This spring of discontent should come as no surprise

3 CENTS WORTH

May 13, 1992|By Russ Mullaly

Lately, I've been disappointed and discouraged by the continuing racial incidents, stereotyping and insensitivity in the county. Now, after the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles and the accompanying violence, I'm even more depressed. As I said in previous columns, I feel the elements are present in the country for a repeat of the unrest of the '60s.

It seems like too many matters have been allowed to slide during the past 11 years, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. What's most depressing is that a number of whites still don't get it. They just don't understand what the anger is all about. Hey, folks, racism is still with us!

As far as this and other topics affecting our county, I will just lump them all together under the heading: Nobody asked me, but . . .

* Why does it always seem to take violence to get government or school officials to recognize an ongoing problem and take steps to do something about it? Is this the only way to get attention?

* Why is it that certain county residents want county services and yet don't want to pay for them? Or, on the other side of the coin, demand that services they don't happen to use be cut?

* Do people realize that a vote for billionaire Ross Perot will result in four more years of George Bush in the White House? Don't expect much to be done at the federal level if Bush is reelected, since he won't have to campaign again. The Los Angeles riots could be just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come over the next four years.

* Why do the people who contribute the most to the county, and the state, for that matter, and who have the most stressful and difficult jobs earn the least amount of money? People like social workers, who have to have at least a masters degree, start with one of the most ridiculously low salaries.

The most stressful job I ever had was as a "graveyard shift" crisis counselor at Grassroots. This was less than 10 years ago, and my salary at that time was just under $10,000.

* How stupid does Wal-Mart think county residents are? They say that their proposed Ellicott City stores do not constitute a regional shopping center and that shoppers would come mostly from Howard County. Right. The location is only a couple of miles from Baltimore County, and Interstate 70 is just around the corner. A coincidence, no doubt.

* I still don't understand why the county has a revenue problem when we're told the median county income is $60,000 and expensive homes are continuing to be built and sold here. Somebody must be doing some interesting tax sheltering. It sure isn't trickling down to the county government. Is the demand for county services that high?

* Why does it seem that persons who used to be employed by the public school system tend to turn their backs on it when they enter government office? There is a history of this in the county going back to the early '70s.

* And finally, nobody asked me, but can't we just try listening to each other to find out why people are angry about certain situations, and then try to do something about them, rather than perpetuating the same misunderstandings?

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