Budget cuts must include pork barrelAt a recent town hall...

the Forum

August 11, 1993

Budget cuts must include pork barrel

At a recent town hall meeting, Rep. Ben Cardin D-Md. and Budget Director Leon Panetta insisted that they support the spending cuts and new taxes recommended by the administration. They did not mention that Congress should repeal 747 pork-barrel projects that cost us billions of dollars.

Typical example: There is still a $128 million helium program which was begun about the time of World War I to use in blimps. Despite the fact that there is no need for it, it continues, and we have stored millions of dollars of useless helium.

Clinton and Gore plan to spend billions of dollars on space exploration and the super collider. Even if our taxes were tripled it would not be meaningful, unless we eliminate wasteful spending.

Just so long as political expediency outweighs principle, the average citizen will be forced to lower his standard of living. We cannot reduce the huge deficit without voluntary cooperation on the part of the various self-interest groups.

Joseph Lerner


Free spenders

When President Clinton and the Democratic Party are supposedly trying to cut spending, I wonder how many voters noticed that both Maryland senators voted to continue free "mass mailing" by the Senate.

It cost the taxpayers $11.5 million in 1992. These (political) mailings are from senators who blanket their states with postage-free "official business".

Voters beware. Our taxes are being increased, but our senators think nothing of wasting $11.5 million for their own benefit.

Vera Papa


Awaiting action

The Aug. 5 editorial, "Helping with high closing costs," properly recognized the significant problem of high real estate settlement costs for all potential Maryland homebuyers and the innovative pilot program being promulgated by the Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore to establish a closing loan fund for less expensive homes.

For several years, the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, the country's oldest real estate trade association, has been advocating lower settlement costs through legislative action by the Maryland General Assembly.

Unfortunately the General Assembly has taken little action on this important issue in the past several years. Therefore the initiatives such as those announced by Neighborhood Housing Services and recently implemented by Baltimore City are significant new developments in attacking a major deterrent to homeownership.

Perhaps in 1994, an election year, the Maryland General Assembly and local subdivisions will take more aggressive, positive action to reduce the continuing exorbitant real estate closing costs.

Permitting semi-annual payment of real estate taxes and reducing or eliminating local transfer taxes would go a long way to accomplish the objective of lower real estate closing costs.

Fletcher R. Hall


The writer is executive vice president, the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

Never called

I have been a registered voter in Baltimore County for at least 30 years. Part of each citizen's responsibility is to serve on jury duty when called. Why have I never been called?

Call the jury commissioner's office in Towson and you're told, "We don't take volunteers. It's a random selection." I feel this is a stupid joke! I have relatives and friends who have been "called" several times but never am I. People say the stipend costs them normal job pay, but I want to find out first hand what goes on as a juror.

I've asked lawyers how to get on a jury, and they tell me the have clients who offered them money to use power to have their names bypassed.

Why are people willing to do anything to shirk their taxpayers' responsibility and others, like myself cannot work on the side of the law?

Perhaps I should have my name removed as a voter? Or the powers that be should change the procedure for selecting jurors.

Harry I. Kleiman

Owings Mills

The courts are to blame

I beg to differ with Wiley A. Hall's August 5 column. He stated that the courts were not to blame in the baby Jessica battle. I say they were.

They did not stop for an instant and consider the child's needs. And they certainly took their time making decisions.

True, the DeBoers could have simply given the baby back at the first hint of trouble. Do you think they would have given Jessica to the Schmidts? No, she would have gone to foster home after foster home while this was settled.

Has anyone stopped to consider that the birth mother made a "reproductive choice" and the child's father changed her mind for her?

It was he who wanted the child back originally, not she. I wonder what he would have done if Cara Schmidt had had an abortion.

Adoption needs to be safe in America. It takes nine months to carry a baby full term, long enough to decide whether or not to put it up for adoption. Once the decision is made, it should be final.

Children need to be safe and loved. I'm sure it will be a long time until baby Jessica ever feels secure again.

Ginger B. Chiveral


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