Letters To The Editor


July 23, 2006

Do more to create low-income housing

The Sun is right to caution readers about the downside of Baltimore's recent housing boom ("The housing crunch," editorial, July 17).

Although federal cuts in housing funds over the past 30 years are mostly responsible for the paucity of affordable housing, the skyrocketing private market continues to displace many lower-income residents.

And while we support the recommendations of the Baltimore City Task Force on Inclusionary Zoning and Housing, they would do little to help low-wage workers and people with disabilities.

The recommendations would create some affordable units for households earning $43,000 per year and above; this support for "workforce housing" is good news for teachers, firefighters and the employees of nonprofit agencies such as Health Care for the Homeless.

The clients of these agencies, however, would be out of luck.

Those paid Baltimore's living wage of $9.06 per hour earn less than half the income necessary to take advantage of this workforce housing. Minimum-wage workers earn less than one-third.

To assist our most vulnerable neighbors with housing, we advance two proposals:

First, target the entire affordable housing trust fund to households earning $43,000 or below and half of it to those earning less than $20,000 (as the rules are written, much of the fund could be used to assist those earning more than $80,000 per year).

Second, implement a one-for-one replacement policy for all publicly owned affordable units lost to market-rate redevelopment throughout the city.

City Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young is correctly concerned about Baltimore becoming "a city of haves and have-nots" ("Pricing workers out?" July 11).

But without strong public policies that maintain and increase the supply of affordable housing - stronger and deeper than those recommended by the task force - Baltimore is destined to remain a city of the housed and the homeless.

Jeff Singer Kevin Lindamood Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, the president and CEO and a vice president for Health Care for the Homeless Inc.

Old age isn't what disqualifies Schaefer

It is time to stop indulging state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer and tolerating his offensive public comments about women, minorities, immigrants and AIDS sufferers ("Schaefer refuses to issue apology," July 19).

On the television news the other day, I watched him refuse to apologize for what his staffers called "misspeaking" about Korean-Americans and go on to insult a Sun reporter, calling her a "little girl" and complaining that "she's never been nice to me."

Polls indicate that some Marylanders feel that Mr. Schaefer may be "too old" for public office ("Schaefer not far ahead of rivals," July 19).

Whatever his age, it is his archaic world view that is the problem.

Lane Zawacki


No need to apologize for a simple error

State Comptroller William Donald Schaefer made an honest mistake about North and South Korea ("Schaefer refuses to issue apology," July 19).

However, he usually hits the mark, and I agree with him that if you live and work and pay taxes in the United States, you should learn to speak the language - English.

I don't think Mr. Schaefer has anything to apologize for.

Grace Y. Jones


Hypocrisy vitiates reverence for life

In vetoing the stem cell research bill, President Bush has shown just how much of a hypocrite he is ("Leaving stem cell politics behind," July 20).

He's willing to protect embryos while sending thousands of fully developed fetuses (soldiers in Iraq) to their deaths over some mythical weapons of mass destruction.

The president is entitled to his beliefs. But they should at least be consistent.

Michael J. Drnec

Ellicott City

Adult stem cells help patients today

It is dismaying that so much coverage is given to Johns Hopkins researchers who have used a mixture of embryonic and adult stem cells to restore movement to paralyzed rats ("No place to hide," editorial, July 18).

This is hardly news when adult humans with spinal cord injuries are being treated with non-embryonic stem cells - cells obtained from the patients' nasal passages.

Some of these individuals are now walking with the aid of braces. And no human embryos were killed to treat them.

When are the media going to end their love affair with embryonic stem cells and start covering the extraordinary breakthroughs occurring using non-embryonic stem cells?

It will be a long time, if ever, before embryonic stem cells prove to be as medically useful as adult stem cells.

Nancy E. Paltel


The writer is associate director of the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Israeli withdrawal is the path to peace

The war in the Middle East seems to have resurrected the "poor little Israel" myth both with the American people and our media ("Amid death, Lebanon cries truce," July 20).

Israel is seen by many people as victimized by terrorists in spite of doing the right thing by withdrawing from Gaza.

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