Coalition exists because it's neededNow that Black History...

LETTERS

February 09, 1996

Coalition exists because it's needed

Now that Black History Month has begun, I say to those who criticize the membership meeting of the African-American Coalition of the Baltimore City Council, how easy we forget. Your selective memories have failed you.

Do you recall years and years of meetings and conferences by majority (white) coalitions that had no interest in the condition of African Americans in this city?

Do you recall the efforts made by African Americans to get their collective foot in the door of majority (white) dominated public and private arenas to obtain simple city services in their communities, to obtain equal education for their children or to even get highly coveted city jobs? These conditions still exist in both the public and private sectors and need to be corrected.

The African-American Coalition's specific goal is to improve the condition of African Americans in Baltimore. Are there white politically oriented groups in the city that have the African-American condition at the top of their agendas? If there are, then name them. I dare you.

The coalition has the right to meet and confer on any matter of grave importance to the African-American Community.

To say that whites are being excluded is a farce. The coalition is open to all initiatives to improve the condition of African Americans. To the critics, I say, come forward with your strategies and plans for improvement. I guarantee you the coalition will lend an ear. Otherwise, get on with your life.

Sheena Donovan

Baltimore

What's the purpose of a school diploma?

The State Board of Education's belated attempts to add a modicum of sanity to Maryland's education system by devising some requirements for a student body that currently ''graduates'' clutching nice bits of paper but possessing not one shred of knowledge.

Susan Leviton, of the Advocates for Children and Youth organization, responds by saying she is ''concerned about what happens to the students who are not the brightest and go to school and are never able to pass the test, and that are not able to get a diploma.''

Presumably, then, it is acceptable for students to be illiterate with a diploma, but not for them to be illiterate without one.

D. P. Munro

Baltimore

Charging the poor for their poverty

The recent disclosure that the Glendening administration has proposed charging the poor for assistance in moving from state welfare programs to the federal disability rolls demonstrates how morally bankrupt our politicians have become.

Gov. Parris Glendening is now eligible to join the mean team of Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole, who support the elimination of fuel assistance to the needy, decreasing medical benefits and altering Social Security.

How inconvenient the poor and elderly have become to our great society.

Bob Couto

Baltimore

Is East Baltimore to be a village of prisons?

I am an East Baltimore resident. After reading your Jan. 16 article, ''Officials pick new site for juvenile jail," I am truly appalled that city and state legislators who represent this section of town did not oppose the new jail.

Just last year, the new central booking facility was built. With all the penal institutions in East Baltimore, wouldn't one think that another one is just too much? Also, I cannot believe that Stuart Simms, a man I admire, is willing to ''pacify'' the residents of East Baltimore with employment and obtain money from Annapolis to improve recreation facilities and playgrounds for youth.

Del. Howard ''Pete'' Rawlings stated that the city had to ''act fast to settle on a site.'' Let the record show that twice the juvenile jail was blocked in his district. I cannot believe I have not heard City Hall's position on the construction of another jail in East Baltimore, which is one of the ''empowerment zones.''

New houses were built in the Oliver community for first-time homebuyers, and if another jail is built nearby, property values will plummet. So much for empowerment. Former City Councilman Carl Stokes stated it best: ''East Baltimore is becoming a village of penal institutions."

The construction of another jail will only tarnish East Baltimore once again.

Vernon E. Crider

Baltimore

Simplify tax form with multiple rates

Those who would profit most through a single income tax rate are portraying it as indispensable if we are to have tax simplification. But we could have a postcard income tax form and still preserve a progressive rate schedule.

Two or more rates would not mean complications. For most, reference to a table would suffice. Of the remainder, a large percentage would need only a reference to a table, subtraction, multiplication and addition.

Charles Whittington

Baltimore

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