Shouldn't rely too much on rental housingI am involved in...


October 09, 1995

Shouldn't rely too much on rental housing

I am involved in the rehabilitation, development and rental of housing in Baltimore City for people with moderate incomes.

No doubt, some would call me a fool; and if they are correct, I wonder if I am a lesser fool than those who would spend millions of dollars on ''new'' public rental housing in Lexington Terrace.

The Sept. 27 article, ''Demolition plans cause mixed feelings at high-rises,'' quoted a 36-year resident of Lexington Terrace while describing the plan to build more than 300 new townhouses, of which 203 will be rented.

I am sure 36 years in public housing is not an all-time record and I have sympathy for those who are forced to so live and great respect for those who have moved on. Our efforts should be directed at breaking that cycle. . . .

I suggest we do it by home ownership, which is only part of the Lexington Terrace plan. . . .

Thirty-six years ago the city could have built a new house for less than what it has paid in rent subsidies over those years to the woman in Lexington Terrace -- and given the house to her. So, who is the bigger fool?

Let us go ahead and build the houses to be sold (or given) to deserving families at Lexington Terrace and use the rest of the money as rent vouchers to be used anywhere in the state. (It is mostly federal money.)

Let us accept the city's declining population and the resulting increase in abandoned houses. Then, let us agree on a plan to consolidate ourselves into smaller, viable neighborhoods to free up and re-zone the unneeded land for redevelopment. . . . The result would be a smaller, healthier Baltimore.

. Richard Piet


Domestic violence is an epidemic

O. J. Simpson's acquittal does not change the tragic fact that domestic violence is an epidemic in this country, and that domestic homicide occurs every day. In 1994, 91 men, women and children were killed as a result of domestic violence in Maryland, an increase from 73 killed in 1993.

It would be devasting if any battered women concluded from this acquittal that there is no help for them and no justice for their batterers.

Even though he was acquitted of murder, it is indisputable that O. J. Simpson was a batterer who was not held fully accountable for his use of violence and threats early on; by a judge who allowed counseling by phone, by police who applied a double standard, and by employers like Hertz and NBC that ignored an arrest for a violent crime. That is where the system failed Nicole Brown.

Media coverage of the trial has helped raise awareness about domestic violence, and that is long overdue. Perhaps more than ever before, Americans are ready to join the effort to prevent and reduce battering. There is no time to waste. Nearly 4 million women are physically abused each year in this country. In fiscal year 1995 the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County alone provided services to 1,147 new clients. The Crisis Shelter services were utilized by 295 women, 396 children and 10 men; New Behaviors Groups were attended by 225 persons; the Family Psychotherapy program provided individual counseling services to 221 cases.

Domestic violence is a costly and devasting problem in our society. As individuals and as a community, we all have to take responsibility for preventing abuse. We all have to hold batterers accountable from the first sign of abuse and support domestic violence victims when they reach out for help.

Ruth K. Gunn


The writer is executive director, Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County Inc.

One growth industry Maryland needs

It seems unfathomable, given the fleeing companies that had built Baltimore, the exodus of corporate headquarters and the other economic difficulties plaguing Baltimore and counties, that casino gambling would find substantial opposition in Maryland.

Certainly, I can envision various groups that would adhere to popular myths portraying gambling as malicious or evil.

But I feel that a limited number of tightly controlled, well-regulated casinos in Maryland would provide entertainment and enjoyment for the entire population of the mid-Atlantic states.

As a homeowner and father of two who gambles two or three times a year, I think I typify this population.

I will not be limited to the legal gambling options that currently exist in Maryland, horse racing and the lottery, and I can benefit from the entertainment shows and tax dollars that will surely pour into Maryland.

Considering the number of businesses leaving Maryland, please not let us turn away a profitable business that wishes to come here.

David W. Veihdeffer


All must conserve the bay's blue crabs

I, like many Marylanders and Virginians, have been crabbing, fishing, sailing and enjoying the Chesapeake Bay all my life. I have no doubt that the blue crab is feeling our impact. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources needs to be congratulated for playing a leadership role in managing and protecting one of our most valuable resources -- the blue crab.

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