Dividing county from city moves state backward The new...


July 02, 2002

Dividing county from city moves state backward

The new redistricting plan is awful ("Court revises political map," June 22).

Forget about the issue of holding onto Baltimore's political power. Many organizations have studied the city's ills only to find that they extend into the surrounding counties. Districts that cut across jurisdictional boundaries are necessary for state senators and delegates to develop innovative ways of eliminating problems with transportation, poverty, affordable housing and employment issues.

Anyone with vision can see that cities are at the center of regional problems, not the cause of them. Sprawl has spread social problems into the counties.

While the redistricting plan satisfies some elected officials and not others, the real losers are citizens hoping for fair and adequate representation. Baltimore City disproportionately carries the burden of the state's poor. The new districts will tie the hands of Baltimore legislators by weakening their presence in Annapolis.

And the regional solutions sought by many to the state's problems with transportation and affordable housing will be difficult to come by as the Baltimore region gets split into "us" and "them."

Jurisdictions share problems; they should share solutions as well. One solution has been the Baltimore County-Baltimore City legislative districts. Eliminating them is a step backward for the state.

Aimee Darrow


Cutting off Essex hurts the community

Once again Essex gets the short end of the stick. Maryland's highest court split Essex from Middle River, Chase, Bowleys Quarters, Oliver Beach, Harewood Park and West Twin Rivers, and put Essex in the same legislative district with Dundalk.

I admit that splitting Dundalk into four legislative districts, as was the case under the governor's plan, was unfair. However, natural boundaries such as the Back River are supposed to be observed in drawing boundaries.

This not a Democratic issue nor a Republican issue. This is a community issue. And splitting Essex from Middle River and surrounding neighborhoods hurts the community.

Paul M. Blitz


No excuse for delay in posting warnings

It is unconscionable that Baltimore County and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) knew of the toxic contamination of certain fish caught in the Back River and eaten by the public for six months before it managed to post warning signs ("Signs on fish not yet posted," June 20).

How many children and pregnant women were unnecessarily put at risk by this delay?

The MDE's excuse that the delay was because of bureaucratic disagreements on the wording of the signs is unacceptable. This is a public health issue, and someone in authority should have promptly solved questions about wording and had the signs posted.

Kenneth B. Lewis


Bereano's behavior won't hurt party

Contrary to what some commentators are saying, Bruce Bereano's recent troubles do not at all reflect badly on Maryland Democrats ("Charmed so far, but challenge awaits," Opinion

Commentary, June 23).

In 1998, Mr. Bereano was a strong supporter of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey. And, on behalf of the tobacco companies, Mr. Bereano fought the Glendening-Townsend administration's successful efforts to reduce teen-age smoking.

Any ethical lapses by Mr. Bereano reflect badly only on himself - and on those such as the tobacco companies that use him as a front man.

Vincent DeMarco


IRS is right to tax estimated cash tips

The Sun's article about the IRS' ability to estimate payroll taxes on cash tips points out a serious problem - cash businesses often don't pay their fair share not only of Social Security and Medicare taxes, but also federal and state income taxes ("IRS can estimate payroll tax on cash tips, high court rules," June 18).

I have heard many a waiter and waitress brag about how he or she makes several hundreds of untaxed dollars in a shift.

And we are so conditioned to giving tips (even if the service is bad) that we leave somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent of the bill on the table. To have the servers not report that as income is a burden on our system of taxation.

If a service charge were added to the bill instead, at least the government would get its fair share.

Who knows, if we collect what is due, we might even get some tax relief.

Jerome Steinberg

Owings Mills

Change our attitudes about recycling

When I read the article on reactions to Baltimore's new recycling policies ("Recycle rules cause gripes" June 17) and the June 24 letters on that topic, I realized it's time to adjust our overall thinking about recycling.

First, let's stop equating what we recycle with trash. The paper, cans, bottles and plastics are valuable resources, not garbage. They are reprocessed into new, usable products.

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