Save Our Cities March on Saturday
What caused the 1992 riots in Los Angeles and other cities?
It was not the outrageous, incredible, senseless acquittal of the cops who brutally beat Rodney King in a sickening spectacle the whole nation had watched on television. This violent act was not the cause but only the trigger that released the high explosives of frustration and resentment that we had packed into our inner cities through neglect, indifference and hostility while creating two societies, separate and unequal.
The combustible materials in our inner cities were poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, drugs, crime, children bearing children, foul housing, single parenthood, no parenthood and bleak despair.
The Kerner Commission 24 years ago cited the deep hostility between the police -- symbol of the majority -- and the African American community. The causes of that hostility were the same then as now.
The Sun has now proposed that another committee be established, of the most widely respected black mayors in the country, to "deliver a report by year's end."
The mayors have done better than investigating and issuing yet another report that repeats the revelations of earlier commissions.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors, believing that it is time for advocacy and action on facts that are too well known to need further belaboring, has scheduled a Save Our Cities, Save Our Children March on Washington for Saturday. It is endorsed by 80 organizations.
Baltimore's Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, one of the leaders of the march, does not need another inquiry.
He said recently:
"Like other large cities, Baltimore is suffering as a direct result of the cutbacks in federal support for urban areas. It is shocking that we now receive only 20 percent of the funds we received 10 years ago. Our needs certainly have not been cut 80 percent!"
Writing in The Christian Science Monitor, Lucia Mouat said this year's march may prove to be one of the most unusual and dramatic yet staged: "The nonpartisan demonstration will pit one level of government against another. The nation's mayors, impelled by what they see as a decade of steady neglect by Washington, are taking their case for a major shift in funding priorities directly to Congress and the White House."
The mayors have had enough of talking in committee. Now they are marching to petition the White House, the Congress and the people of the United States to pay attention to the plight of the cities and the children, and to redress the terrible grievances.
For bus schedules and other information, call Sister Katherine Corr at 342-7404.
Jack L. Levin
Since the legislature adjourned, we have witnessed stepped-up personal political attacks on our Republican legislators from Western Maryland in order to justify the tax increases supported by the majority party, which controls both houses.
An effort is being made to undermine the credibility of any vocal opposition, so that one political party can continue to control state spending with no questions asked by the loyal opposition.
The GOP has long argued in Annapolis that the upper-level bureaucracy of many state agencies is top-heavy, while at the same time the public was told that needed programs such as Medevac would be reduced or eliminated.
A concerted effort was made to scare the public, that if they didn't support tax increases they would lose essential services. At the same time, low-priority and luxury items were continued as usual.
From 1982 to 1992, state expenditures have more than doubled. Between 1980 and 1989, spending in Maryland increased 107 percent. The Baltimore light rail has had cost overruns in the millions.
The appetite must be curtailed so that new programs which we cannot afford are not started. Spending must be brought under control before raising taxes.
After all, Maryland is already rated as one of the highest tax states in the nation. After this new round of tax increases we will probably move up to number one.
Ellen Canzian's article (April 19) about David, the child lost in "the system," was an unfortunate but valid portrayal of the worst we can offer to children. It is, however, a shame that the media failed to cover a recent banquet sponsored by the Friends of Foster Care to recognize the achievements of foster care children.
In attendance were 32 motivated, hard working and responsible young people ranging in age from 8 to 21. They were surrounded by the social workers, foster parents and friends who care for them, as well as a proud mother working toward the return home of her teenage daughter. The excitement and joy electrified the room, instilling a sense of hope and optimism in both onlookers and winners.
A wonderful opportunity was missed by the media to support and recognize the children for whom the system does work.
Judith M. Schagrin