Readers' assembly agenda I believe that a state...


January 29, 2000

Readers' assembly agenda

I believe that a state priority needs to be children in foster care. For these children, the state is their parent; we have a responsibility to be the best parent we can be.

But large caseloads overwhelm even the most dedicated and hardworking social workers, and prohibit the kind of individual, intensive attention that children need and deserve.

All too often, changes in child welfare only happen when a disaster captures the public's attention.

We have the opportunity and the resources to make a difference now, before such a tragedy occurs.

Judith M. Schagrin


We need honest and conscientious legislators and, therefore, a strong ethics law to assure they stay that way.

Like many Marylanders, I believe most of our legislators are only interested in their own agendas and those of special interests, especially the large contributors who helped elect them.

A strong, enforceable code of ethics would go a long way toward achieving a legislature we could trust and be proud of.

Irving Goldstein


The No. 1 priority, and only priority, for this session of the General Assembly is to return to the taxpayers the exorbitant surplus extorted from them by past tax-and-spend liberal Democratic legislatures and administrations.

Instead of a pay raise for state employees, I would also urge legislators to consider a 20 percent workforce reduction.

Get rid of the bloated work force, and give us our hard-earned money back.

And, please tell Gov. Parris N. Glendening to leave the prevailing wage requirements off school construction projects.

James A. Kelly


The No. 1 priority for the General Assembly should be strengthening Baltimore's public schools.

Every school should become a community school, with in-house representatives from all related government agencies who support students and teachers

Baltimore City teachers have the greatest challenge in the state. It is a disgrace that they are compensated at such a low level and thrown into the classroom with poor instructional support.

And an alarming percentage of Baltimore's students live in drug, crime, lead and rat infested homes and in violent, ugly neighborhoods.

The state needs to focus on the Baltimore schools' primary unit of instruction: the student and the teacher -- and support them through better compensation and a more effective network of services.

Education is the student's ticket to a better life. By supporting that ticket, we also strengthen Baltimore and the state.

Claudia Brown


Writing as someone without health insurance who grew up in a low-income family, I think the General Assembly should consider poverty its No. 1 priority.

For all the talk about a "booming economy," thousands of Marylanders cannot board the gravy train.

Politicians who would rather ignore the priorities of citizens left out of the boom -- gaining access to quality health care and education, addressing income disparities and creating a sustainable economy that works for everyone -- need a reality check.

"Eliminating welfare as we know it" was a bipartisan attack on the poor. Instead, why not eliminate poverty as we know it?

This has to start with trickle-up economics. Why not start with a living wage job, with transportation and child care for all?

Legislators must ignore corporate lobbyists and focus on alleviating the pain of the poorest citizens.

Otherwise, the problems of addiction, child and spousal abuse, failed schools, homicidal streets, hunger, low-wage work, overcrowded courts and jails and violence will worsen.

Max Obuszewski


Politicians and economists like to say we were in a "recession" and now are in a "booming economy."

On the national, state and local level, I believe that the No. 1 priority in these "good" times should be to restore all those cuts allegedly forced on us in the "bad" times.

As part of that, and to restore the health of the Mass Transit Administration, the 50 percent farebox recovery mandate should be eliminated -- or at least reduced to the national average of 35 percent.

Harry E. Bennett Jr.


A very high priority for state lawmakers should be the passage of a "Project Exile" style bill, which would require that all felons caught with firearms be prosecuted under federal laws and, if convicted, sentenced to a minimum of five years in an out-of-state federal prison.

In Richmond, Va., Project Exile cut violent crime in half. In Maryland, Project Exile would undoubtedly deter gun-toting felons from using their guns -- and gun-toting felons commit most violent crimes, including the more than 300 homicides in Baltimore last year.

Not nearly as high a priority is our state bird, the Baltimore Oriole, which is about to lose its genre because its females are so promiscuous.

The legislature should do something about this -- I mean, given family values and all.

Tom Gill

North Beach

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