Jerusalem expansion needed for economy and is not U.S. 0...

Letters to the Editor

June 24, 1998

Jerusalem expansion needed for economy and is not U.S. 0) matter

It seems that the U.S. State Department wants to micromanage the state of Israel ("Israel OKs enlargement of Jerusalem," June 22). How dare the State Department assail Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for moving to annex property into Jerusalem that is not in contention with the Oslo agreement.

We in the United States do it all the time -- when a city needs a stronger tax base, when a populated area needs city metropolitan services or when it would help to provide business expansion.

This Jerusalem annexation plan is to strengthen the city by adding large tracts of land west of the city that is not Arab property. Ninety percent of its population is Israeli. This annexation will strengthen commerce and industry and offer less expensive apartments, which will reduce emigration from Jerusalem.

When Israel unified the capital in 1967, the Arab population grew by 164 percent while the Jewish population increased by 113 percent.

The Jewish population is now dropping; Jewish residents are leaving the city because of the high cost of apartments. In 1996, 5,900 more residents left the city than moved in.

This annexation will, in time, level out the emigration from the city and provide for better industrial and commercial opportunities in Jerusalem proper.

Every time Israel wants to do anything to solidify and strengthen Israel, the Arabs complain, and the State Department, to prove its neutrality, calls it provocative.

Let's get on with Oslo and stop nitpicking about things that are not the State Department's business.

Richard Rynd


Community foundation fosters new philanthropists

I read with interest Eric Siegel's article ("Foundations see holdings swell in booming market," June 9) about the growth of private foundation assets that resulted from the stock market boom.

I was especially gratified that your reporter included the quote from Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers Executive Director Betsy Nelson, noting the tremendous gains in wealth by many individuals, thanks to market conditions, and expressing hope that these individuals would become involved in philanthropy.

The Baltimore Community Foundation is ideally positioned to help businesses and individuals do just that. Our foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of choice for scores of Baltimoreans.

We administer more than 220 individual charitable funds, which range in size from $10,000 to $6.3 million.

Our assets, like those of area private foundations, have grown enormously in recent years.

Our grants, which focus on the greater Baltimore region, have more than doubled since 1993.

With $75 million in assets, the Baltimore Community Foundation ranks among the 10 largest charitable foundations in the state.

We are fortunate to be available to help foster new philanthropists and to serve as a permanent charitable resource.

Walter D. Pinkard Jr.


The writer is chairman of the Baltimore Community Foundation.

Betsy S. Nelson's letter "Bad tax code change would reduce surging philanthropic activity" (June 18) left out one important fact.

While it's true that "the assets of Maryland's foundations have greatly increased in past years," most foundations continue to give no more than 5 percent of their assets to charities while assets have appreciated at double-digit rates the in past few years.

If Congress extends a tax provision that is beneficial to wealthy individuals, as Ms. Nelson argues for, it's only fair that Congress also requires foundations set up by wealthy individuals to distribute to charities each year a percentage of their assets that roughly matches the annual percentage appreciation of their holdings.

Instead, we have private foundations stockpiling their assets with little or no present benefit to charities.

Paul Streckfus


Opposition to drug proposal is about posturing, not need

It's not surprising that Gov. Parris N. Glendening would attack proposals for heroin maintenance, despite its proven effectiveness, as "sending the wrong message." And it is not odd that Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, despite having lost a brother to drug abuse, rejects the sensible idea of exploring alternative means of treating Baltimore City's addicts.

Most of these addicts lack Kennedy-size bank accounts, and they steal to finance their habits, which hurts us all.

While our so-called drug war has proven utterly useless in combating drug-related problems, it's a godsend for politicians looking for an easy way to appear "tough on crime."

The suggestion that Switzerland, where heroin maintenance works well, is "a very different story" than ours, is apparently accurate. There, public health policy is based on public need, not political grandstanding.

We might do well to emulate this "very different society."

We could start by throwing the phrase "this sends the wrong message" onto the trash heap.

Jon Swift


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