Light rail is too easy to cheat on faresIf hoodlums rode...


April 18, 1997

Light rail is too easy to cheat on fares

If hoodlums rode the light rail to county locations to commit crime, then merchandise is not the only thing that they are stealing. They are also stealing the ride.

The fare system allows anyone to get on the train for free. I have ridden the light rail about 10 or 12 times, and my ticket has been checked exactly once.

The chances are remote that anyone with larceny in mind will bother to buy a ticket. If they happen to get caught, they are put off and just get on the next train.

It would be considerably cheaper in the long run to revamp the ticket system so that it is impossible to get on the train without paying a fare. Turnstiles and tokens do not demand overtime, health insurance and pensions.

I believe that mass transit is important and must be promoted, but it must also be safe.

Mary H. Brown


Will Baltimore become the next Detroit?

The Sun's series on the Baltimore City housing debacle served not only to demonstrate the absence of accountability in city government but, more disturbingly, the absence of foresight in the city planning profession.

As a neighborhood planner, I thought we had moved beyond the lessons learned from flawed post-war thinking of slum clearance (mass demolitions) that created low-density urban experiments that are somehow of greater benefit than the actual neighborhoods that were there before. Apparently not in Baltimore.

This leads me to ask a few questions: Just who are the so-called local expert planners who agree that mass demolition of the urban fabric is a good thing? What, if anything, is planned to replace these demolished houses? Has anyone been to Detroit lately? So much of that town has been leveled by short-sighted policies that it isn't really even a city anymore. Is this what Baltimore will become? Is anyone listening?

teven H. Allan


School vouchers best for everyone

As co-sponsors of the American Community Renewal Act, we were disappointed to read the April 5 article, ''NAACP holds rally to protest school vouchers.''

The sad truth is that we are in danger of losing a generation of inner-city kids to urban schools that have failed to educate a large portion of their students. We can no longer afford to let these children and their parents down. These parents and their neighborhood leaders are consistently telling us that they want the opportunity to send their kids to good schools in the same manner as middle- and upper-class people who live in the same cities.

That is why the American Community Renewal Act includes a provision for new, federally funded scholarships for low-income kids. Opponents just don't understand. No money will be taken from local public schools to provide these scholarships. These scholarships will not drain the resources of local schools and, in fact, these scholarships will ease some of the overcrowding that plagues inner-city schools. There is no downside for the disadvantaged children.

It is unfortunate that groups like People for the American Way see this issue as a political and ideological football. Our bill is supported by a vast network of grass-roots groups that are demanding a good education for the children in their neighborhoods. If opening up this opportunity means that some parents choose to send their kids to schools of their choice, that strikes us and our grass-roots supporters as a superior alternative to consigning their kids to schools full of drugs and violence.

We do not want to fight with the education establishment or political ideologues. We just want to help economically disadvantaged children with solutions that will actively work. We respectfully suggest that the NAACP reconsider whether its position on this issue is not hurting the very people that we know it wants to help.

Floyd Flake

J.C. Watts Jr.

Jim Talent


The writers are members of the U.S. House of Representatives who, respectively, represent New York, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Kemp wrong about Social Security

The Sun reported April 12 that Jack Kemp, the 1996 Republican vice-presidential candidate, has come out in support making Social Security deductions exempt from income taxes.

Aside from the trillions of dollars to be lost in federal income, further increasing the budget deficit, overlooked is the fact that Social Security benefits after retirement are now tax-exempt.

Before the ink would be dry on the legislation, assuming it gets past Congress and there is no veto, there would be a push to then tax Social Security benefits. (Buy now, pay later?)

Taxing those benefits would come at a time when retirees are on much, much lower fixed incomes, creating a tremendous financial burden.

Hopefully, our Congress will avoid demagogue posturing and kill this bill.

Richard L. Lelonek


High taxes shared by men and women

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.