Art of the CityIn his column of May 23, Barry Rascovar...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 07, 1993

Art of the City

In his column of May 23, Barry Rascovar complains that the citizens of the counties surrounding Baltimore are "ripping off the city" because Baltimore County can only find a "paltry $912,361" to contribute to the city for its cultural institutions.

In these times of budget and service cuts, these institutions should be grateful for any contribution and not complain about its size.

The "skimpy $97,650" that Baltimore County gave to the Baltimore Museum of Art would have been enough to keep open our local rec center, which was closed due to budget restraints.

Another portion of that "paltry $912,361" could have been used to keep open the many branches of the county library which have also been closed.

These institutions help give our children a total education, not just a cultural one.

Instead of being disgruntled because more county residents visit the BMA than city residents, perhaps the city should encourage more of its own residents to avail themselves of the opportunity to visit this and other cultural establishments. The BMA should be happy that they are getting over 300,000 area visitors per year and not be concerned with what zip code they are visiting from.

Mr. Rascovar suggests a sliding surcharge on county residents for all arts admissions, depending on what their county donates to the city for its cultural establishments.

Since he feels that all we have to offer are shopping malls, would it be fair for the county to charge a higher sales tax on people who live in the city but shop in the county?

Baltimore City already receives the lion's share of financial aid from state and federal taxes which are disbursed in this area. I believe that since some of my state and federal taxes are already being doled out to the city to keep it running, my county taxes should stay right where they came from.

Steven P. Strohmier

Dundalk

The Militia

Anti-gun activist Jane F. Caplan's attack against Americans' firearms rights (letter, May 19) held no surprises. With U.S. history, law, hard facts and public opinion opposing her extreme and peculiar views, Ms. Caplan had little choice but to rely upon the worn-out propaganda and hateful insults that have become the anti-gun crowd's trademark.

Her conspicuously vague reference to the "militia" failed to buttress her unsupported claim that federal courts have "consistently ruled" that individual Americans have no firearms rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She had reason to be vague about the militia and court decisions, however. Hard facts contradict her argument.

The Militia Act (1792) established as the militia the able-bodied male citizenry in the states. The Dick Act (1903) provided that "the militia shall consist of every able-bodied male citizen . . . more that 18 and less than 45 years of age."

In U.S. vs. Miller (1939), the Supreme Court noted that the militia comprise "all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense" using "arms supplied by themselves."

In U.S. vs. Verdugo-Urquidez (1990), the court observed that "the people" whose firearms rights are protected by the Second Amendment are the "people" whose other rights are protected by the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments -- "persons who are part of a national community."

Finally, Ms. Caplan's crude name-calling against the National Rifle Association -- whose 3.1 million members include U.S. presidents, senators, representatives and military heroes, as well police officers and other honorable Americans -- revealed a character as malicious as her attack upon "the right of the people to keep and bear arms."

Mark H. Overstreet

Washington

The writer is a research and information officer of the National Rifle Association.

Berger's Chutzpah

I'm writing about the May 22 article pertaining to the method of choosing personnel for Baltimore County schools.

I could barely finish reading the article because the red was clouding my vision.

Community input and parental involvement are interesting ideas. Advertising in out-of-town papers and flying "candidates" in at the expense of the Baltimore County school system is outrageous.

Dr. Berger has given a new definition to the word "chutzpah" when he spends the money taken from my paycheck and that of my colleagues to fly in people to be interviewed for positions that can be filled many times over by eminently qualified teachers and administrators right here.

The positions of principal and the supervisory jobs named are all important and highly sensitive ones. However, the jobs are not of the caliber that dictate the need for a national search.

Very few people have had experience running a school system, and a school board search is warranted, but many of my current colleagues in Baltimore County are trained, experienced and ready to move into other top leadership roles.

Where is our school board? Why are the members allowing funds to be used in this way? Someone needs to oversee responsibly Dr. Berger's fiscal priorities.

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