Daniel Henson is right in his stand on leaseIt is a very...

Letters

October 08, 1997

Daniel Henson is right in his stand on lease

It is a very infrequent occurrence when I agree with Baltimore Housing Authority Executive Director Daniel P. Henson III.

But after reading the article ''Tough new lease for new complex'' written by Marilyn McCraven (Oct. 2), I applaud Commissioner Henson for his stand on the new lease for the Pleasant View Gardens housing project.

It is long past time that those who occupy public housing be held to the same standards as anyone living in private rental housing.

I am not talking about everyone living in public housing, only those who don't care and make no attempt to maintain the area in which they live. There are many, many people who have put forth untold hours of hard work and sweat trying to make where they live a pleasant and comfortable place.

It is these individuals who should be rewarded for their efforts and be moved to the head of the list for new units as they become available. It will be these individuals and families who will recognize the opportunity in front of them and do everything they can to keep their new environment pleasant and comfortable.

Chris Haug

Ellicott City

Criticism too broad on students and IEPs

I am appalled by the overgeneralizations and sweeping statements made by Beverly Lapinski in her letter Sept. 25 (''Schools violate rights of students with IEPs''). By her own admission, she has acted as a parent advocate for only a couple LTC of students with IEPs whose rights were being violated.

An entire school system has been condemned with no regard to those teachers who spend an enormous amount of time implementing IEP goals. Surely even the Maryland Disabilities Law Center would agree that this is not ''. . . justice for all.''

Maxine H. Ofsowitz

Baltimore

We pay a huge price for useless drug laws

An article in the Oct. 1 Sun makes me ashamed to be an American.

Although there was no evidence that he was smuggling drugs (and he wasn't), a Jamaican musician, the article reports, ''who said he came to the Washington area with high hopes for a new album, was detained by U.S. Customs officers at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, strip-searched for drugs, then handcuffed and taken to a hospital to be X-rayed and examined in a search for smuggled drugs.''

This was apparently perfectly legal and was defended by a customs spokesman who said that ''it's a small price to pay . . . to keep these drugs out.''

It is a huge price to pay, and we pay it for nothing, as it will have no effect on the level of drug use in this country.

The drug laws are destroying the soul of this country. They are also destroying people's lives -- the lives of drug addicts who are sentenced to long prison terms instead of being given the medical help they need, and the lives of victims of crimes that would not have been committed if drugs were legal.

Alcohol prohibition didn't work and drug prohibition doesn't work.

The reason that we repealed the former but not the latter is that people in power prefer alcohol and the victims of the drug laws are primarily black.

Henry Cohen

Baltimore

No special privileges for rich in campaigns

I am appalled that the normally erudite George Will, in his Sept. 29 column, would equate free speech with spending huge sums of money to influence political campaigns.

Why should one billionaire or rich corporation be guaranteed a preponderance of free speech over hundreds of thousands of middle- and lower-income citizens in our elections?

Basing free speech on wealth is plutocratic, not democratic.

John Cannan

Baltimore

Unanswered questions on traffic to track

I attended a recent community meeting regarding the proposed race track in Essex/Middle River. A traffic planning consultant, hired by the track's backers, presented a very professional briefing on the expected impact of the track on the surrounding area's roads. It all sounded fine until the unanswered and half-answered questions began piling up like beer bottles on the roadside after a big sporting event.

The backers asked our community to focus on the creativity and sincerity of their solutions for ''only three big races'' annually, while they barely acknowledged the schedule of an additional 27 nights of lesser activity.

By their definitions, a big race expects 54,000 fans and a smaller event anticipates 13,000 to 25,000 fans. (These figures are for the first phase of track development, before it grows to a capacity in excess of 100,000.) Initial track parking is to be ''voluntarily'' limited to 10,500 vehicles.

The track's proponents explain that 10,500 vehicles can easily be accommodated by the existing road system with simple widening of planned access routes. They also claim that the smaller events will not draw nearly as many vehicles, since sports fans tend to travel in car pools; therefore, 20,000 fans will arrive in only 5,000 to 7,000 cars.

First, even minor roadwork in this area is a major inconvenience because there are only two roads in and both are only one lane each way.

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