A modest proposal
This is the season when flower groups help make Baltimore's suburbs blossom with color. It is a lovely spectacle simply to drive through such neighborhoods.
The inner city where I live is not so pretty, and though a lack of flowers and shrubs is far from our most pressing problem, they sure would help morale in these parts.
Might the dedicated people who manage such beautiful plantings in their own neighborhoods come work with inner-city community organizations to help make our neighborhoods blossom, too?
I'll bet they would find an appropriate (and an appreciative) neighborhood by phoning Baltimore City's Department of Planning at 396-8484. In fact, I know they would; I have already checked with the planning department.
A. Robert Kaufman
The writer is a long-time Baltimore community activist.
Center City taxing district a good idea
I am writing in response to Michael A. Fletcher's May 10 article on the establishment of a "center city district" to clean up our downtown area.
Philadelphia set up just such a "special benefits" district to clean up garbage and beef up security patrols in the crime-plagued inner city area. The program has been very successful there. The entire center city is now much safer and virtually litter-free. Funding for the program comes from a 2 or 3 percent deduction from all of the property tax revenues generated within the benefiting area.
The Baltimore City Council is looking into starting just such a program here. I hope they implement this program immediately. People would be much less hesitant to shop downtown if it was not so filthy and dangerous.
Ultimately, the businesses that will largely fund the program would get increased business as more people wander away from the Inner Harbor tourist traps and explore more of the downtown area.
New jobs would be created. Everyone would come out better off. Perhaps community service programs could be set up too. Volunteers could help with the clean-up efforts or arrested drunk drivers could spend a weekend picking up garbage downtown.
This program is the ideal way to give our inner city a better image and instill us all with a greater sense of civic pride.
House Bill 838, the so-called "Door-to-Door Solicitation Act" passed by the Maryland legislature on April 6, is an outrageous assault upon the U.S. Constitution approved by entrenched political elites desperate to preserve their collapsing authority against any independent opposition. Governor Schaefer must not allow this monstrosity to become law.
On the face of it, the bill reeks of Big Brother, and the fact that it was largely written by the notorious Cult Awareness Network (long noted for its affinity to coercive "deprogramming") only makes the threat that much more transparent.
The sponsor of H.B. 838, Del. Marcia Perry (D-Anne Arundel), openly states that the purpose of the bill is to throttle the fund-raising activities of the supporters of Lyndon LaRouche, hoping to use the controversy around this group to manipulate citizens into surrendering their most basic right of political association. But think about its actual effect.
Any career politician plugged into the all too well-established networks of Political Action Committees, Wall Street-connected law firms and similar such sleazy money pipelines won't lose a wink of sleep or a penny of funds from H.B. 838. But any "outside" individual or organization having the audacity to mount a serious challenge to the powers-that-be by raising substantial sums of money from -- heaven forbid! -- ordinary citizens in face-to-face meetings will be strangled by its provisions.
If the constitution means anything at all, Governor Schaefer must veto H.B. 838.
Harry G. Broskie
In the otherwise laudable effort to reduce the size of the armed forces as the cold war ends, it seems unwise to eliminate the Maryland National Guard's 136th Combat Support Hospital.
The 136th is the only large medical unit available to Governor Schaefer in the event of civil disorder or natural disaster. A large-scale disaster would overwhelm the civilian hospitals of Maryland. The 136th is composed of highly skilled, well trained personnel who are willing and able to be mobilized on short notice and move wherever needed.
Let us hope the army keeps this fine hospital in reserve and allows it to continue its training.
Robert C. Kimberly
A school doing well
The media frequently tell us about the sad state of public education in Baltimore City: the discipline problems and the lack of student achievement. I think you and the public should be aware of at least one school which seems to work -- Moravia Park Elementary School on Frankford Avenue.
As a volunteer at the Baltimore Zoo, I did a "zoomobile" program May 8 at Moravia Park. The administrators, teachers, parents and students all made my visit most enjoyable. The administrators, teachers and parents obviously care about each individual student's learning experience. And the students were eager to learn and courteous.
Now and then, we see stories about schools where parents, teachers and administrators seem to have come together for the benefit of their students. Moravia Park Elementary is one you might want to feature.
Woodlawn is the best site for HCFA
Your recent editorials have not been very informative regarding the two sites from which HCFA must choose for its new headquarters, namely Baltimore City and Woodlawn in Baltimore County,
The Woodlawn site has 57 acres, over 3,100 parking spaces, ease of access and can expand over 50 percent if necessary. The Baltimore City site is crammed together in a few blocks, has 1,000 fewer parking spaces and is not as accessible for federal employees and visitors. Moreover, expansion would be most difficult if not impossible.
The structure that the Rouse Co. is forced to build in Baltimore City cannot accommodate the needs of HCFA now or in the future, while the facilities that Boston Properties proposes to build in Woodlawn can. Also, it should be noted that Boston Properties has built several U.S. government headquarters -- a fact well known by GSA. Rouse Co. has not done similar projects.
The Woodlawn site has a headquarters caliber image, while the Baltimore City site looks like something out of "Towering Inferno." Major corporations do not have their corporate campuses in Baltimore City but rather in surrounding counties.
Shouldn't HCFA do likewise? The Woodlawn site has many advantages to offer HCFA employees. The Baltimore City site has nothing to offer the HCFA employees but increased cost and inconvenience.
The HCFA employees have much to offer Baltimore City but they will get nothing in return. From a personal perspective, I can say that Baltimore City does not have a good track record in looking out for the federal employees who work there.
Having worked over 16 years in Baltimore City, I can truly say that working in Woodlawn is far better than working in Baltimore City.
Joseph C. Logue Jr.
Your recent editorial concerning the move of HCFA to downtown Baltimore was incredibly one-sided. One must wonder whose pocket you are in.
The GSA study is very skewed regarding crime rates downtown as compared to Woodlawn. The downtown information was for a 10- to 12-block area, most of which was an empty lot for the new stadium. The Woodlawn area is 11 square miles.
When comparing the central or southern district of Baltimore City to the Woodlawn area, all categories of crime are 300 percent to 1,200 percent higher in Baltimore City.
You questioned Ms. Bentley's involvement, since neither site is in her district. But 95 percent of HCFA's employees do not want to move downtown -- and they are in her district. You also indicated that Rep. Ben Cardin has stayed neutral. You are wrong. It was Mr. Cardin who, through his powerful Ways and Means Committee, had Baltimore City added to the area of consideration. Had Mr. Cardin not gotten involved in a district not his own we would not need Ms. Bentley.
The employees at GSA are reasonable, level-headed individuals and we could depend on them -- at least until the politicians got involved.
Lastly, I fail to see why any of this is The Sun's concern. The only reason I have not stopped my subscription to your paper is that I am waiting for a retraction after you learn all the facts.
Mark A. Horney
CO the Forum