Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 24, 2004

Poor families will be harmed by subsidy cuts

The Sun's article "Struggling for a home" (Oct. 17) did a good job explaining the housing crisis facing some families in the Baltimore area. However, it did not mention the suddenly even more serious crisis that larger, low-income families who receive rental assistance face.

New, more restrictive Department of Housing and Urban Development limits on rental assistance for larger low-income families in the Baltimore metropolitan area will sharply reduce the amount of aid these families receive through the Section 8 voucher program.

FOR THE RECORD - Correction
A letter Sunday erroneously suggested that the Bush administration began negotiations for an arms deal with Poland two years before Sept. 11, 2001. In fact, those negotiations date back to the Clinton administration. The Sun regrets the error.

For the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, the HUD-established fair-market rent for three-bedroom homes in our area is $102 less than for the previous fiscal year. For four-bedroom units, the fair-market rent, on which payments to landlords are based, is $94 less than in fiscal 2004.

Families with children will bear the brunt of these changes, since they account for virtually all the households with vouchers who live in housing units with three or more bedrooms.

The Section 8 housing voucher program represents an effective partnership between the private sector, which builds and maintains the housing occupied by voucher holders, and the public sector, which provides a subsidy to make the housing affordable to low-income families.

This program has worked so well that its role in our system for providing affordable housing for low-income households in this country has expanded significantly over the years, and it is now the largest rental assistance program in the country.

Vouchers have also played a key role in relocating families affected by the revitalization of public housing in the city and the conversion of subsidized housing developments to market-rate housing throughout this region.

The reduction in maximum voucher payments will reduce the range of rental units affordable to families using vouchers.

Ruth Crystal Kitty Stierhoff Baltimore

The writers are co-chairs of the Baltimore City/Baltimore County League of Women Voters' Housing Committee.

Ruling on bear hunt an insult to activists

I am outraged by Prince George's County Circuit Judge Thomas P. Smith's refusal to grant an injunction to stop the black bear hunt until the state's exact number of bears can be determined ("Judge's ruling allows state bear hunt to begin Monday," Oct. 19).

Now not only do we have to tolerate the Department of Natural Resources' fuzzy math regarding the number of bears in the state, but we also have a judge who deals more in outdated marketing slogans than in coherent legal analysis.

A reference to a 20-year old hamburger commercial as a basis for Judge Smith's decision is an insult to those of us who have worked for months to bring the truth about this hunt to light.

We deserved more than a sound bite as a reason for this hunt to proceed.

Patrice Green

Parkton

Perhaps Asian oyster should be concerned

Why the concern over introducing the Asian oyster to the Chesapeake Bay ("U.S. calls for Asian oyster research," Oct. 16)?

We've destroyed our native oyster. Indeed, we have been unsuccessful in protecting it in spite of the expense of numerous studies, multiple laws and plans to alleviate the problem, and public relations efforts to educate the many states involved in maintaining and restoring the bay.

I think it is the Asian oyster that should be concerned.

Charles Layton

Easton

F-16 deal no bribe to get Poland to fight

The Sun's article "U.S. dollars wooed ally in Iraq coalition" (Oct. 17) did a great disservice to the Polish people.

The Bush administration commenced negotiating the $3.5 billion F-16 deal two years prior to Sept. 11, 2001. This was not a bribe to join the "coalition of the willing," but a loan to help Poland build a modern air force.

Sen. John Kerry's suggestion that Poland is part of a "coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted" is an insult to Poland. It fails to recognize that on Sept. 12, 2001, Poland was the first nation to declare war against terrorism and became one of America's staunchest allies.

Subsequently, Poland sent 2,500 troops to Iraq. These brave soldiers, who are daily putting their lives on the line, must be deeply offended to hear that their sacrifices are a result of coercion or a bribe.

Edward L. Rowny

Washington

The writer was a special adviser to President Ronald Reagan on arms control.

Deals with Poland come as no surprise

The Sun's article "U.S. dollars wooed ally in Iraq coalition" (Oct. 17) detailed another effort to gain international support for an invasion that most of the world felt was, at a minimum, misguided. I wish I was appalled, but it seems to be just more of the same.

Specifically, the article suggests that a multimillion-dollar bribe with accompanying "side deals" was offered to Poland for the ensuing commitment on that country's part to supply 2,500 troops for the war in Iraq. The United States also offered a $4 billion inducement to Turkey, but that country stayed out of the war.

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