Letters To The Editor


October 11, 2002

Displacing poor leaves have-nots further behind

At least a few public officials involved in the fabled redevelopment of the city's west side no longer mince words about the true intent of this brand of urban renewal.

Sun writer Scott Calvert records their hope for "a safe, clean area where middle-class residents live in hundreds of renovated apartments, eat at new restaurants, stroll down the street ... and take in shows." This, of course, will replace an area that "still bustles" with an existing network of retail establishments catering to "a mostly poor clientele" ("Celebrating work in progress," Oct. 2).

Translation: The poor are unwanted here. Nor, it seems, are they wanted anywhere else.

Some proponents of west-side initiatives tout the myth that attracting the middle- and upper-classes back to the core of Baltimore is the only way to improve the lot of the most vulnerable -- that a rising tide, in fact, lifts all boats.

This myth is clearly debunked by national income disparity data documenting the ever-widening rift between the rich and poor, even during prosperous times.

The myth is further refuted by local policies that ensure massive reductions in the city's affordable housing supply in targeted "redevelopment" areas with no evidence that lost units are replaced elsewhere in the city.

Until public policies lift all boats -- by ensuring adequate housing, health care and incomes for poor Baltimoreans -- urban renewal projects such as those on the west side will result in a larger pool for the haves, but leave the have-nots firmly stuck in the mud.

Kevin Lindamood


The writer is chief external affairs officer for Health Care for the Homeless.

Cover all candidates running for governor

I'm very disappointed in the directive from Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend that her supporters not "attend demonstrations that would be disrespectful to Mr. Bush" ("Bush's visit helps Ehrlich campaign raise $1.8 million," Oct. 3).

What message does that send to citizens? That we should forgo our First Amendment rights to assemble and voice disagreement with the administration?

With Democratic candidates rolling over and playing dead this way, it's no wonder Ms. Townsend is at risk of coming up short in an election that should be hers to lose.

In the same day's Sun, I read about how many Maryland voters are uninspired by both major-party candidates ("Undecided say choices fail to motivate them," Oct. 3). Those voters might be interested in considering a third-party candidate, but it's unlikely they've seen evidence that anyone is in the race except Ms. Townsend and Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Please, do readers the service of fully educating them about all the candidates in such an important election.

Janet Little


Recession isn't cause of state budget woes

It is laughable that Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's team -- which was part of an administration that increased the state's budget by 60 percent during Gov. Parris N. Glendening's eight-year tenure, wiped out the surplus and leaves a $1.7 billion shortfall -- is now blaming the recession ("Townsend ensnared in budget Catch-22," Sept. 23).

Who is kidding whom?

Jacqueline Laskey

Ocean Pines

Violence won't solve conflict with Iraq

It's hard to see how anyone in Congress who reads Helen Caldicott's description of the pain, suffering, deformity and death caused by U.S. weapons used in Desert Storm could vote for more of the same ("The spoils of war," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 6).

The ongoing effects of depleted uranium are known to cause cancer in lungs, bones, blood and kidneys, with children 10 to 20 times more vulnerable than adults. And American soldiers are not immune to the poisons of such horrendous weapons of destruction.

The simple fact is that violence against Iraq begets more violence. It is the worst possible answer to a problem that requires patience, intelligence, compassion and restraint.

Susan Macfarlane


Networks should run presidents' speeches

I was angry to see that none of the three major television networks broadcast the president's address to the nation. I find it highly irresponsible, not to mention disrespectful, for the major media outlets to choose advertising dollars over the president.

Regardless of party affiliation, if our president is addressing the nation for any reason -- even if it's about something as trivial as McDonald's new Happy Meal -- it should be broadcast.

I applaud Channel 11 for its decision to make special arrangements to air the address.

Tricia Wilson


Did war obsession spawn the sniper?

Is it just a coincidence that the recent rifle shootings near me seem to encircle our nation's capital?

Given the country's current obsession with war, it's no surprise that the epicenter of our rage would spill over and inspire a madman to random acts of horrifying violence.

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