Low-cost housing builders must pay extra costs


October 22, 1995

A recent article titled "Study calls for low-cost housing" was factual as written; but the subhed, "Brown says it would cost county too much," inadequately summarized my views.

No one, including myself, would reasonably argue that the housing needs of families earning moderate incomes of $45,000- $50,000 shouldn't be addressed. My comments, made during the meeting described in the article, were directed to the assembled members of the Carroll County Homebuilders Association and were an admonition that if they are to continue mass-producing low- to moderate-priced housing in Carroll County, then they will have to further shoulder the burden of providing needed schools, roads, etc.

The plain fact of the matter is that any house taxed at a value of less than $250,000, on average, generates less in tax revenue than the cost of services provided to the house's occupants.

Another inescapable fact is that public education costs are the straw threatening to break our taxpaying backs. My point to the homebuilders was that we commissioners have recently placed a greater burden on the taxpayers in order to fund schools. I'm not about to go back to those same homeowners and say, "Pay higher taxes so that more people can afford to own a house in Carroll County." So, let it be clear: The ball is in the courts of those builders producing housing for the Carroll market. Put up, or shut up about affordable housing until they're willing to do more to underwrite the costs of building schools and roads within the county.

W. Benjamin Brown


The writer is vice president of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners.

Casinos would kill state's racing heritage

I've worked for the past 25 years in the racing industry. I've worked as a hot-walker, groom, pony rider and jockey, and I now gallop horses at Laurel Park. I've worked on breeding farms here in Maryland. In April, my thoroughbred mare gave birth to a Maryland-bred colt which someday will race on Maryland tracks. So I've been able to view the horse industry from many perspectives.

I'm strongly opposed to casino competition in the state of Maryland because of my concern for the quality of Maryland horse racing. Maryland is the main supplier of race horses for the entire mid-Atlantic region. The quality and quantity of Maryland-bred race horses will diminish, as breeding farms which supply our horses are being sold to developers for subdivisions. This, in turn, will result in the loss of jobs for hundreds of racetrack employees who live on the racetrack. The Breeders Cup Classic winner, Concern, is a registered Maryland-bred. Awad, another Maryland-bred, won this year at the Grade 1 Arlington Million. This year's most probable choice for nationwide award horse of the year, Cigar, was born in Bel Air.

Maryland is known throughout the world for the legendary Preakness Stakes. Maryland's horse industry employs more than Marylanders and contributes more than $1.2 billion annually to the economy of Maryland.

I urge you to oppose casino gambling. Don't let our long-standing heritage be destroyed.

Robert J. Lillis


No longer 'Tiny Tims'

Inspirational cripple stories make us retch. Cute euphemisms (physically-challenged, differently-abled, handicapable) make us groan. Telethons make us livid.

We do not deny our physiological limitations, but we refuse to be defined by our bodies. * In 1962, James Meredith integrated the University of Mississippi. The press was there.

* In 1962, Edward Roberts integrated the University of California. In his iron lung. The press was not there.

The disability rights movement has been a silent yet persistent force in American culture, its accomplishments benefiting the daily lives of every American. We have been ignored or trivialized a media which too often perpetuates and reinforces prevailing cultural stereotypes about disability. We tend to be sensationalized in "handicapped hero" or "super-crip" stories, or infantilized as "Jerry's kids."

We are portrayed as "tragic victims" trapped in useless bodies; as pathetic "cripples" who will never achieve their potential; as "damaged goods" or "freaks of nature"; as "special people" who must "try harder" to "overcome" their disabilities.

Do African-Americans "overcome" their pigment? Women, their breasts?

Our issues are not treated as hard news, although our agenda includes addressing employment discrimination, institutionalization in nursing homes versus independent living, segregation in inferior educational settings, absence of dignified and safe access to public accommodations. And, of course, that ever-present pat-on-the-head paternalism.

We are weary of educating the ignorant, the fearful, those who pity us and are repulsed by us. We suggest they look into their mirrors -- or into their souls.

Marilynn J. Phillips


Father Gallagher's article on papacy full of 'misconceptions, half-truths'

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