Viable MarketMy letter to The Sun (Jan. 17) concerning the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 08, 1994

Viable Market

My letter to The Sun (Jan. 17) concerning the relationship between America's housing crisis and the underwriting policies of mortgage lenders was unfortunately interpreted by some readers as a blanket indictment of all banks.

The problems I described biases against small mortgage loans, low-income and self-employed persons, "non-traditional" household structures and individuals who lack conventional credit history are all too common in the mortgage banking industry, but not universal.

My organization has worked with Maryland National Bank, Signet Bank and the Bank of Baltimore to establish successful lending programs with flexible underwriting, below-market rates and other means of making homeownership accessible to lower-income households and first-time buyers.

First National, Provident Bank and a number of community-based S&Ls employ loan officers who have made flexible lending their specialty.

These lenders' experience proves that low-income people and communities offer a viable market for mortgage lending.

Some of these programs are already being expanded; all deserve to be emulated. Community reinvestment is every lender's responsibility.

Tom Chalkley

Baltimore

The writer is director, Maryland Alliance for Responsible Investment.

New MS Drug

Jonathan Bor's article Dec. 26 ("MS takes toll as patients wait for scarce new drug") refers to the side effects of Betaseron -- beta interferon. He wrote: "Safety studies have not identified serious side effects, although some people have experienced fever, loss of appetite and painful joints."

This description of interferon is totally misleading and incorrect.

Side effects can be serious and mimic the symptoms of severe flu. Perhaps the most disabling, to the point of interfering with work, is fatigue.

The Columbia woman who said that the year she will have to wait for the drug will give her time to gauge the side effects through the experiences of others is wise.

The only way to find out what the side effects of medications truly are is to ask patients who are taking them. Doctors always underestimate or downplay the side effects in order to promote drugs that they have discovered or are testing.

The cost of Betaseron also should be taken into consideration. It doesn't require much math to calculate the company's profits for 57,000 patients at $10,000 each per year.

Mr. Bor also should have pointed out that sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis, if it is effective, may have to take beta interferon for life. That, again, is totally unrealistic, not only because of side effects and cost but also because the drug has to be injected at least several times a week.

Melvin D. Reuber

Columbia

Our heroes

Heartfelt thanks to all the courageous, selfless people who faced challenges here and elsewhere to restore water to our homes and businesses.

Also, much appreciation for our mailman, Robert Eaddy, and his fellow workers, who braved the elements, subjecting themselves to falls and fractures. This on-foot delivery was as heroic as that of the pony express.

People in these two groups come under the heading of heroes. They should be given sincere commendation by their bosses and thanks from the recipients of their labor.

Doris M. Doetsch

Baltimore

Snow Woes

The editorial comment Jan. 24 regarding Baltimore County's snow woes is indicative of what we have become used to, thanks to Roger Hayden and his top brass.

In an attempt to retain the approval of so-called tax rebels, Mr. Hayden has again pinched pennies in all the wrong places.

Let's face it, nobody wants to pay higher taxes, but we want and certainly deserve thesame level of service we have had for years.

The conditions of Baltimore County roads were at their worst ever this past storm, due not only to poor supervision but also to lack of salt.

The idea of pay-as-we-go just doesn't work in government. If we want Baltimore County to remain an attractive place to live, it is imperative that we give Roger Hayden the boot come November, and make him and his cronies unemployed.

M. L. Smith

Parkville

Stick to Principle

"Three strikes and you're out" as a concept is too lenient. After a person is guilty of even one violent crime he should not get the opportunity to commit any more.

Due to a shortage of prison space, murderers, robbers and rapists serve only a fraction of their sentences. We must close the revolving door.

Decriminalization of drugs would encourage more addicts to enter clinics where they could be cured. That would reduce the prison population.

It is extremely expensive to carry out capital punishment. It also takes too long.

The red tape must be removed so it will be easier to enforce the death penalty.

"Three strikes and you're out" is based on the theory that political expediency outweighs principle.

Joseph Lerner

Baltimore

Elect School Board

As The Sun has chronicled in editorials and articles, throughout the land as well as in Maryland there has recently emerged a great controversy in the field of public education.

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