Glenn McNatt work praisedGlenn McNatt is superb. His...

LETTERS

June 07, 1996

Glenn McNatt work praised

Glenn McNatt is superb. His essays on the arts are always the highlights of my perusal of the Sunday paper.

I am always inspired by his clear, insightful and provocative writing. I'm delighted that The Sun has provided a forum for such a well-spoken and passionate proponent of the arts.

Keep 'em coming, Glenn. And how about publishing a collection?

Ben Sherman

Hanover, Pa.

Abandonment is not the answer

I am writing in response to a May 29 letter by Ed Rutkowski, "Concentrate vacant houses."

The concept of "constructive abandonment" is not new. The idea was discussed in the mid 1970s and was rejected not only because of the potential political ramifications but because it was thought to be an ineffective approach to urban renewal.

If the government adopts a strategy to "strengthen viable communities" at the expense of those it considers less viable, it is abandoning a large segment of the population. Imagine the indignity of paying property taxes and having that money used ** to speed the demise of your community so that a more "viable" neighborhood (county or state) may prosper. Imagine the impact on the people that live outside of Mr. Rutkowski's "residential enterprise zones." And where does Mr. Rutkowski think these people will go when their neighborhoods become so deteriorated they must be razed?

Vacant houses and urban blight are the visible manifestations of our social ills. The only solution to the vacant house problem is to reduce crime, improve our school system and adopt a tax structure that does not penalize people who choose to live in the city.

John Huppert

Baltimore

The writer, director of Banner Neighborhoods Community Corp., is a retired director of housing inspections for Baltimore City.

Not racist to oppose ACLU settlement

Two recent columns on a town meeting in Dundalk (May 26, "Ehrlich knows better" and May 21, "Unclear words on relocation of poor") have portrayed residents of eastern Baltimore County as uneducated racists who are unable to interpret provisions of the public housing settlement of the ACLU lawsuit against the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the city of Baltimore.

The Sun has criticized Congressman Bob Ehrlich and County Councilman Lou DePazzo for misleading the audience and not telling the whole truth. I attended that meeting and found the information objective and not misleading. Each provision was presented as it was stated in the court settlement. The entire document was not presented, only certain provisions that were felt to be potential loopholes in the enforcement and implementation of the policy.

Contrary to what The Sun would have us believe, this policy is not the answer to decades of futile social reform. There is no evidence that the authorities of HUD or the county government will be able to enforce the restrictions named in the agreement. How could they? The county government doesn't have the money or the manpower and HUD can't even control its own department.

Mr. Ehrlich did raise substantial issues. The issues of control, enforcement and money are very much our concern. The residents of eastern Baltimore County are not geniuses, but we do have minds of our own and are very capable of thinking for ourselves. We do not need Mr. Ehrlich and Mr. DePazzo to tell us what the agreement means. We do need them to provide the information and let us come to our own conclusions, and that is what happened at the meeting.

We are not uneducated racists, but are committed to our communities and will stand up for them and our values. This agreement is against everything we work for and teach our children. The harder you work, the more you get out of life.

Patricia Warble

Baltimore

Historical parallel seen in gay ruling

George Will begins his May 22 commentary by saying that "the Supreme Court held that America's traditional opposition to homosexuality is bigotry akin to racism." That statement is not correct. The court held that it is unconstitutional to create barriers to political access aimed at specific groups of citizens.

The Colorado constitutional amendment meant to accomplish two goals. The first was to eliminate all existing local, state and executive anti-discrimination policies protecting gays and lesbians. The second was to prevent the state from ever adopting similar policies in the future.

The Supreme Court ruling means that the first goal is fair game but that the arena for the conflict has to be the legislature and the political process. The effect of the amendment would have been to prevent the state from ever changing its mind, regardless of changes in the social climate.

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