Letters To The Editor


October 30, 2003

Chance to offer hospitality to people in need

I am disappointed with state Sen. Nancy Jacobs' comments suggesting that a transitional housing program would imperil families and older residents ("Abingdon residents seek to block shelter," Oct. 23). Her insensitive comments only encourage negative and ill-informed attitudes.

People who are homeless are often the victims of economic issues - loss of jobs, inadequate education, illness or disability. Some have had problems with substance abuse, but to be in a transitional program they must be in recovery and remain in that situation.

Men in a transitional program must be self-sufficient financially. Having staff available to assist with issues helps provide a stable environment while these men work, save their money and move into independence. How can this be considered a risk?

I have had the opportunity to work with poor and homeless individuals for 14 years. Many of these men have been guests in our home and have become friends with our children. They have been welcomed in our church.

Perhaps Ms. Jacobs and the families of Abingdon should consider this situation an opportunity to be hospitable to those in need.

Ridge Pilcher

Havre de Grace

Shelter threatens residential area

As a social worker who has delivered food and clothing to the homeless on numerous occasions, I agree that there is a need for a permanent shelter for the homeless in Harford County ("300 Abingdon residents oppose homeless shelter at meeting," Oct. 24). However, I do not believe a shelter should be in any residential neighborhood.

Many homeless people are dealing with issues such as mental illness, drug addiction and alcoholism, and they need professional care and support.

The plan to establish a transitional homeless shelter in the Long Bar Harbor community would put the men, women and children of our community at risk. It would also decrease the value of our homes, because it would become increasingly difficult to sell one's home if it is located near such a shelter.

Zoning regulations in Harford County need to be changed to allow homeless shelters in nonresidential areas.

Christopher Rudolf


Liberty Road plan holds little promise

The Urban Design Assistance Team's plan for Liberty Road is pure nonsense ("An identity for Randallstown," Oct. 23). It is a cosmetic "feel good" plan of the sort architects and planners propose when they have no power over commercial development.

Over the last 40 years, developers have controlled the design of the corridor. Without their cooperation to bring some design unity, the whole plan is useless. And it's ironic that Baltimore County is backing this effort. The developers were only following the zoning regulations the county's planning department set.

The planners who could have set design guidelines back then are responsible for the sprawl and ugliness in Randallstown.

Charles Belfoure


The writer is an architect and co-author of The Baltimore Rowhouse.

Break the stalemate on drugs for seniors

The congressional stalemate that has been holding a Medicare prescription drug bill hostage for two months is a national disgrace ("Lawmakers inching closer on Medicare overhaul bill," Oct. 25).

Surely the Bush administration, which pushed through an $87 billion appropriation to finance the reconstruction of Iraq, can find a solution to the problem of helping America's neediest elderly citizens.

To fail to do so would be a gross reminder of the priorities of this administration and of our Congress.

Albert E. Denny


Energy bill is step in wrong direction

I just finished reading Mike Tidwell's excellent column "Fossil fuel folly" (Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 27), and for the first time in my life, I am angry enough to write a letter to the editor.

Why am I angry? The proposed national energy bill before Congress is a travesty.

I do not want my tax dollars used for $19 billion in corporate giveaways to the oil, coal and natural gas industries. I do not want to pay for an expensive and archaic energy plan, especially in light of the budget deficit of nearly $500 billion projected for next year.

Most important, I do not want to fund fossil fuels when our nation needs to be moving in the direction of renewable energy sources for the sake of our health, economy, national security and environment.

Polly Roberts


Driving from York wastes time, energy

It is ill-advised and short-sighted to hype the idea of moving 50 miles north to York, Pa., to save money on housing ("Low-cost York is attracting Baltimoreans," Oct. 26).

Twenty-eight years ago, when Interstate 83 was still a peaceful drive, I lived inexpensively in southern York County and took a job in Baltimore. The cost of gas, the stress of driving and the drastic reduction in both my time at home and my quality of time at home (I was exhausted) were enough to persuade me to move to Baltimore as soon as possible.

I still bless the day I made that decision.

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