Housing program does little to benefit low-income buyers...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 05, 2001

Housing program does little to benefit low-income buyers

We've long looked for an opportunity to give kudos to the state for affordable housing policies that benefit the quarter of Baltimore's population that lives below the federal poverty line. Unfortunately, now isn't the time.

The state's $40 million, 4 percent mortgage program appears to benefit low-income, first-time homebuyers - such as a family of three with an income not exceeding $97,160 per year - but it clearly is unlikely to benefit those with the greatest housing need ("4% mortgage program launched," Oct. 24). Perhaps a lifetime income limit would more effectively target low-income Baltimoreans.

Rehabilitating certain neighborhoods is a fine idea, as is providing incentives that allow those neighborhoods to compete with attractive, suburban locales. But let's not pretend that this initiative meets the tremendous housing need of vulnerable people in Baltimore.

We look forward to a housing initiative that benefits the 48,000 Baltimore households with incomes less than one-third of this program's income cap, along with the additional 25,000 Baltimoreans who will experience homelessness this year.

Kevin Lindamood

Baltimore

The writer is director of public affairs for Health Care for the Homeless Inc.

Pension funds did better under Goldstein's supervision

The Sun's article on the problems of the state's pension system neglected to say that, under the watchful eyes of late Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein, the pension fund had a reputation for careful, prudent management ("State's pension system is ranked last among peers," Oct. 30).

Miss ya, Louie.

James A. Genthner

Baltimore

Until teachers' voices count, city children will languish

While I tend to agree with the Abell Foundation on teacher certification in city public schools ("Good training, good teachers - or maybe not," Oct. 24), I must correct an inaccurate impression. Teachers don't get to accept or reject foolish mandates. We either implement them or get threatened with poor evaluations.

Teachers are constantly blamed for these often-ridiculous ideas, which are touted for a while and supplanted by some new trendy notion.

We can keep blaming the teachers. It is always safer to put the blame on people who have no power or influence.

But until someone, somewhere decides to listen to the folks actually in the room with the kids, Baltimore will continue to turn out food-service workers and household help for the more privileged classes.

M. A. Callahan

Baltimore

The writer teaches special education in a Baltimore public school.

A pause for Ramadan would show our sincerity

Since our government declares that it is not against Islam, I hope that the bombing will not continue during Ramadan.

We should put our money where our mouth is - and, if we are not against Islam, cease bombing during that holy time.

Jo Torrey

Columbia

Arabs haven't respected the Jewish holy season

Recently, certain Islamic interests have been urging the United States to cease hostilities toward the Islamic state of Afghanistan during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins Nov. 17. It would be unfair to attack during this religious time, they contend.

Apparently the "rules of engagement" have changed. As recently as 1973, a coalition of Arab states contrived to orchestrate a sneak attack on Israel on the holiest day of the Jewish year. The goal of the Yom Kippur War was to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. The unprovoked attack was deliberately scheduled for Yom Kippur to catch Israel off guard.

How enlightening to see that such hostilities are now considered improper.

Iver Mindel

Cockeysville

Limiting coverage of war makes us resemble Taliban

Perhaps the scariest thing about the richest nation on earth making war on arguably the poorest is that it won't let the media cover that war.

In this case, at least both sides are in agreement: the Taliban bans Western media and the United States bans Western media from covering the war against Afghanistan.

The only difference is, the Taliban has an excuse. What's ours?

A. Robert Kaufman

Baltimore

Banning capture of females would improve crab harvest

I've noticed there are still complaints about the poor crab harvest ("State blue crab harvest remains near record low," Oct. 27). Yet I've seen many advertisements for steamed female crabs. How can crabbers expect the harvest to improve if they keep catching female crabs?

It seems to me that the logical thing to do for a better crab harvest is to make keeping female crabs illegal.

Nan B. Cockey

Lutherville

Let American manufacturers lead us out of the recession

Kudos to The Sun for excellent coverage of President Bush's recent visit to Dixie Packaging in Glen Burnie ("Presidential visit `as good as it gets,' " Oct. 25).

Managers at Dixie Packaging say that they spent $6 million on capital improvements last year. But how much of that went into American-made machinery? How much steel made at Sparrows Point is in those machines?

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