Inherited Housing ProblemsStop blaming Mayor Kurt Schmoke...


February 15, 1993

Inherited Housing Problems

Stop blaming Mayor Kurt Schmoke and Housing Commissioner Robert Hearn for the city's housing problems. It is time for The Sun and the public at large (myself included) to assume responsibility for these problems as well as the related issues of economic and social depression.

Introduced in the 1930s, public housing was a federal program designed to house the poor on a temporary basis -- until severely depressed times improved and people were back on their own.

The program did not work. Subsequent welfare laws were structured to keep families unwed, unemployed and dependent

upon a well entrenched bureaucracy concerned primarily with creating a demand for its own services.

Public housing "units" grew in numbers as deleterious as the federal regulations governing them -- where emphasis was placed on the lowest bid for the starkest design in the least desirable neighborhood.

Blight added to blight. They were warehouse utilitarian, possibly for storage but certainly not for healthy living.

By the 1950s, when Lexington Terrace was built, it was well documented in federal studies and in the "halls of common sense" that high rises for poor families made no sense.

But they were built anyway -- because federal dollars paid for them, giving always politically correct jobs and profits to construction companies which had no vested interest in the longevity of their structures.

Forty years later, the harshness of reality is even worse than the original concept: 2,300 people warehoused; average family incomes of $6,000 a year with little hope for improvement; drugs; crime; HUD regulations restricting necessary changes; insufficient funds, massive problems crying for transfiguration.

And you see fit to point the finger of blame at the mayor and the housing commissioner?

The Schmoke administration inherited housing problems created by over 40 years of greed of government, private enterprise and the public.

Improvement is only possible if the three will now come together to undo the past and recreate quality homes and living for all.

Kathleen McDonald


Political Gain

Maryland is the only state in the nation that allows lawmakers to use tax dollars to gain political goodwill by personally selecting constituents for state scholarships.

Common Cause of Maryland found that over 1,200 recipients of senatorial scholarships in 1989 and 1990 had no financial need, as determined by the state.

I applaud Common Cause's efforts to protect our tax dollars and urge our state officials to support its effort to reform this outdated practice.

Maryland already has a State Scholarship Administration that could easily take over the appropriate distribution of these scholarships and give our legislators more time to work on pressing state issues instead of their re-election.

Walter R. Hayes Jr.


Sheer Hypocrisy

I would like to thank all the people who have played the various state-sanctioned numbers games and thereby reduced

my tax burden over the years.

I would also like to thank The Sun for its comments and editorials against this regressive tax. It is a voice in the wilderness.

If this sounds contradictory, then consider this: It is sheer hypocrisy for the state of Maryland to encourage this vice collectively yet imprison those who operate it privately.

Will we ever learn?

J. Edmond Guy


Aid to Fat Cats

Isn't there something wrong here?

Feb. 1 Sun:

Front Page -- Social Security and entitlement programs must be scaled back, etc.

Page 7A -- Congress "quietly" bails out George Steinbrenner's family-owned shipbuilding company to the tune of $58 million.

Get the picture?

We poor peons will have to pull our belts in a little tighter. For fat cats, business as usual.

Marilyn Clark


It's Not Genocide

In the latest debate over the provision of Norplant to inner city minors, the word "genocide" has been bandied about carelessly by prominent black males.

For any survivor of real genocide, talking about responsible family planning in the same breath must go down rather hard.

Genocide is not birth control. Genocide is a whole generation of young girls pregnant before they even understand what is happening to them, giving birth to human beings who are treated with less respect than most people would have for an animal.

Genocide is abortion. Genocide is babies in dumpsters. It is babies born with drug addictions and preventable malformations. . .

Genocide covers the victims of those young men so unwanted and uncared for that they learn to survive and flourish by killing other members of the human family.

All of a sudden there is a "great concern" by Councilman Carl Stokes about "irregular bleeding" that may occur in some women as a result of Norplant.

But there's a lot of irregular bleeding he can't be bothered with. What about the irregular bleeding from gunshot wounds and muggings?

What about the irregular bleeding from a 14-year-old girl still in the stages of adolescence having babies with little or no pre-natal care?

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