National trust fund could help secure affordable housing...


November 02, 2001

National trust fund could help secure affordable housing

Steven Soifer is right on target when he proposes creating an affordable housing trust fund to build and rehabilitate housing for low- and moderate-income people in Baltimore ("Create affordable housing trust funds in Baltimore," Opinion Commentary, Oct. 23). But I wish he had mentioned pending federal legislation to create a national housing trust fund.

The national fund would work in tandem with state and local affordable housing trust funds to make a difference nationwide. Sen. Paul Sarbanes is among the co-sponsors of the Senate bill to establish such a trust. Sen. Barbara Mikulski has not yet joined them.

For more than half a century, the federal government has committed itself to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing for all Americans. Recently, however, the supply of housing for very low-income families has been decreasing.

It's time to reverse that trend by establishing a housing trust fund at the national, as well as local, level.

Nancy B. Ferris

Chevy Chase

The writer is communications director for the National Low-income Housing Coalition.

Regulating rental property could stem urban blight

The editorial "Licensing rental housing" (Oct. 23) is on target. The Sun should be commended for supporting legislation pending in the Baltimore County Council to register and license rental properties.

A single-dwelling unit means just that, not one that can be subdivided into two or three units in violation of the law. Indeed the demise of fine neighborhoods in the city is in large measure because of inattentive landlords and the city's failure to restrict property conversions.

Members of the County Council doubtless have seen what has happened to city communities and do not want to see the county make the same mistakes.

Richard L. Lelonek


The president's record commands no praise

The Sun's assessment of President Bush as an effective leader is quite curious ("A commander in chief with real command," editorial, Oct. 18). In only nine months in office he has replaced peace and prosperity with war in the Middle East and recession.

To get even with a demented terrorist in an Afghan cave, he has resorted to a simple but devastating military solution. Of course the real victims are the innocent civilians whose lives are being shattered.

And even before the Sept. 11 tragedy his policies had swallowed up the prosperous economy he inherited. Instead, we are plagued by unemployment, falling profits and a national debt about to soar. And now he wants more tax breaks for giant corporations, while laid-off workers struggle to pay their bills.

It is hard to see how Mr. Bush has grown as a leader through the unsettling times he's created for us.

Paul E. Doutrich


Secret surveillance court helps prevent future attacks

I was pleased to read we have a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court in operation ("Secret U.S. court handed new power to fight terror," Oct 29).

In The Sun's article, professor David Cole asked, "But if we give up our principles, what are we fighting for?" My response to him (and the ACLU) is: to avoid a repeat of what happened on Sept. 11.

Marie Mullen


Using sampling distorts census for political purposes

The Sun's editorial regarding the census and sampling techniques is another misguided attempt to change the results of a simple, straightforward process for political ends ("Reverse the census decision," Oct. 25).

As with the Florida presidential vote recount, Democrats would like to count, recount and then count again, or in the case of the census, sample again, until they get the results they like.

An incredible amount of effort goes into the census counts. Should all of that effort be thrown out to get "fairer" results and "help the poor"? Why not just raise taxes and call it what it is?

To insist that a straightforward counting of heads is somehow punishing the poor is a typical distortion of facts. One plus one does not equal three; Sun politics do, however, equal hypocrisy.

J. Lawrence Mekulski


Reporting on Mideast mangles spelling, history

The Sun either needs a good spelling lesson, history lesson or religion lesson.

Jews were not massacred in "pograms" in the Ukraine but in pogroms ("Shapiro reaches Indians' top rung," Oct. 24). Christian and Muslim religious leaders calling for a cease-fire by both Israelis and Palestinians and an Israeli withdrawal from Bethlehem did not lead a march to "Manager" Square but to Manger Square ("Kindergarten room becomes haven from intense gunbattles," Oct. 24).

And referring to Israel as the "Jewish state" is misleading, as 19 percent of its people are Palestinian - mostly Muslims, but with a significant number of Christians, although both groups are second-class citizens there ("Mideast violence called threat to anti-terror fight," Oct. 24).

Michael F. Brown


City's sign law needs more lucid language

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