The signs of the times are bad signsTrees, electric poles...

LETTERS

March 01, 1996

The signs of the times are bad signs

Trees, electric poles, mailboxes and median strips all have unique functions. Advertising political candidates should not be one of these functions.

Many of the current candidates for the 7th Congressional District are elected officials. They should know better.

Nothing is inherently the matter with political signs. However, I would be more likely to support someone who is endorsed by a neighbor or by a business that I frequent than by someone who had consciously decided to litter the environment.

Michele Rosenberg

Baltimore

Lesbian couple's courage hailed

I appreciated your Feb, 26 front-page story on the courageous lesbian couple who decided to fight City Hall by suing the state for the right to marry.

My husband and I have been in a legally unrecognized marriage for more than 17 years. Now, with two young children to raise, we are concerned that those innocents don't suffer because the law forbids their parents to marry. Among many other benefits, ++ marriage will ensure and protect their sibling and filial relationships throughout childhood if one of us should die or become incapacitated -- as it will their rights of inheritance, medical coverage by the non-adoptive parent's policy and their equal status among their peers.

Gay people have been living together openly in de facto marriages for decades and will continue to do so. Now that the "gay boom" has become a fact of everyday life, we also need to think of our children, whose relationships with both their parents should be protected just the same as those of their counterparts with opposite-sex parents.

Anti-discrimination laws evolve just as does society's appreciation of social differences. Given that a gay or lesbian identity is one that is discovered, not chosen, it's time to stop discriminating against people based on the gender of the person with whom they've fallen in love.

Kenneth B. Morgen

Towson

Need power to sue property owners

In opposing the proposed Community Bill of Rights (HB 421), the Property Owners Association of Greater Baltimore expressed very cynical position in stating that giving Baltimore community groups the power to sue over nuisances in their neighborhoods would drive property owners and businesses from the city.

We believe the opposite to be true. Bustling neighborhoods of well-kept homes where families can walk safely on clean streets to playgrounds and shops is exactly what will attract homeowners and businesses to the city. The legislation is good for people and it's good for property values.

The truth is that hundreds of community organizations -- groups of concerned citizens who work tirelessly to improve conditions in their neighborhoods -- too often watch in frustration as their neighborhoods deteriorate because of crumbling vacant houses that become markets for drug trafficking and other types of crime. Vacant lots are rarely empty, but instead become dumps for garbage and debris left by people who don't live or work in the neighborhood.

We accept that government simply does not have the resources to enforce the housing and health codes when there are more than 9,000 vacant houses in Baltimore alone. Vacant houses decay not only the neighborhoods, but the spirit of their residents.

It makes simple sense to empower the community associations of residents, who have the most at stake when property owners, often absentee landlords, are not held accountable for the problems they create for the neighborhood.

nne Blumenberg

Baltimore

PB

The writer is executive director of the Community Law Center.

Auto insurance reform backed

I feel it's a real shame that doctors, lawyers and insurance companies have criticized Gov. Parris Glendening's auto insurance reform bill.

Without mercy and without dignity they bombarded the proposed bill before it could even bloom. Considering Marylanders spend millions of dollars in premiums annually, the proposed bill will subtract 12 percent from annual rates. It's also aimed at reducing costs by limiting payments in potentially fraudulent cases of strains, pains and more common whiplash.

Insurers argued about how they aren't convinced that the bill would create savings and fear they would get stuck paying the difference.

It's no wonder that some people may have exaggerated claims to insurers. After all, paying thousands of dollars on grossly high insurance rates they want to bite back and it's not always the people who are poor that exaggerate claims.

It's not honest or legal to exaggerate or falsify insurance claims. But it's not very honest for insurers to overcharge and it's not fair that insurers are not willing to work out an agreement.

Brian Lewis

Baltimore

Let good citizens carry concealed guns

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