Why do Handouts Erode Fiber of the Poor but Not of the 0...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 30, 1995

Why do Handouts Erode Fiber of the Poor but Not of the 0) Rich?

I read with dismay the piece entitled "Lavish welcome awaits corporate chiefs" in the July 12 Anne Arundel section.

What does it say about America that handouts to the poor are considered shameful, degrading, and enervating of character, while handouts to the rich are not questioned, but merely documented in a breathlessly laudatory style?

As I understand it, the conservative (classically, liberal) rationale for eliminating social programs that range from Head Start to federal financial aid for college students is that government aid is (1) not necessary in our mythical land of opportunity and (2) that "free gifts" such as welfare corrupt the can-do spirit and rugged individualism of the American character.

Such gifts purportedly end up causing those beneficiaries of government aid to become mindless drug users who irresponsibly reproduce more and more of their own kind.

This is the mostly unspoken subtext of the debate on giving the poor anything, from health care to an attractive living environment.

An equally valid concern, I believe, is the implication of giving the wealthiest and most powerful men in the country free gifts. Clean streets and wooden knick-knacks appear as if by magic before them, an impressive sleight of hand by state and local governments that ordinarily are strapped for cash.

These business executives, so economically and politically influential, become increasingly insulated from the realities of everyday American life by these exceedingly generous gestures good will. . . . Is it not equally threatening to our nation's future to give our leaders and policy makers . . . so distorted a view of urban life? Will this kind of fretful pampering not also prove enervating?

And so I say with the conservatives: This "friendliest of invasions" should prove its worth before reaping its reward.

Anna M. Rohleder

Linthicum

Arbitrary Approval

You were right on target with your recent editorial about the arbitrary interpretation about who in downtown Annapolis qualifies for late liquor licenses.

Even more startling is the hypocrisy of the Ward One Residents Association.

No matter how you slice it, they have condoned and testified in favor of the creation of a 2 a.m. closing time for a business that has previously closed before midnight.

They have approved (with their alderman and her husband standing by) the zoning that would allow a considerable enlargement of the property.

In other applications for less ambitious expansions, the aldermanic spouse would refer to the situation as the camel having his nose under the tent.

He would warn the residents . . . that a seedy gin joint would spring up just as soon as the application was approved, destroying Western civilization as we know it.

Obviously, this situation is far less threatening than the encroachment of a yogurt shop that they tied up for months while they debated the "boardwalking" of Annapolis.

It seems this camel has some influential shamans, and the Ward One Residents Association some pretty gullible sheep.

There should be an open hearing about the transfer of this license and zoning. . . .

Perhaps the rest of the city can be enlightened to their logic in approving this expanded use while screaming bloody murder about anyone else's.

And maybe the public, as well as the council, can be given some insight into how planning and zoning officials and the city attorney concocted the justification for it.

James Ganning

Annapolis

Ego Alley

Now that the Annapolis Ward One Residents Association has given the prospective buyer of the Harbour House a go-ahead on a 2 a.m. liquor license and allowed him to double the size of his restaurant, I think he should . . . put in a Hooters bar-restaurant instead.

Certainly that would liven up the approach to City Dock for the ego alley cruisers.

Maybe a Hard Rock Cafe is what the folks on lower Prince George Street would like for a neighbor.

No, a Planet Hollywood might even be glitzier. (They come with their own neon.)

And we can all thank the ever vigilant Ward One Residents Association and their capable alder duet for enabling -- no, facilitating -- the process.

Julia Walsh

Edgewater

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