Police powers should be scrutinized closelyJudge John...

LETTERS

March 21, 1997

Police powers should be scrutinized closely

Judge John Carroll Byrnes and the prosecutors and jurors who are sending Stephen Pagotto to prison have done the right thing.

Because of the extraordinary powers the police are given, their actions must be subject to even more scrutiny than those of other citizens. Police officers must realize that they face review, criticism and even criminal prosecution for the way they exercise their power.

To affirm that the police are in the right, no matter what they have done, is to give them absolute power -- a very dangerous notion.

Tom M. Padwa

Baltimore

Gun-toting criminals ought to be jailed

It is high time the office of the state's attorney stopped plea-bargaining away gun charges against people who use firearms in the commission of a serious crime.

For years, gun-rights activists have urged the General Assembly to enforce the laws already on the books. There is a place for people who use guns to commit violent crimes. It is called prison.

Howard J. Fezell

Frederick

Oppose tax cut that causes deficit

I want to clarify my position on proposed income-tax cuts as reported March 5 ("7 percent cut in income tax gathers support"). I have not vowed to ''oppose any tax cut.'' Rather, I will not support a proposed tax cut unless it shows how the budget will be balanced in the ''out years'' as well as in the current year.

To create a structural deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars in future years in order to be able to say we implemented an income-tax cut this year is, in my opinion, not fiscally responsible. It would not benefit existing or future businesses and, more importantly, it would hurt the people of Maryland.

Elizabeth Bobo

Columbia

The writer represents District 12B, Howard County, in the Maryland House of Delegates.

White House not president's B&B

Yes, Mel Tansill is right, there is a double standard.

If citizens rent bedrooms on a recurring basis, they are subject to regulations and licensing as Bed and Breakfast facilities.

However, there is another difference. The White House is not President Clinton's private residence. It belongs to you and me, and we, as taxpayers, provide it as the public residence of our president.

If the president would like to rent our rooms at a home that is his private residence, he should obtain the proper licensing, and feel free to offer the most expensive B&B accommodations available.

Meanwhile, the publicly owned and maintained residence of the chief executive of the United States need not be reduced to a boarding house run for the benefit of a political party.

Bob Goldrick

Columbia

BHP has a record of accomplishment

I am the President of the Baltimore Housing Partnership and want to address some of the issues which were discussed in Walter Roche's March 3 article regarding BHP.

The article dwelled on some of the individual properties that have not been successful. It neglected to say that a total of over 1,100 homes, either newly constructed or renovated, sold or rented, have been developed during the 12 year history of the organization. This averages out to almost 100 housing units a year. This is a significant contribution to the strengthening of Baltimore's housing stock.

These housing initiatives have occurred in diverse neighborhoods such as Druid Heights, Reservoir Hill, Oliver, Wilson Park, Penn North, Waverly, Sandtown-Winchester, Gardenville, and Johnston Square. They include housing for families in townhomes and buildings for seniors, all for lower-income persons.

The article stated that BHP's funding is mostly ''public.'' The fact of the matter is that some of the funding of the individual housing developments is from the public sector, although a lot of the money comes from tax credits sold in the private market. The cost of operating the organization is not covered by public funds at all in the way that the Baltimore Museum of Art and many other non-profit organizations receive operating subsidies from the federal government, state or city. BHP has been self-supporting, with revenues derived from services and donations from individuals and corporations.

With respect to the lease/purchase project in the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello community that was discussed at length and which admittedly has been a problem project, it is important to note that this program was set up by the state as a pilot project to enable people who had bad credit to initially rent property while counseling was provided to enable them ultimately to buy the property. In looking for solutions to Baltimore's and Maryland's housing problems, one needs to constantly look for innovative solutions. This is an attempt to do so.

While it may be easy to dwell on the current financial struggles of the organizations, it would be remiss not to point out the substantial accomplishment of the Baltimore Housing Partnership over the last dozen years.

David F. Tufaro

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Baltimore Housing Partnership.

Pub Date: 3/21/97

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