Support National ServicePresident Clinton's National...


August 21, 1993

Support National Service

President Clinton's National Service bill, contrary to The Sun's editorial, is a well-constructed, cost-effective way to address real problems in our communities.

Young people not only provide needed services but they develop an ethic of citizenship which stays with them for the rest of their lives.

Members of the corps, for example, will return up to $2.88 in services to the community for every dollar spent. In addition, 80 percent of young people who are involved in youth corps continue to volunteer in the community, as compared to 54 percent of the general population.

This summer the Maryland Student Services Alliance operated two National Service demonstration projects (Civic Works and Summer Corps) for 75 participants. We brought together high school dropouts, college students and college graduates, city and county residents who worked shoulder to shoulder to solve real problems.

The participants in Civic Works served as teacher's aides and tutors at summer schools run by Southeast and Herring Run middle schools.

They helped build basketball courts and renovated the Herring Run Recreation Center. One team gave Madison Square Recreation Center its first coat of paint in 15 years. Other teams worked as health outreach educators with the Baltimore City Department of Health and cleared trails along Gwynn's Falls.

A Civic Works tutor, working one-on-one with a 13-year-old girl at Southeast Middle School, noticed that her student kept squinting every time she tried to read. The tutor discovered a solution to the student's reading problem that had escaped her parents and teachers: The girl needed glasses.

Summer Corps recruited over 80 high school and middle school students to work in the Governor's Mission Youth camps for urban children.

They taught substance abuse prevention, math and reading, good nutrition and used the Marylanders Against Handgun Control curriculum to develop conflict resolution skills. They also conducted stream clean-ups.

For far too long problems in our country have suffered from neglect, indifference and apathy. National Service offers a cadre of talented, trained and committed young people who will help rebuild our schools, address debilitating violence and preserve our environment.

Maryland has shown what young people can accomplish when given the chance.

It's time to support National Service and give ourselves this opportunity to make real and lasting improvements in our communities and in our country.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend


The writer is executive director of the Maryland Student Service Alliance.

Legalized Drugs

Recently the Baltimore chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has come out for the legalization of addictive drugs. Their position agrees with that of Kurt Schmoke, mayor of Baltimore.

Presumably, they believe such legalization will reduce drug-related crime, which has been plaguing Baltimore and environs. I believe a serious reality check is in order.

There are at least three things which militate against the success of such an undertaking:

1. How do they think the present (and future) violent users are going to get the money to buy the "legal" drugs? The same way they do now -- by robbery and murder. Unless these liberal thinkers follow their usual role of hitting the taxpaying public for the necessary funding of this group's drug habit.

2. How will the drug use of under-age youths be handled? The same way as it is now: by street dealers with the attendant violence by dealers and users alike that legalization is supposed to cure. I presume the proponents of legalization would not extend such legalization to this group.

3. I have heard on radio and the audio portion of TV and read in newspapers, including The Sun, and magazines that the largest segment of our population that use drugs is the white, middle and upper middle class. I really have a hard time visualizing this bunch going to their neighborhood legal drug outlet to satisfy their "recreational use" (their euphemism for "addiction") where they could be recognized by friends and neighbors.

The only solutions I see to the drug problem are: cut off all financial aid to those countries which are a source of drugs; shoot down every plane and blow up every boat or ship suspected of carrying drugs and identify every user in the paragraph above by name, address and place of employment.

I realize that my "solutions" would bring down upon my head the wrath of every bleeding-heart liberal that exists, particularly the American Civil Liberties Union. I believe it is long past due that the well being of our country and its communities supersede the "rights" of the lawbreaking elements of our society.

Incidentally, I am an American who happens to be a middle-class white.

George G. Gammie



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