Don't charge for appeals of assessments
As I see it, the recent administration proposal to charge a $25 fee to homeowners who appeal their property tax assessments is tantamount to rubbing salt in an open wound. Most of these people are appealing to the system as unfair, using a procedure provided by law to do so.
While I am aware that some of these appeals are a part of a tax revolt, I believe these people have a right to make a statement by appealing their assessment.
In 1989, of 30,000 appeals filed, 7,822 reached the appeals board. In 1990, of 55,000 appeals filed, 13,500 were brought before the board. Unfortunately, the state Property Tax Appeals Board had only budgeted for 7,500 appeals.
To address the problem, the administration came up with the bright idea of allowing the appeals board to charge fees to property owners seeking to appeal their assessments ' $25 for homeowners and $75 for commercial property owners has been suggested.
Let's face it, this is not a fee. It is a fine. The administration is seeking to discourage people from exercising their right to appeal their assessment by punishing them or fining them. This is as unconscionable as it is unprecedented.
I am hopeful the administration will have second thoughts about this ill-advised proposal and withdraw it from legislative consideration.
The writer represents the 10th Legislative District in the House of D Delegates.
In an article on the possibility of terrorist attacks in Baltimore (Evening Sun, Feb. 13), Peter Savage remarked about an "unreasonable fear of terrorists . . . poised to plant the high-tech, pressure-activated explosive in Goldilocks' picnic basket as she boards the plane to visit her grandmother."
Actually, Goldilocks was the inquisitive blonde who wandered into a woodland home and ate the food, broke the chair and slept on the bed belonging to the three bears.
It was Little Red Ridinghood who went to see her sick grandmother and was so bemused that she didn't realize that her grandmother had been replaced by a wolf.
Without commenting on little girls who can't recognize a wolf in Grandma's clothing, I just hope that Savage's assurances about Baltimore's safety from terrorist attack are more accurate than his memory of nursery tales.
Mary Ellen Elwell
Why they wait
Kirk S. Nevin's letter (Forum, Feb. 18) asks why Palestinians on the West Bank have yet to receive gas masks. Perhaps he overlooks the Palestinians' declaration of their so-called "Palestinian state," their determination to kill Jews no matter where or what age, their rejoicing at the Scud missiles, their calling for the destruction of Israel, their backing of Saddam Hussein and the international terrorism of their leaders, which they fully endorse.
Perhaps Nevin also thinks that the 300,000 Russian Jews coming to Israel are also racists, leaving a Utopia merely for the purpose of oppressing other people.
A mother's prayer
My son has gone overseas, and sleep is never the same. You wake to a world where the war is still going on, and it is not a bad dream; it is the reality we live with.
My head lies on the pillow as my prayers start, the ones whispered by mothers all over the world. I pray for all touched by this nightmare. I beg God to soften the hearts of the enemy (whoever he really is). I think of Iraqi mothers, praying for their children crying in fear of bombs coming, and their sons sent to fight a war they had no choice in.
I think of mothers through the centuries, praying, hoping. I know we are joined together in our hearts, by bonds invisible and strong. Twenty years ago, I wept for my brother as he went to Vietnam. My mother and I united in some aberration of ESP, both waking in the middle of night, finding out later that he had been in grave danger that night.
Now it is my turn, with the countless other mothers, to pray, to bargain not for individual sons but all sons and daughters on all sides as we hope for a miracle of peace. Mothers are used to miracles that is another name for our sons and daughters.
Into the morass
I feel strongly that it is the duty of every American to protest this war. In order to excise the cancer that is Saddam Hussein, are slowly butchering the patient.
Despite the high-tech dazzle of our surgical strikes, our dim response to this crisis has been that of a medieval barber, bleeding Iraq to drive out the hobgoblins. Iraqis are being slaughtered. Are our brave compatriots rotting under the Saudi sun the next to get it?
America needs our help. She's been told the old lie and swallowed it. She's unfurled the mesmerizing banners of heroic war fervor, not seeing what she shook from their concealing folds the torn limbs, the squandered blood, the bitter tears. With grim determination, she's marching forward into the morass.
We must not be afraid to disillusion her before she starts tripping on the bloody corpses of her own people. We must discredit the futile premise that violence is a reasonable path to peace and goodness and the obsolete notion that international squabbles are satisfactorily settled with bloodshed. The lights of wisdom and justice must shine for her and lead her back home. Stop the killing. Support our troops. Bring them home alive.
Paul W. DeAngelis