Bushs pandering to the religious right demeans campaign...


March 04, 2000

Bushs pandering to the religious right demeans campaign

I'm a life-long Republican who was horrified by Texas Gov. George W. Bushs recent appearance at Bob Jones University (GOP inevitability punctured, Feb. 23).

Bob Jones University is a bastion of Ku Klux Klan-style bigotry. It forbids inter-racial dating and a university president has publicly referred to the Catholic Church as a satanic cult

Why would Mr. Bush, a self-described moderate and compassionate conservative ever speak there? It is quite simple: Mr. Bush is eager to pander to his partys most extremist elements to win votes.

What's next for Mr. Bush? A campaign stop at a Klan or skinhead rally, perhaps?

Voters should reject Mr. Bush and his close-minded associates as dangerous, divisive and destructive.

Mike McGonigle


Why am I not surprised that William F. Buckley defends Texas Gov. George W. Bushs visit to Bob Jones University as a harmless campaign appearance (Bush and Bob Jones: so what? Opinion Commentary, Feb. 24)?

Mr. Buckley accuses Mr. Bushs detractors of seeking political advantage by attacking the appearance at Bob Jones. But wasnt that appearance made for the very same reasons?

Politicians cant have it both ways. There was nothing high-minded about that campaign stunt.

It revealed more about Mr. Bush than Mr. Buckley is willing to admit -- and no amount of hollow argumentation in an attempt to make the oddities of Bob Jones University seem normal and everyday is going to change that.

Charles Rammelkamp


Balto. County master plan furthers trend to regionalism

The Suns editorial on the Baltimore County Master Plan neglected to mention one very significant matter: The inclusion in it of a strong statement of support for regional cooperation, including dozens of proposed action items to pursue in cooperation with neighboring jurisdictions (Adding life to master plan, Feb. 23).

The inclusion of this statement was the subject of a vigorous county council debate on Feb. 22.

Ultimately, council members unanimously concluded that collaborative regional strategies are the only way to address critical issues facing the county, since so many of the countys challenges cross jurisdictional lines.

Baltimore Countys decision to incorporate into its long-range plan a commitment to regionalism mirrors Howard Countys 1999 A United Vision report, which included a strong statement about the crucial role of regional approaches in ensuring future quality of life.

The serious consideration accorded to cooperative regional strategies in county long-range plans indicates a shift in the political climate in metropolitan Baltimore, offering hope that jurisdictions may rise above their parochial concerns and chart a common future.

The next step is to follow the example of the many other metropolitan areas that have created a regional vision for long-term growth and development.

If we are to put these commitments to regional cooperation to the test, creation of a shared regional vision is a critically important next step.

Alfred W. Barry III


The writer chairs the Citizens Planning and Housing Associations Committee on the Region .

FHAs foreclosure policy devastates neighborhoods

It takes a long time to kill a neighborhood, but the earliest sign of its decline is the first Federal Housing Authority (FHA)-foreclosed house resold at auction to an absentee landlord.

Since March 1999, the FHA has been taking back in foreclosure 500 houses a month in Maryland, mostly in Baltimore City and Prince Georges County.

FHAs policy is to sell its failures as is rather than repair the houses, which would make them attractive to new homeowners. This policy has been a disaster for cities like Baltimore.

In 1995 Baltimores Circuit Court registered 1,900 petitions to foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process. In 1999 the court registered over 5,000 petitions. This represents one foreclosure for every two real estate sales in the city.

In the late 1980s FHA began allowing lenders to underwrite their FHA loans. Prior to that FHA reviewed each loan.

In 1995 FHA also began allowing lenders to choose their own appraisers. Previously, the FHA had chosen an appraiser from a list of FHA-approved appraisers.

In Baltimore FHA lenders grew from 58 in 1994 to 107 in 1999; FHA loans grew during this same period from 2,376 to 3,821, or about 40 percent of the city market.

Vincent P. Quayle


The writer is executive director of the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center.

Preserving its elegant past can help revitalize the city

A resounding yes to letter writers Edwin V. Avent (Support for small business is welcome and wise, Feb. 22) and Sister Marie Vincent (Need to preserve west side merits continued attentions, Feb. 22).

Historic preservation and saving minority-owned businesses are two ways to make Baltimore a place of rebirth.

How will we entice tourists to visit and encourage county residents to move back to the city?

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