I am a resident of Baltimore, living on Boston Street in Canton. I pay $4,100 a year, or roughly $79 a week, in taxes. Unfortunately the around-the-clock grinding, groaning and speeding of 18-wheel trucks and empty flatbeds had convinced me to move back to the suburbs. The continuous assault of these trucks in a residential area is outrageous and has finally been addressed by the city.
The independent truckers to whom I have spoken all tell me they cut through the city to escape police inspection at the Francis Scott Key Tunnel toll booth as well as to avoid the tolls.
I would hope some compromise can emerge in the six-month trial period with the police and the truckers. The trucks have now moved north of Boston Street to other residential areas, assaulting the quality of life there.
I could not help but respond to Toni Odom's assertion (letter, March 29) that the "light rail system presents more problems than solutions."
The reason that "downtown traffic is already congested" is primarily the inundation of cities by the automobile, and the failure of the people to realize that they have been conned into accepting the automobile as a necessary form of transportation.
To see how public transportation functions to relieve congestion, one should visit most of the modern cities of Europe. In London an extensive underground network does a tremendous job of relieving congestion.
Here in Baltimore we are nearly a century behind in the construction of an adequate subway system. What with the huge costs involved in just building a few miles we cannot afford additional outlays -- not that there is even a source for such funds. Certainly the monies don't exist in the city, state or federal coffers.
My suggestion is to continue building more light rail networks. Certainly, such costs are within the realm of the possible.
Many of the rails of the old streetcar system exist, covered over by asphalt. Auto traffic should be prohibited within a certain area of the inner city, allowing only emergency vehicles.
I do not think that this is a step back in time. It is the most logical way to solve the congestion as well as the pollution created by the automobile. A step backward is to continue to rely on the auto for our transportation.
GOP Hard Work Deserves Praise
Shortly after the House of Delegates voted to saddle the taxpayers of Maryland with the biggest tax hike in history, winners and losers of the budget battle left the chamber upbeat. The folks who wanted the new taxes were elated because they had won the fight -- and by a larger margin than many had anticipated. Seventy-eight votes, Democrats all.
Those of us who fought against the tax increase knew we had given it our very best shot, had done the right thing and had represented the majority of our constituents. We knew, too, that we had just taken the defining vote of the year, if not the entire four-year term.
This year, Republicans worked diligently to make a difference in the budget process. When we realized that the summer study of Maryland tax policy was pointing us toward a Linowes-like tax package, we decided to provide an alternative.
We have no budget staff assigned to our caucus, so this was no easy task. Each member of the caucus chipped in to pay a retired budget analyst who was joined by volunteers with a wide variety of administrative and budgetary expertise. On January 16, we unveiled our plan.
In our proposal, we approached the budget from an entirely different perspective than that taken by the governor or the appropriations committee. Instead of basing our budget on a huge wish list and then "cutting" it back, we began at the current spending level in the revised fiscal year 1992 budget and increased it only where necessary.
The governor and the Democrat fiscal leaders chose to list what they wanted and then decided how to pay for it. The Republican budget was based on what we could afford without raising taxes. To say that this was a radical departure is an understatement.
So to have been characterized by a member of the House of Delegates leadership as not having been serious about cutting the budget, to be accused of favoring a sales tax break for diet dog food over poor children, was just infuriating.
The delegate knew better, the people knew better, and so does The Sun. We may disagree in our approach. We certainly have major philosophical differences. But to say we were never serious is a deliberate misstatement that cannot be allowed to stand.
Ellen R. Sauerbrey
The writer is the House minority leader.
Philip Berrigan, long-time peace activist, gets five years in prison for contempt of court.
Mike Tyson gets six years for rape.
Equal justice for all.
Laszlo R. Trazkovich
Mikulski and the National Guard
The Sun editors have criticized my support for Maryland National Guard units and challenged me to state my defense cutting preferences.