Subsidized housing can help areas and beneficiaries flourish
I am disturbed by the uneven coverage The Sun has given the Housing Authority of Baltimore City's plans to relocate families from the public housing high-rises that the city has demolished.
Two recent articles on the story have noted the concerns of community residents that their property values would drop ("City's plan on housing is attacked," Sept. 21, and "Neighbors air fears over plan for poor," Sept. 25). Responsible journalism would have noted that:
The settlement of the ACLU lawsuit requires that all new housing opportunities be in low-poverty neighborhoods, and the great majority of these will be in the counties that surround the city.
The housing authority requires tenants to participate in "tenant-readiness" training before moving to scattered-site or development-based public housing.
The housing authority continues to support families who move as a result of the high-rise demolitions.
Indeed, rehabbing HUD-foreclosed empty properties, occupying them and having a private management company manage them sounds to me like a way to improve the value of a community.
Also, if The Sun is going to keep mentioning the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program, it should get the facts straight.
The program enrolled about 1,000 families because it was a research program that intended to track families who were given different types of assistance. It never intended that more than 150 families be assisted, with counseling and support, to move to low-poverty neighborhoods.
Of the 150 families that moved to "opportunity areas," more than 60 percent relocated within Baltimore. The overwhelming majority are succeeding in new communities; several have left the Section 8 program to buy their own homes.
Perhaps the MTO program should be cited as a model of why the scattered-site replacement housing in northeast Baltimore will work, rather than why it won't.
The writer is a former director of the Moving to Opportunity program.
Why can't nice areas just be left alone?
Michael Olesker noted "Moving small numbers of the poor here, and smaller numbers there is an attempt to break up that culture [of poverty], and its isolating effects and its self-destructiveness" ("Northeast Baltimore is angry at wrong people," Sept. 26).
That should have read: "Moving small numbers of the poor here and smaller numbers there will increase crime, decrease property value and quickly change a middle-class neighborhood to another low-income area."
One family moves in, the rest move out because of fear and diminished property values. The neighborhood changes within a year. Soon the poor move on to a "better" neighborhood and the cycle continues.
Why can't nice neighborhoods be left alone? We work hard to live in them and deserve to live there.
Many of these public housing families who would move into northeast Baltimore do not have the knowledge or the income to maintain a home.
Is the city going to supply them with "housing etiquette"? Will the families have the income to maintain their homes?
Can the city promise that these families will take pride in their new home and not let its value diminish?
I fear the answer is no.
Gov. Bush's slogans reflect the substance of his program
The recent letters "Will the real Gov. Bush please stand up?" (Sept. 28) suggested that Texas Gov. George W. Bush has done nothing but reinvent himself since the Republican National Convention and claim that the term "compassionate conservative" is an oxymoron.
The three campaign slogans that Texas Gov. George W. Bush has used in his campaign ("compassionate conservative," "reformer with results" and "real plans for real people") accurately describe his style and plan for America.
"Compassionate conservative" is meant to dispel the myth that Republicans don't care about the middle class.
One could also accurately describe Mr. Bush as a "reformer with results," as he intends to restore dignity to a White House that has lacked integrity for nearly eight years. And Mr. Bush truly has real plans for real people.
I urge Marylanders to resist the scare tactics of this country's liberals. Conservative Republicans have integrity and care about and respect others.
A vote for Mr. Bush is a vote for improved public schools, tax cuts for middle-income families, increased medical benefits for seniors and a stronger national defense.
The shadow of a huge jail as Ruppersberger's legacy?
If the Coalition for Open Government fails to defeat Question C on the Baltimore County ballot, a 1,700-bed prison will loom over the neighborhoods of Towson ("Citizen groups team up to fight," Sept. 27).
In that case, I suggest we officially name the facility after County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger.
What a fitting tribute that would be to a man so obviously dedicated to community renewal.
World War II memorial would scar the national mall
My deceased father landed on Okinawa. My stepfather flew missions in Burma and was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. My uncles served on Guadalcanal, in Pacific submarines, at Anzio.
I think the idea of a World War II memorial is a fine thing -- and one that is long overdue.
But current plans call for the veterans of World War II to be "honored" with a huge and bombastic Stonehenge to be erected between the Lincoln and Washington memorials.
This will permanently disfigure the Mall in Washington.
Groundbreaking for this ugly travesty is scheduled for Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
So I encourage people to visit Washington soon, to appreciate one of America's most majestic vistas before it is ruined.
What a tragic legacy for the men and women who fought World War II -- to commemorate their service and sacrifice by scarring forever the landscape of their nation's capital.
Stephen R. Thurston