State will work harder to promote plumbing program The...


March 12, 2001

State will work harder to promote plumbing program

The Sun's article "Sparer side of suburban life: homes without running water," (Feb. 25) focused on the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) Indoor Plumbing Program and the plight of Marylanders who struggle without this basic amenity. I applaud The Sun's efforts to raise awareness of this issue; however, I must clarify some aspects of the article.

DHCD cares deeply about serving the people of Maryland in a responsive and responsible manner. Anything short of that is simply not acceptable.

In fact, in fiscal year 2000 our various housing programs financed more than 900 affordable housing units for Maryland families and helped almost 3,000 families purchase or rehabilitate their homes.

In 1986, the Indoor Plumbing Program was created to help low-income residents install, repair and replace indoor plumbing. DHCD administers the program by partnering with local housing and social service officials who are more aware of the needs in their area.

In most situations, indoor plumbing is only part of the problem. Additional repairs are often necessary to bring the homes up to livable standards. Many of these projects are funded through the larger Maryland Housing Rehabilitation Program (MHRP).

So, while it might appear that the Indoor Plumbing Program is under-utilized, many more homes receive assistance, including installation of indoor plumbing, through MHRP. Since 1997, the two programs have closed approximately 500 loans totaling almost $10 million.

We recognize the importance of a pro-active outreach effort. Despite our efforts, it is clear that we have been unable to reach all those in need.

We can, and will, work harder with our local government and nonprofit service provider partners to promote the Indoor Plumbing Program and all our programs.

Raymond A. Skinner


The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

Enabling retirees to teach would ease teacher shortage

It didn't take long for the Maryland House of Delegate's Ways and Means Committee to kill Del. David Boschert's that would have made it easier for retired people to become teachers.

The bill would have helped alleviate the growing teacher shortage in Maryland by allowing retirees to become teachers right away, provided that they satisfy state requirements within four years.

You would think that such a sensible plan would gain bipartisan support and sail through the legislature. But the Democratic-controlled legislature would not allow the public benefit from something that was sure to be opposed by one of the party's special-interest groups and major contributors, the teachers unions.

I support better pay for teachers and more control over their classrooms. But a union is concerned, first and foremost, with its members' needs. I say we put the needs of our children first.

Warren Sandberg

Severna Park

The term `redskin' is an offensive slur

I couldn't agree more with Richard Regan that the term "redskin" is violent, ugly and offensive ("Indian advocate urges Redskins to drop name," March 1).

Even the dictionary lists "redskin" as an offensive term.

It amazes me that using this using kind of racial slur as a name for a sports team has been permitted for so long in a country that is supposed to be "politically correct" in dealing with races and cultures that are non-white.

While words such as "warrior" and "brave" can connote positive images, the term "redskin" will never be able to shed the stigma of its original meaning.

I therefore applaud Mr. Regan's efforts to have it banned from use in polite society and wish him much success.

Toni Johns


Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs member Richard Regan is correct, politically and otherwise, to urge Washington's football team to change its name.

Blatant racism institutionalized by an NFL franchise in our nation's capital is inexcusable.

William O. Miles


The time has come to clear stadium site ...

For 12 years developers have had opportunities to present viable suggestions for the redevelopment and reuse of the prominent 30 acre parcel that was Memorial Stadium. Except for Stadium Place, none has come forth.

The time for rhetoric is over. The time for action is here.

Let go of the pipe-dream of stadium re-use. Make the property available for Stadium Place development, as was promised by the city.

Clear the site, now.

John C. Nuttle


... and raze vacant homes that attract trash and drugs

There are three closely linked problems in Baltimore City - drugs, trash and rats - and their common denominator is abandoned houses. These problems overshadow the inherent charm of the neighborhoods that make Baltimore a unique place to live.

An abandoned house invites drug activity, dumping and rats and poses a fire hazard. It is a catastrophe waiting to happen - one sanctioned by the city.

The solution? Bring in the wrecking ball.

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