Tax District MythsCharles Village and downtown merchants...


April 13, 1995

Tax District Myths

Charles Village and downtown merchants have voted to pay more taxes for additional cleaning and police. Mount Vernon and Bolton Hill are considering a similar tax-benefit proposal.

Proponents say a benefits district will solve problems. Opponents say it will cause problems and that the supporters are tax vigilantes. It's time for a reality test.

1. Benefits districts (BDs) are new. Fact: BDs were common in 19th century European cities. Their inefficiencies and corruption led to the unified city governments we have today.

2. BDs will empower citizens. Fact: BDs will involve the same politics and patronage as the existing city political machine.

3. BDs will help a city. Fact: By relieving pressure to provide services, BDs will allow a city to perform at an even lower level.

4. BDs will retain basic city services. Fact: Baseline services cannot be accurately measured because they continually change.

Moreover, services are measured by input standards, which cannot guarantee efficiency or effectiveness. For example, recent news stories showed neighborhood clean-up crews doing nothing.

5. BDs provide accountability. Fact: Wrong. Who will you blame when services fall or crime increases, the baseline service or the BDs services? Both? Neither?

6. BDs will attract middle class homeowners. Fact: Homeowners are attracted by low taxes and good schools.

7. BDs work. Fact: Wrong. See Myth 1 above.

8. BDs will decrease the need for private security forces. Fact: People use private security for escort and guard services. Additional police, even if they are provided, cannot provide these services.

Michael Guarnieri


Pakistan Contract

It is interesting that Pakistan's Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto says that Pakistan has a "Contract with America" ("Bhutto stands firm on nuclear issue," April 11). The only contract America has with Pakistan or any other nation is to ensure world peace and to fight international terrorism.

To be honest, Pakistan has failed to halt terrorism both within its own boundaries and in the world. The bombings of the world trade centers in New York and Bombay have been linked to terrorists who were harbored in Pakistan.

The extradition of those terrorists led to the fatal, cowardly attack on U.S. diplomats in Islamabad recently.

Second, there is every danger that Pakistan's nuclear program may fall into the hands of Muslim militants and zealots. That's why the need is to continue the Pressler Amendment.

The prime minister also threatened that Pakistan would not hesitate to go to France or Russia to buy war planes if America doesn't sell them.

Does Pakistan needs sophisticated war planes like the F-16 to carry nuclear weapons undetected?

America has a contract with world peace, not terrorism.

radeep Ganguly


Two Tiers

The Sun's editorial of March 24 -- "Drunken Driving's Guardian?" -- was somewhat misleading.

Maryland has a two-tier level of drunk driving. A person is intoxicated if he/she is .10 or more.

However, in Maryland a person is considered impaired if he or she is .07.

Dolores A. Bemrick


Shame on Smith

Harry Smith of Baltimore City Community College is quoted on April 10 ("Hard work brings a Cinderella evening"), "If you speak well and write well, you don't even have to know what you are talking about."

If that was an accurate quote, it is the most cogent description of the death of American culture. Shame on Dr. Smith!

The Youth Cotillion has taken a group of attractive, healthy, hard-working young people who will be future voters, workers and leaders, and their loving parents, and taught them "image" is everything.

For the sake of the educational institutions in Baltimore and for the young people of Baltimore who want a productive future, may I humbly remind Dr. Smith and the other older people who are mentoring these young men and women, leadership is more than understanding communication.

Leadership requires character, moral and physical courage, clearly defined goals and objectives. Hitler understood "communication," as did Stalin and Mao Tse-tung.

Television, movies and music understand communication and look where they are leading us.

The current administration in Washington, and now I fear in Annapolis, understand communication but lack the skill to lead the people, because they have little understanding of history or economics, much less the goals and ambitions of the electorate who must work for a living, instead of running for elected office.

Words have meaning, and the ideas that are formed from an association of these words, have consequences.

I am sorry a representative of an institution of education is quoted misleading another generation of young people to seek that which will never satisfy personally, nor contribute to our country.

Barbara Smith


Sickening Column

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