Benefits district hasn't curtailed crime or grime...


August 29, 2002

Benefits district hasn't curtailed crime or grime

Sharon Guida, lawyer and vice president of the Charles Village Community Benefits District (CVCBD), hit the nail right on the head when she calls those opposed to the CVCBD "malcontents." However, her description of this group as a "handful" is as deceptive as the claims the CVCBD has made regarding its success in fighting crime and grime in Charles Village over the past seven years ("Suit filed against Charles Village district," Aug. 20).

Because of this deception and the district's failure, a majority of Charles Villagers pray for an end to this disastrous experiment.

The CVCBD claims it has been instrumental in fighting crime. However, statistics show that Charles Village is one of the most crime-ridden communities in the Northern District.

According to the Baltimore Police Department's database, crime in Charles Village is consistently 25 percent higher than in neighboring communities.

And people who live in the community, and were there prior to the CVCBD, say crime has actually gotten worse.

Officials of the CVCBD have indicated to many in the community that their "crime team" will not even patrol the predominantly African-American Harwood area of Charles Village because it cannot ensure the safety of its unarmed security force. Harwood contributes approximately $40,000 to the CVCBD, nearly one-eighth of the tax receipts it collects, yet receives no protection from crime.

Grime is no better throughout Charles Village. The "clean team," as it is affectionately referred to by the CVCBD, seems nonexistent. And the city seems to have adopted a "Let Charles Village handle it" attitude to debris removal.

And now, to add insult to injury, city tax dollars will go to defend an organization widely opposed in Charles Village.

The CVCBD needs to be disbanded.

Fred Furney


Neighborhood surtax is worth the price

I am a homeowner in Charles Village and I was shocked to read about the lawsuit filed by a handful of my neighbors against the Charles Village Community Benefits District ("Suit filed against Charles Village district," Aug. 20).

I have been a resident of Baltimore for 20 years. I've lived in Mount Vernon, Hampden and Cedarcroft. When purchasing my home in Charles Village, I considered the district a major selling point.

I looked at houses in Charles Village in 1990 and 1993, prior to the authorization of the benefits district. Both times I dismissed the neighborhood, deciding that the houses were losing value and that crime was too high.

When it came time to purchase my third home, I considered moving to Baltimore County, but after extensive research, I decided on my house in Charles Village, which I purchased in June 2000.

In just two years my property's value has doubled. I'm extremely satisfied with the safety and sanitation services provided by the benefits district and would hate to see them disappear.

I feel that the $100 surtax I pay each year is well worth it.

Carol Westcott Baker


When will schools get air conditioning?

We are teachers in the Baltimore County schools. The headline "Judge orders air conditioning for 210 in city jail" (Aug. 23) sickened us. Where is a judge to order air conditioning for all the schools without it?

Many schools have neither air conditioning nor fans to alleviate the heat. How do people expect teachers and children to work and learn in this environment?

It is hard to have any sympathy for those who are accused of crimes against the very society they now expect to provide them with amenities it denies to children in its schools.

Does our legal system favor the accused criminals in our society over the children?

Amy Harris

Gail Margolis Pikesville

Hmmm ... A federal judge orders jail cells to be air conditioned. I wonder why no one orders public schools to be air conditioned?

Are we more concerned about the comfort and health of our state's accused criminals than of our children?

Karen W. Gronau

Perry Hall

Cruel punishment for the accused

I would like to remind the writer of the letter "Jail is intended to be unpleasant" (Aug. 19) that most of those subjected to the unbearable heat of the city's prison for women are people waiting to appear for their court date, who are probably in prison because they cannot come up with the amount needed to post bail.

They are still innocent until proved guilty.

The unbearable heat is a torture no innocent person should have to endure.

Collin G. Fennell


Evangelical message feeds hungry souls

The writer of "Worship, etc., on a grand scale" (Aug. 17) never addressed the crucial factor in the popularity of the churches. Or maybe she didn't get it.

The churches don't draw people because they have McDonald's next door. It isn't the amenities that bring the people. The amenities are there to serve the people already coming to the church.

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