Few supporters for a real war on teen smoking I...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 19, 1999

Few supporters for a real war on teen smoking

I followed with interest Michael Dresser's coverage of the current radio ad campaign funded by the Maryland Children's Initiative ("Butting heads over an ad," May 11). But I think he missed an important point.

Instead of the phony roll call vote used in the ad, I urge your readers to visit the Maryland General Assembly home page on the Internet, and check out the real roll call votes on the three amendments I offered which would have spent every penny of the $105 million proposed cigarette tax increase to fund programs to fight teen smoking.

These amendments, curiously enough, were opposed by the Maryland Children's Initiative, our governor and a majority of Democratic senators.

Only the Republicans and a handful of principled Democrats supported the all-out war on teen smoking that these amendments would have funded.

And for what will the tobacco tax money now be used? Pork projects, like a new Senate Office building in Annapolis.

Shame on the Maryland Children's Initiative for compromising on our children's health for the sake of supporting pork projects with the tobacco tax money.

It seems to share the other addiction that came to light during the tobacco tax debate -- the addiction of our governor and legislators to pork-barrel spending.

I, for one, am proud that I refused to compromise where our children's lives are at stake.

Dr. Andrew P. Harris, Cockeysville

The writer represents the 9th District in the Maryland Senate.

Amenities aplenty grace city's housing

I take exception to The Sun's May 6 editorial "Brand name houses for city homeowners." I am trying to sell a house in the city. and the editorial uncritically restates the same misconceptions I have heard from too many prospective buyers.

While it might be nice to see a booming new construction market in the city, the assumption on which you base your call for construction is wrong. City houses do not lack amenities.

A short walk around my neighborhood (Hamilton and Lauraville) finds many houses with added bathrooms and large bright kitchens.

No one will ever build houses like the houses around here again. Hand-fit hardwood trim is common in Hamilton. Floors are so tight that they will never creak. How many new builders can claim that?

Many young families around here are actively rebuilding the outstanding housing stock.

There are wonderful, high-quality old homes in this city. Who needs more boxes made of ticky-tacky paper?

Michael Hutchens, Baltimore

Don't use tax money for cruel dog races

This letter is in response to the letter that suggested the governor open a dog racing track in Western Maryland ("Race dogs, not horses in Western Maryland," May 5.) I sincerely hope that this suggestion was made in jest.

I have spent the past 12 years finding homes for greyhounds that raced and were cast off from other state's dog tracks -- many of which are already down-sizing or closing because of lack of financial support.

Greyhounds that are winning are well-treated and cared for. The ones that lose are a different story.

It is heartbreaking that at least 15,000 of these magnificent, loving dogs are killed each year simply because they cannot run fast enough.

Why would anyone want tax money to be spent on something so unjust to animals?

Although I am not a supporter of horse racing, I think the money would be better spent supporting an existing track rather than building a new one.

The state's horse racing industry is already suffering from competition from Delaware tracks that allow slot machines. Why add to their burden by adding another rival?

We should take care of what we have and not add to an already growing problem in dog racing.

Helen Coleman, Annapolis

Our Daily Bread move hurts area

The relocation of Our Daily Bread to the Johnston Square neighborhood from its long-time downtown location is a slap in the face to the homeowners and residents of Johnston Square and the students, parents and faculty of St. Frances Academy, a community anchor and landmark since 1870.

The proposed move has been portrayed as a skillful compromise among Catholic Charities, the downtown business community and cultural institutions. Compromise, however, is neither skillful nor just until all concerned voices are heard. Unfortunately, not all the stakeholders were invited to the table.

The deal to move Our Daily Bread was brokered, at very high levels of government and business, with little regard for the community where the soup kitchen would be relocated.

Despite many meetings and deliberations with business leaders and elected officials, Associated Catholic Charities officials failed to inform and include the surrounding community in its lofty plan.

What is truly shameful is that Catholic Charities made the same mistake, in the same community, 15 years ago.

In 1984, Catholic Charities and the city of Baltimore targeted Johnston Square as the ideal site for a homeless shelter.

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