Moving the poor closer to jobs in the suburbs In the...


February 27, 2000

Moving the poor closer to jobs in the suburbs

In the Jan. 28 Sun, Howard County Sen. Martin Madden indicated both a clear understanding of the issues and that he is willing to give leadership to the next step in welfare reform.

The real fix for welfare is getting people into the jobs they need and that need them located in the suburbs.

Metropolitan transportation systems are inadequate. Senator Madden's proposed legislation would have created the opportunity for low-income Baltimore residents to acquire adequate housing in Howard County and elsewhere. This would be advantageous to all counties because of tax revenues generated by new businesses created or existing ones made more profitable because they gained improved access to the lower wage work force now residing in Baltimore.

We applauded the senator for his initiative but within a few days the newspaper reported that Senator Madden had dropped his proposal because of opposition within the General Assembly:

Mr. Madden, the Senate Republican leader, didn't have the support of Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, a Baltimore County Democrat and committee chair. "I think the last thing we should be doing is advocating people moving out of the city. You can't support a city without people from all walks of life," Senator Bromwell said.

Senator Bromwell's "head in the sand" statement reflects that be doesn't understand the need for a regional solution to the problem of welfare reform. Suburban counties that do not provide affordable housing for low-income people are doomed to see an eventual decline in their economic viability. He doesn't understand that you can't support a suburban county without people from all walks of life --including the low-income wage earners now trapped in Baltimore by attitudes such as his.

Senator Madden needs to get his courage back up and press this fight in the General Assembly, wilh the support of the Howard County delegation and others.

The Rev. Robert Turner,Columbia

The writer is president of the African American Coalition of Howard County.

Another golf course isn't needed in county

I was surprised to read in your Feb. 13 article "CA' s golf courses are short on green" that Gary Arthur, director of the county's Department of Recreation and Parks considers our area to be undersupplied with golf courses.

The golf course study commissioned by Mr. Arthur's department states that county's golfers are already "exceptionally well served" due to the numerous new, high quality public-access golf course in the greater Baltimore-Washington area."

In addition, "a number of attractive new public-access golf courses are presently under construction in the region, and others are moving forward through the planning process."

Not only is the new course likeIy to be a money-losing proposition, like the CA's courses, but golf courses put a tremendous burden on the watershed - in terms of excess fertilizers and pesticides, and in their impact on the water table, endangering water supplies to wells and streams. They also typically use four to seven times as much pesticide as agriculture, on a pound-per-acre basis.

Most critically, these chemically-dependent recreation areas are responsible for deforestation, loss of habitat, and contamination of our most precious natural resources.

Most gallingy, they are also exempted from water restrictions during periods of drought. In short, we do not need another public golf course in this county.

Lee Walker Oxenham, Ellicott City

Should taxpayer funds help non-public schools?

Re: The editorial department's Question of the Month, featured on the Saturday Mailbox page: "Should parochial schools receive taxpayer support?"

Although I am a parent of a child in private school, I am utterly opposed to state funds supporting private schools, for reasons both practical and of principle. Our public schools still lack much, particularly in Baltimore City and our poorer counties. Even in more prosperous areas, public education falls short. My daughter, for example, attends a private school for the learning disabled -- at my expense --because Howard County cannot give her an appropriate education.

Parents who send their children to private scllools have chosen to step outside Maryland's education system and have no more right to claim tax unfairness than a non-driver has to protest the cost roads.

Like our roads, our public school system benefits everyone of us, whether or not we have children attending it. Free, high-quality public schools are the foundation of our democracy, the engine of our future and one of the few places Americans of all races, religions,and heritages share experience.

I lament recent court decisions that have allowed tax dollars to fund some activities in parochial schools. It is vital that a Bard line be redrawn between government and religion; as the United States becomes more religiously diverse, the ability of dominant religions to influence government spending will become increasingly divisive.

Al McKegg, West Friendship

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.