Merge the City
Editor: In "Baltimore and Beyond," Neal Peirce and Curtis Johnson speak of the need for "a truly cohesive region" in dealing with the problems and challenges facing Baltimore City and the five neighboring counties.
To achieve this cohesiveness, may I suggest we turn back to classical Greece and create a modern-day version of the city-state. Specifically, merging Baltimore City with Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties into a single political unit. A mega-city.
The city and neighboring counties are already an economic unit -- a clearly defined and nationally accepted trading zone. When marketing, sales or advertising professionals think of "Baltimore," they envision not a small square of geography, but an area some ten times larger and with a seven-figure population. But when we overlay economic Baltimore with political Baltimore, it fragments.
Instead of "a truly cohesive region," we have six bits and pieces. One city and five counties each trying to go its own way and denying their commonality.
Melding Baltimore City with the five neighboring counties would give the "new" city more clout in Annapolis and in other political arenas.
The city would become more competitive in securing new business and industry.
Regional planning and development could be simplified and improved.
Bureaucracy could be reduced, and with it the costs of government.
In fact, many costs could be reduced through simplification and elimination of duplication in services and programs. The benefits, I submit, could be many.
If Baltimore should become another Newark, another Detroit, the five counties will surely find themselves going down the tube with it.
During the American Revolution, someone observed that "either hang together or we will surely hang along."
Denny B. Beattie.
For Rich People
Editor: So many people, mostly Democrats, are screaming "tax the rich." What they don't understand is that this country needs rich people.
Most of us work for rich people.
Rich people make this country run.
They control huge corporations which provide jobs and pump money into the economy. They invest in growing companies and start new ones. They finance the government by buying treasury securities. They make donations to charities, universities and finance needed research.
Should the rich be penalized for their success and ordered to pay higher tax rates than the rest of us? The "tax the rich" mentality of people like Barbara Mikulski kills the American Dream.
One day I, like many people in this country, dream of becoming rich.
Democrats say they are the "working class party." But Republicans are the real working class party because they believe that people who work for their money should be able to keep it. Democrats just want to take most of what you and I earn and give it away.
Editor: I have just finished serving on a Baltimore City jury. I know this is my civic duty and have never shirked this responsibility through the years, but I think it is very unfair the way the names of jurors are selected.
It is my understanding that jurors' names are selected from the registered voters list. Why not include the Motor Vehicles Administration and other sources?
I am a retired person and I have served twice on a jury since my retirement, so you know that I am no youngster.
Wake up Baltimore! Give the civic minded citizens a break.
Frances A. Miller.
Editor: I would like to comment on your recent editorial regarding Gov. William Donald Schaefer's efforts to implement growth management policies through state funding of water, sewer and other public facilities.
The state is well within its rights to require that local land use plans and ordinances conform to standards aimed at managing growth and containing sprawl.
Public facilities such as roads and sewage treatment facilities are major long-term investments that have tremendous influence future development patterns.
Poor planning and timing of public facilities results in costly and environmentally harmful development, either from an environmental or economic standpoint.
Some counties and municipalities in Maryland have adopted land use plans and ordinances designed to effectively manage growth. However, they represent a small minority of the total.
In fact, most county governments in Maryland have weak or ineffective zoning ordinances which permit low density development. In addition, this weak zoning is often further undermined by local officials granting variances or rezonings. The result is environmentally harmful and fiscally irresponsible sprawl.
The state needs to act now to set in place a mechanism to review local plans and ordinances as part of the public facility approval process. The state cannot afford to wait any longer.
The governor is right and these actions are entirely appropriate considering the magnitude of the problem.
obert J. Gray.
The writer chaired the 2020 Panel for the tri-state Chesapeake Executive Council.
KAL's New Low
Editor: The Sun has reached a new low by printing KAL's cartoon of Dan Quayle.
The man has an excellent voting record in public office. He sponsored or co-sponsored creative legislation and maintained a responsible life style. If you wish to mention his military service, please bring forth Bill Bradley and Michael Dukakis, too.
Since he isn't eloquent or impressive as a speaker, is that a reason to doubt his intelligence? If you really wish to show some backbone, try this type of cartoon on a minority, if you dare.
Otherwise get off his back.
Editor: The media of this country seems more and more like a kangaroo court. I am disturbed at the increasing level of animosity on the part of the media toward our vice president, Dan Quayle. So far I have yet to see any factual data to justify this animosity. Those who denigrate without cause run the risk of finding their animosity turned back upon them.
Charles S. Apple II.
Editor: "Crossing the City Line" was a timely and necessary editorial. It should be the residents of Baltimore City and its neighbors who should decide redistricting for their mutual survival as viable and productive regions.
usan P. Doory.
Editor: Recent letters to The Sun bemoaning the fact that disabled activists who blocked rush hour traffic in Woodlawn were not arrested reveal more about our society than intended.
Three possible reasons why these disabled persons were not arrested are: police vehicles are not equipped with wheelchair lifts so the disabled persons could not be transported to jail; the jails are not barrier-free and accessible for the disabled, and it would be virtually impossible to find personal care attendants willing to come to jail to take care of these disabled persons for the $10 or $20 per day currently paid by Medical Assistance.
Sarcasm aside, we all know the real reason these individuals were not arrested.
Despite state and federal legislation to the contrary, disabled persons remain second-class citizens, unable to access the services and buildings most "able-bodied" persons take for granted.
In other words, society is so ill-equipped to deal with the disabled that we can't even arrest them.
While we cannot condone any illegal actions of this small group ** of demonstrators, the incredibly slight inconvenience suffered by people caught in traffic jams or "held hostage" in their air-conditioned buildings is nothing compared to the inconvenience and humiliation foisted on the disabled by our society every day.
Perhaps if we could see past the actions of this group and understand their message future demonstrations would be unnecessary.
Harold G. Franklin.
Pluralistic Religious Heritage
Editor: While blacks and Jews (among many) share the human condition of being different and despised, Christians and Jews do not share a common religious heritage.
The fact that both faiths share a single scripture, known to Christianity as the Old Testament and to Judaism as the written Torah, should not obscure the fact that each religion reads that shared scripture in its own terms, unique context and quite properly denies the reading of the other.
So The Sun's recent representation of the two religions as a "shared heritage" vastly misconstrues the facts, denying to each religion the dignity that makes it what it is. Judaism, for its part, cannot be swallowed up by today's welcome Christian love, any more than it has been intimidated over the centuries by Christian antipathy.
The writer is a professor of religious studies at the University of South Florida, Tampa.
Editor: I find it extremely hypocritical that the media consistently denigrates Dan Quayle while referring to a drunken morally bankrupt bum like Ted Kennedy as the "Conscience of the Senate." Some conscience. I have no idea how intelligent Quayle is, but I suspect his I.Q. is considerably higher than that of the midget minds who spew out your nauseating columns and editorials.
. R. Menchine.