighbor could hear the screams of this pitiful little creature and called 911. The woman went back inside to get more scalding water and proceeded to do the same thing again. By this time the neighbor was in touch with 911 and held the phone out the window so that the anguished screams of this defenseless little animal could be heard.
The poodle's name was Burnie, and although police officers, veterinarians and animal shelter employees tried to help him, Burnie died. The woman was sentenced to 90 days and 200 hours of community service.
As if this sentence were not enough insult in itself, the judge went on to suspend the 90 days and put her on 18 months of probation. The 200 hours of community service is to be performed in the Baltimore Zoo, of all places!
I really believe we should start taking these crimes of animal abuse more seriously and hand down far stricter penalties for these offenses. If the laws are the problem, then let's get them changed.
I cannot bear to think about the pain, fear and suffering that poor little animal must have experienced, and I am appalled and outraged that someone who commits such a monstrous act can be punished with no more than a slap on the wrist.
Doris J. Tallman
Feeling the heat
The City Council's recent plans to out the property tax rate by 5 cents is truly comic. Here it is, an election year, and all those incumbents downtown are feeling the heat. They must think the citizens of this city are daft if they believe their little token idea of a tax reduction will get them re-elected.
The 5-cent cut amounts to a less than a 1 percent reduction in the city's inflated property tax rate. This will not be met with joy by the hard-working homeowners of this city, but by indignation. The whole plan is an insult. What they need is a true cut in the property tax, say 10 to 15 percent. Add to that a policy of realistic assessments, as opposed to the standard pompously inflated ones we presently suffer. Maybe then people will stop leaving in droves. That may even prompt people to return, bringing new revenues and life to this failing city.
Unfortunately, I do not envision this happening with the lot we presently have in power. It's time for a clean start. Come election day, we should vote these bozos out.
For the Birds?
Despite his endorsement by Stan "The Fan" Charles, I cannot imagine Mr. Weinglass as owner of the Orioles. He would be perfect as a patron of the BSO or Center Stage. But for them Birds, gimme a guy named Biermug!