Sen. Barbara Mikulski is delivering on a promise to solve this country's housing problems through support of a new $2 billion HOME program. The program will channel funds directly to state and local governments to finance homeownership and rental housing programs through partnerships with private, non-profit and other community organizations.
The HOME program squarely places responsibility on the community itself for the design, development, management and affordability of housing. This approach makes sensible use of each community's existing housing stock, foreclosed properties owned by the government, developable land and other resources. In Maryland, it means the flexibility to rehabilitate row houses in Baltimore city or build affordable single-family homes in Caroline County, whatever the community determines is most appropriate.
This month an appropriations conference committee on which Mikulski serves will decide whether HOME receives funding. Let's hope, for the sake of homeless people and working families who so desperately need livable, affordable housing, that Mikulski prevails.
James W. Rouse
Carl W. Struever
James Rouse is chairman of the Enterprise Foundation. Joseph McNeely is president of the Development Training Institute, and Carl W. Struever is president of a Baltimore real estate development and contracting firm.
Higher gas tax key to sound energy policy
Your July 19 editorial expressed concern for the harm done to the environment by automobiles. And a column by Robert
McConnell, titled "Strangled by the automobile" (Other Voices, Sept. 13), reiterated that theme. I agree with both articles.
A recent Wall Street Journal poll found that 27 percent of the respondents would accept a 25-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax as a means of encouraging conservation of gasoline.
I propose a tax of $2 per gallon on all gasoline and diesel fuel and an import fee on imported oil equal to 90 percent of the difference between $25 and the actual purchase price. This would reduce consumption by approximately 26 percent, plus raise enough money to offset a reduction in Social Security taxes from the present 7.65 percent of taxable wages to 2.65 percent of taxable wages.
If 27 percent of the Wall Street Journal's respondents were willing to accept a 25-cent-per-gallon gas tax, which would be all out of pocket, how many more would be willing to accept a larger tax that would be refunded in their weekly pay check?
Such a plan is the basis for a sound, workable and successful energy policy that will provide many other benefits as well.
Walter A. Schneckenburger
In response to the Sept. 13 letter from Loretta Ducote on the Baltimore County Council's consideration of a measure to extend protection from discrimination to gays: We are not asking for endorsement or acceptance of our lifestyle.
We know we are good people, respected and appreciated in our community. We are teachers, policemen, firefighters, grocery store clerks, nurses, doctors, security guards, salespeople. We live and work among you. We serve you in countless ways without standing out as homosexuals. Yet because we are homosexual, we are different from you; you are different from us, too. You take for granted that your job is secure, your place of residence is your choice, and that where you eat and sleep is safe and protected. Not so for us.
Our lifestyle is not an alternative for us. It is definitely not an alternative for you. The origin of homosexuality is as complicated as the origin of heterosexuality. You cannot be a homosexual, and we cannot be heterosexuals. Quite simply, we are the persons we are! We are equal.
Ducote uses a study [by biologist Simon LeVay, showing that homosexuality is genetic] to support her own a priori assumptions, then flippantly states that even the biologist himself accepts those assumptions. Bad logic, bad science.
It is time for equal rights and equal protections under the law for us all. Those who suggest we do not need them are the very ones who abridge them. As we are equal, let it be recognized and protected. Let us not judge on differences. Let us be aware of our mutual gifts and graces, equally protected.
Isn't it a misnomer to call Baltimore "Charm City'? With the proliferation of murders in the city, shouldn't it be renamed