Is Baltimore investing wisely on winners?In his Dec. 28...


January 14, 1998

Is Baltimore investing wisely on winners?

In his Dec. 28 column, Barry Rascovar touched on the most important subject in Baltimore's future: Where should limited government resources be directed to best revitalize a city losing residents?

He prompts the kinds of questions that should have been addressed in The Sun's series on housing rehabilitation (Dec. 14 and 15). In any $300 million program, some unnecessary spending will exist. The question is how much.

More important, where was the money spent? Did it lead to revitalization or was it squandered on unsustainable areas? How many of the renovated houses are still occupied? All funds are lost when houses are abandoned again. To what extent might the money have drained prospective residents from other neighborhoods?

If the city continues to lose residents, where will the next 20,000 vacant houses be? Can we devise a strategy that concentrates them into parcels for future development, or will they metastasize as cancers throughout the city? If we, in Mr. Rascovar's words, "root out crime and drug-related violence" somewhere, where will it go?

Shifting crime to previously stable areas drives out the middle class. Are we willing to pay that price? How can we make fair decisions that necessarily favor one neighborhood over another? How do race and class affect the decision-making?

If we are to invest our money wisely, we must begin a conversation across the city to answer these questions. The brutal truth is that we have to bet on the winners.

To the extent that we do not, we are playing the lottery, not something I do with my money.

Ed Rutkowski


Don't blame teachers for lack of discipline

As a teacher at Furman L. Templeton Elementary School in Baltimore, I found Harold Jackson's Dec. 21 column, "When school, discipline were synonymous," a simplistic explanation of city schools' lack of discipline.

While it is true that many of today's students face the same problems of poverty and despair as a few decades ago, his depiction of city teachers was unfair.

Today's teachers must work within the confines of a bureaucratic central office, never-ending paperwork and changing teaching methods, and follow strict curriculum guidelines. They also receive little support from parents and the community as they strive to instill the thirst for knowledge and create lifelong learners.

Teachers compete with the allure of material possessions and quick fixes. They're expected to have the answers to public schools' woes. We need help from the parents and the community to bring discipline into the classrooms.

I challenge all the public education detractors to spend one day in a Baltimore school. Don't use the opportunity as a public relations ploy. Actually work with the students. Listen to what they say. Talk to the teachers. Hear what they want to do for the children.

Stop the finger-pointing and the name-calling. If you are not nTC satisfied with the way things are being done, do something about it.

Lorraine T. Lockhart


In appreciation of Ruth Mascari

Historic Towson Inc. would like to express its appreciation to the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission and its former chairwoman, Ruth B. Mascari.

Many of the current and past commissioners have worked to support important historic structures in the Towson area.

As we approach the new millennium, we find ourselves at a preservation crossroads: Do we revise zoning laws and codes to ensure the architectural integrity and value of historic buildings? Do we allow these buildings to be "architecturally bulldozed"? Should development have the edge over preservation?

The commission ought to be dedicated to preventing architectural preservation anarchy in Baltimore County. The commission is the only recourse for fair public representation.

arol I. Allen


The writer is president of Historic Towson Inc.

Good omens seen for improving world

As we begin the new year, a spirit of generosity seems to be sweeping the world.

Not only did the Clintons invite the Doles to join them in visiting our troops in Bosnia, but in Ireland, Iran and South Korea, new leaders are showing the same kind of generous spirit for improved change.

This is truly something to celebrate and emulate.

Robert L. Zoerheide


Great photo, wrong workers

Doug Kapustin's photograph of the "topping out" at the new Ravens football stadium at Camden Yards (Jan. 10) rivals the work of late Sun photographer A. Aubrey Bodine. Great sky!

I think, though, you will find that the men "marking the spot" are ironworkers, not "steel workers."

Steel workers work "downa point, hon."

andall Miller

Ocean View, Del.

! Pub Date: 1/14/98

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