Letters To The Editor


April 03, 2006

County must replace low-income housing

I read with concern reporter Laura Barnhardt's article on Baltimore County's plan to purchase York Park Apartments ("Project called key to revival," March 27).

Other blighted tracts of low-income housing have been purchased and torn down by Baltimore County in the past several years: 300-plus units at Kingsley Park, 700-plus units at Riverdale Apartments, and a number of units at the Village of Tall Trees.

Not one unit of affordable housing lost to revitalization has been replaced.

I am not defending the beauty of this lost housing, only its utility. None of these complexes was a good place to live; they were scarred by poverty and its spawn: drug addiction, crime, domestic violence, etc.

The parks and open spaces that have replaced these housing developments and the community involvement in planning these projects are positive efforts. But where will low-income county dwellers reside?

To be fair, the county faces the same huge cutbacks from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that the rest of the country faces.

But Baltimore County must address the need for affordable housing that is not concentrated in any one area and is close to major business corridors.

Our low-income neighbors are members of our communities.

These families, disabled adults and fixed-income elderly people need housing more than any of us need a new park.

Lauren Siegel

Owings Mills

The writer is a board member of INNterim Housing Corp., a transitional housing program for homeless families.

Political posturing on city schools mess

What a shameful editorial about the state of Maryland seeking to take over 11 Baltimore schools ("Fundamentally wrong," editorial, March 30).

The city school system has for decades miserably failed its students. The move to take over these schools is no surprise.

State schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick has been telling the Baltimore schools for several years now that if they continue to fail their students, the state would have to step in.

Well, Baltimore continued to fail its students, and now Mayor Martin O'Malley and city schools CEO Bonnie S. Copeland want to try and make it a political issue by saying what a tragedy it is that the 11 schools won't be city schools anymore and by threatening court and legislative action.

Their focus continues to be on their own political well-being, not the students. Unfortunately, that seems to be what we can expect of politicians.

But how does The Sun weigh in?

By publishing an editorial that focuses on its own political agenda of attacking the governor rather than on improving the future for students at these schools.

This is a question of the future of these children.

The Sun should stop being part of the problem by venting its political animosities.

J. Shawn Alcarese


Money isn't reason city schools fail

Why is it that every time there is a crisis in the city school system, the cries start for more funding ("Delay sought in school takeover," March 31)?

The problem with Baltimore's schools isn't financial; it is a poorly managed, wasteful bureaucracy and a lack of parental involvement.

The state can't solve the problems of the parents. But it may be able to solve the management problem.

It's obvious that the city cannot.

Keith DiNardo


Find humane ways to treat newcomers

There has to be a more humane way to improve the immigration laws ("Senate postpones debate on immigration proposals," March 29).

What happened to the country where my grandparents were allowed to come?

Why can't this government make it easier for hardworking immigrants who are willing to do work we don't want to do to legally work here?

Treating them as criminals is so wrong. And since when have we considered making it illegal to help those in need?

What are we becoming in this country?

Joan Gugerty


Alternatives to war not fully explored

In the commentary about whether the decision to go to war in Iraq was right, I think there is a kind of an implicit assumption that the choice was between war and doing nothing.

Putting the choice in these terms ignores all the possibilities of creative diplomacy to create "regime change," most likely through a strategy of containment.

Shibley Telhami was right to argue that before risking the catastrophe of the disintegration of a society and the inability to control events going to war can cause, options for more orderly change should have been tried ("Challenge bigger than Iraq," Opinion*Commentary, March 26).

War should be a last resort, only after all else fails.

Yet it seems, as more and more information is revealed, that the Bush administration never gave any real thought to options other than war.

This is a testament not only to the lack of intelligent policy but also to the sin of arrogance.

What is done is done, and we now are left with little choice but to do whatever we can to avert chaos in Iraq.

But as Mr. Telhami says, the lesson is bigger than Iraq.

Martin Berdit


More trees can ease the summer heat

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