Bentley ExplainsEditor: In reference to the letter...


Bentley Explains

Editor: In reference to the letter (March 21) which reports that my Dundalk Eagle column, "Needed: A War on Unemployment," stated that I do not support extension of unemployment insurance, let me state:

The column explains the complexity and the difficulty of extending the weeks of eligibility -- the Catch 22 condition that we find ourselves in on the source of the funding, unless the federal government digs into the emergency Trust Fund. Though I support extension through this action, the column was to point to the need -- once again with yet another reason -- for an absolute mandate to re-industrialize this country.

Three other points need answering in the attacking letter: I went to Kuwait to find business and jobs for Maryland. I have consistently opposed the S&L; funding, since Maryland paid its own. The Baltimore Unemployment Council has a letter from me dated Feb. 22 stating that I support extension of the benefit period.

Helen Delich Bentley.


The writer is a member of Congress from Maryland's Second District.

Save the Shoreline

Editor: In the early 1900s an amusement park at the end of a long streetcar ride to the Chesapeake Bay waterfront was wonderful recreation for Baltimoreans. In the late 1900s, it makes more sense to keep the waterfront of the 1,310 acres now called Black Marsh Park safe from development.

Amusement, entertainment, dining and boating facilities are abundant in southeastern Baltimore County as well as the rest of the state. What is in short supply is Chesapeake Bay shoreline, in natural condition, open to the public. We, and our coming generations, need to know the shoreline as it existed for Native Americans as far back as 8,000 years ago, and by the early colonial farmers of 350 years ago.

A modern waterfront installation would, with its requirements of sanitary facilities, roads, parking lots and pavilions, spoil such experiences, not to mention the effect it would have on bay ecology. There is certainly enough space at the entrance of the park for an education center, rest rooms, parking lots and other necessary services.

Let's keep the waterfront free of construction, allowing Bay Shore Amusement Park days to recede into our memories, where they belong. Maryland's natural flora and fauna will then be able to take their proper peaces, providing lasting benefits to us all.

oy G. Wheeler.


Not the Answer

Editor: In an editorial (March 10), The Sun urged the General Assembly to support Dr. Joseph Shilling's plan of accountability -- "Schools for Success."

Dr. Shilling's goal has been to identify problems in individual schools and to put up the money to undertake remedial action. To identify the problems in individual schools, a "new" testing program, Maryland School Performance Tests, is being superimposed upon an "old" testing program -- Maryland Functional Testing.

A great deal of money and time is being devoted to implementing the "new" testing program. Students are not held accountable for their performance on these tests, only the staff of the school. Since the students are not held accountable, many students will not put forth the effort to do their best. How can the staff of a school be held accountable when the students taking the test are not held accountable?

At the present time, data is available to identify the needs in most schools. The following is just a partial list of needs at many schools:

Smaller class size. Books. Audio visual equipment. Computers. Satisfactory physical facilities. Student desire to succeed. Parent involvement.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer wants to take $19 million out of a new aid package for schools, money which local school systems could allocate according to local needs, and use it to pay for the Schools for Success program. Such an appropriation would result in robbing Peter to pay Paul!

A new testing program, certainly one that does not hold the student accountable, is not the answer to the problems being faced by schools today.

Ray Hoffman.


Governor's Feet

Editor: Governor Schaefer tells us that closing Tuckahoe State Park for six months will save the state $18,000.

Recently the governor installed in his Baltimore office carpeting costing $19,000. Should not we on the Eastern Shore welcome the opportunity to sacrifice the use of our fine park for half a year to make certain that the governor's feet are not sullied by having to walk upon old carpeting?

Perhaps we could start a drive to make up the $1,000 difference.

C. R. Jones.


City Fair Housing Ordinance

Editor: Your editorial, "Don't Lift Home Solicitation Ban," March 9, was an indictment of Baltimore City and an insult to those who by choice live and own homes in Baltimore City.

The use of selective quotes, taken out of context, from Judge Alexander Harvey's recent decision in the case Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors vs. Baltimore County failed to concentrate on the central legal question of the case, which was commercial free speech.

Rather than comment on that issue, your editorial chose to malign America's oldest real estate board, an organization which has an outstanding and nationally recognized record of achievement in promoting and working for fair housing.

Your analysis of Council Bill 1081 failed to explain that the major component of this legislation is to substitute existing constitutionally sound state law for an ordinance which a federal District Court recently found unconstitutional in Baltimore County.

The enactment of City Council Bill 1081 will provide for another strong, constitutionally sound, enforceable local law which will compliment the recently enacted Baltimore Fair Housing Ordinance.

Protections provided by the Baltimore City Fair Housing Ordinance make practices such as "blockbusting" illegal and provide for both substantial criminal and civil penalties for potential violators.

Council Bill 1081 will augment this existing legislation, and upon conviction for violation of Council Bill 1081, any real estate licensee could lose his or her license under existing strongly enforceable Maryland law. Sufficient statutes, local, state and federal, exist to serve as strong deterrents against "real estate agents bombarding city homeowners to induce listings," as your March 9 editorial suggests.

To infer that "white flight" from Baltimore City in the 1970s and 1980s was in some way the result of "unscrupulous solicitation" does not reflect either reality or an understanding of the actual causes of suburban development in the Baltimore area.

To infer that "owning a home in Baltimore City is a sacrifice" is an insult to all Baltimore City homeowners. Indeed, some of the best real estate bargains, especially for first time buyers, are found in Baltimore City where housing values have been good proven investments and where more funding programs to assist homeownership are available than in any other subdivision in Maryland.

To infer that schools, crime and other "countless urban living headaches" are the result of an existing, unconstitutional anti-solicitation ordinance is not only ridiculous, but a disservice to all Baltimore City citizens. To infer that the recent downturn in the residential housing market is the result of the current unconstitutional anti-solicitation ordinance does not reflect economic reality.

Baltimore City has traditionally maintained a strong housing market with high rates of homeownership and viable neighborhoods.

The enactment of City Council Bill 1081 will not destroy Baltimore's residential housing market. To the contrary, commercial free speech and open, fair housing were effectively best served by the enactment of Council Bill 1081 on March 11 by an 11-8 vote.

Brandon F. Gaines.


The writer is president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

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