Housing opportunities for poor will tumble with Flag...

Letters to the Editor

September 10, 1998

Housing opportunities for poor will tumble with Flag House

An article in The Sun reports that HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo delivered a $21.5 million grant to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City to demolish Flag House Courts and rebuild the area ("HUD gives Baltimore $21.5 million grant," Sept. 2).

Flag House's 487 units will be destroyed and replaced with 338 new units. Of those new units, only 113 will be available as public housing for rent to low- or no-income Baltimoreans.

The remaining units will be sold, rented at market-rate prices, or be made available under a lease-purchase agreement. This will result in a loss of 357 units for our poorest neighbors.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 70,000 Baltimore households have no earned income. And let's not forget the 9,000 families (reported in The Sun article Aug. 28, "Welfare cuts loom for 9,000") who face a January 1 deadline for welfare cutoff. Where will these indigent people live if not in subsidized housing?

The goal of transforming public housing into safe, pleasant and attractive living space is a laudable one, but must it happen at the cost of diminishing the supply of affordable housing?

The policies represented by this grant are short-sighted in their response to a cash-strapped budget. Welcoming working and middle-class citizens into public housing is fine as long as those who cannot afford market-rate housing are also served. Our communities are not strengthened by housing the have-somethings and rejecting the have-nothings.

With budget surpluses in Maryland and the federal government, perhaps we can turn our attention to rebuilding communities for all.

Lauren Siegel

Baltimore

Experience counts for state comptroller

I was appalled and amazed upon reading your endorsements in the comptroller's race that you believe someone with no tax or computer experience, in today's technologically sophisticated world, will be the best candidate.

Having a chief financial officer who doesn't understand the details of the position is a road map to fiscal disaster. The comptroller is responsible to oversee the pension fund and is a key person in maintaining our triple-A bond rating. Therefore, he must be knowledgeable in the area of the bond and stock markets to carry out this function effectively.

I am voting for Larry Epstein, certified public accountant, for this position because he has the tax, computer and government background necessary to properly administer this office. He was chairman of the tax and budget committees of Baltimore County and is an excellent adviser and promoter of business.

He will provide productive change to make things work better and more efficiently. He also has a great deal of construction background to understand where and how our dollars are spent on the Board of Public Works.

Kathleen Bossom

Belair

Sen. Blount wasn't frank, but he's the better choice

If the worst thing state Del. Frank Boston can say about his opponent, Sen. Clarence W. Blount, is that he's moved to Pikesville, I guess I'll (reluctantly) vote for Mr. Blount, given the limited choice..

I say reluctantly because, if Mr, Blount were a mensch, he would not have gone out of his way to give his constituents such as myself the false impression that he still resided in Ashburton.

Personally, I don't care where he sleeps, so long as his political activities are clearly serving the low- and middle-income folk of his district.

Mr. Blount should have been frank (no pun intended) with the citizenry and said, "Look, folks, the Mrs. and I have bought a retirement home in Pikesville, as many of you would like to do if you could afford to. If you want me to continue to serve you in the state Senate, you must support a bill I will introduce to permit any voter in Maryland to vote for any candidate for office, regardless of where they live."

Such legislation could have done away with the fiction of legislative, municipal or federal electoral districts and replaced them with citywide proportional representation.

Such elections would result in more representative legislators in all three legislative bodies. And we wouldn't have had to waste so much time and money on the residency charade.

A. Robert Kaufman

Baltimore

Is there a reason anyone should commit to the city?

Why should we be surprised or disappointed that a leading local law firm is not committed to staying in the city and is moving to Baltimore County when the highest court in the state has held that a state senator who represents a city district can live in the county?

Diane Levin

Baltimore

Fixation on trivial matters reveals impoverishment

Thanks for publishing Robert Birt's letter about the actions President Clinton really ought to regret. I fail to understand why the press has gone mad over a sexual event that neither party should have betrayed the other by talking about.

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