Give Charles Village Plan a ChanceAs a seven-year resident...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 09, 1994

Give Charles Village Plan a Chance

As a seven-year resident of Charles Village, I read with particular concern Grenville Whitman's Oct. 4 letter to The Sun, regarding our proposed benefits district.

My concern is that, like the literature he has circulated against the measure, his letter distorts and misrepresents the facts.

And that he is fomenting racial, ethnic, social and economic divisiveness in an effort to defeat a program that he testified in favor of in Annapolis.

The state and city supported the residents' program precisely because Charles Village is a neighborhood with "rowhouses and apartment buildings, quiet streets, and streets filled with traffic, blacks, whites andAsians, renters and owners, residents and business people, rich, middle-class and poor."

The benefits district is a program of inclusion, not exclusion. There is no elitism here, only a healthy concern for the neighborhood and city in which we make our home and our living, and a desire to make it a better place to work, live and raise a family. If it works here it can work elsewhere.

Unless Mr. Whitman is clairvoyant, he cannot know that the program will not work, just as those of us who support it cannot know that the program will work.

What we do know, however, is that the current system of relying on a financially strapped city government to provide basic safety and sanitation services is not working.

The streets and alleys are dirtier and more dangerous today then they were five years ago. If we do nothing, they will be dirtier and more dangerous five years from now.

Simply put, it is time to help ourselves, and in doing so help the city retain residents and businesses and maintain a viable tax base to support essential city services for all residents.

The program will not create another layer of quasi-public bureaucracy, as Mr. Whitman claims. Every dollar of the money raised through the assessment will come back to the Charles Village community to be administered by the residents of Charles Village and spent on the improvement of services in Charles Village.

The residents will elect the board to administer the funds and the program.

The board will answer to the citizens, and the citizens will have direct input into its decisions.

The legislation which authorized the program contains a three-year "sunset" provision.

Unless it is affirmatively renewed by the residents through a vote, the program will end automatically after three years.

By voting "yes," we are not signing on for a lifetime of assessments. Essentially, it is a three-year experiment to see if we can make a difference.

I urge all those eligible to vote to give the Charles Village benefits district program a chance.

It may be the only chance we have to make a difference in our neighborhood and our city.

Bruce D. Davis Jr.

Baltimore

Numbers, Please

I would like to hear Ellen Sauerbrey articulate details on two questions central to her campaign. The first involves the numbers behind her proposed state income tax decrease (6 percent per year for four years).

She must have defined how much less money this will make available each year at state level. Specifically, then, which services or programs would receive (or deserve) less funding, and by how much?

Even if it results in added business and sales tax income due to a healthier economy, which is historically speculative at best, the short-term still means less.

If lower income tax at the state level leads to increased county and property taxes, where's the advantage to the taxpayer?

When tried on the federal level it was called Reaganomics, and even its architects acknowledge additional burden fell to the states. Plus, there were cuts to programs for those living in poverty.

Educational, environmental and medical research opportunities lessened due to a shift in funding priorities. It's no secret benefits came mostly to the wealthy in our society.

This leads to my second question. What is Ms. Sauerbrey's definition of state government's purpose?

Some see it as a tool to legislate and fund services basic to the well-being of citizens, and provide a compensatory mechanism when more localized financing is not sufficient.

Others see less of a social contract, with poverty, hunger, education and the environment being more localized issues, and the state a partner with business because a healthy economy will cure the rest.

Her campaign seems to encourage less government except in regulating certain types of personal behavior.

In Reaganomics, corporate behavior was virtually ignored, the poor got poorer and the exhibitionism of a lowered tax came to mean higher bills when its spokesperson had gone.

Hugh T. Skelton

Baltimore

A Cheap Shot

The cartoon about Ellen Sauerbrey in The Sun Sept. 30 was not only utterly disgusting but also a most despicable cheap shot at an extremely competent candidate for governor of Maryland.

Yes, guns do kill people, but not without the culprits behind the guns pulling the triggers.

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