Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

June 25, 2005

ICC won't cure the congestion on our highways

It is refreshing to see an article that links land use to our growing traffic problems ("Siren song of cars and roads," June 19). Too often, how and where we build is not part of the transportation debate, despite its very real impact on congestion.

The Intercounty Connector is a good example of that problem. It will do nothing for regional congestion relief, while encouraging homes and jobs to be scattered across the areas between the Washington and Baltimore regions.

The result will be longer commutes and more congestion.

The most unfortunate misconception about the ICC is that it is "intended to relieve heavily burdened I-95 and the Washington Beltway."

Past ICC studies, and the current State Highway Administration ICC study, clearly show that the ICC would have no impact on congestion on these major regional highways.

What's worse is the ICC is the third-most-expensive transportation project in the United States and could use up 10 percent to 20 percent of all federal highway dollars that go to Maryland until 2025.

There is little doubt that $3 billion - the highway's cost with interest - could be better spent to help more people across Maryland.

Brian Henry

Chevy Chase

The writer is ICC alternatives campaign director for the Audubon Naturalist Society.

Democrats function as the party of hate

Recent remarks by Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (apologies notwithstanding) tell us a lot about the party from which they emanate ("Durbin apologizes for likening Guantanamo to Nazi camps," June 22).

Both Mr. Dean and Mr. Durbin are representatives of the Democratic Party. Their world views are cluttered by stereotypes and a bad reading of history.

When you demonstrate how little you know of history, stereotype others and cling to unjustifiable and pathological anger, you truly represent a party of hate.

Douglas B. Hermann

Parkville

Cakewalk in Iraq is now a quagmire

Where is Albert Einstein when we need him? Time and space are bending, and our nation is getting pinched at the crease.

Several years ago, we were told by President Bush and his team that the war in Iraq would be a cakewalk paid for by Iraq's oil revenues, and that Job One would be sweeping up all the flowers the Iraqis would be strewing in our path.

Now, after hundreds of billions of dollars have been thrown down that rat hole, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tells us that Iraq is a "generational commitment."

Translation: Hold our children and grandchildren close; we don't know when this will end ("No troop reduction seen for this year," June 22).

Did the Bush administration lie to us before the war, or was it simply incompetent once the war began?

Rich Levy

Cambridge

Addiction often key to homelessness

The Sun's article "City census finds a rise in homeless population" (June 13) reported that 40 percent of the people who participated in the homeless census are homeless because of a health problem.

While many addicts are not willing to identify or report their addiction or identify it as a health problem, my experience is that many of the health problems encountered, and the homelessness that results, stem from a root cause of addiction - either to drugs or alcohol or often both - that affects an addict's mental and physical health.

While affordable housing is an important need in Baltimore, the availability of and access to drug and alcohol addiction recovery and treatment programs are equally important.

An addict who is spending all of his or her money on drugs or alcohol, who is unable to become steadily and gainfully employed, is not going to be able to afford or maintain a residence no matter how "affordable" it is.

We must begin to address the primary root causes of homelessness, including addiction and mental illness, to truly make an impact in the lives of the majority of Baltimore's homeless.

Clare M. Gorman

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Baltimore Station, a residential recovery program for men.

Revive the old ways to help the indigent

With all the distressing news regarding the plight of abandoned and unsupervised children being held overnight or longer in business offices ("Children still being housed illegally in office building," June 15) or in questionable foster homes, as well as the uncounted numbers of homeless, indigent people roaming the streets in search of food and shelter, I would make one simple suggestion.

Have any of our social service or political leaders ever given thought of reverting back to the "old-fashioned" orphanages and almshouses?

Until recent decades, orphaned or abandoned children were housed in orphanages - where all of their basic needs were met. They went to public school with the rest of us kids. We were their friends, and vice versa. They had a stable, well-supervised environment and weren't thrown from one group home to another.

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