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Minorities ThriveI am responding to the Nov....

Minorities Thrive

I am responding to the Nov. 5 letter by Teri Hagberg of Perry Hall, which suggests that Baltimore's economic woes are the result of a lack of minority participation within the business community.

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Nothing could be further from the truth. As is now well-chronicled, Baltimore's economic difficulties are the result of industrial structure which worked well in the 1980s, but works terribly in the 1990s.

A combination of defense cutbacks, corporate down-sizings and crash in commercial real estate that devastated large banks and insurance companies alike have resulted in tremendous employment losses in the region and a sagging recovery.

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The Baltimore area's reliance upon defense-manufacturing and commercial construction has left us with no real economic engines of growth. Rising interest rates are increasingly taking their toll on our consumer-led recovery, as can be seen in the steep drop in homes sales over the past several months.

But the real issue I would like to address is Ms. Hagberg's contention that Maryland and Baltimore are markedly worse than other areas in terms of minority and female participation within the business community.

A number of facts suggest that Ms. Hagberg has strayed far from reality. For example, Maryland ranks first in the U.S. in the number of African-American-owned businesses per capita, according to the most recently published Census data. That is not to say that African-American firms have become a fully developed resource in Maryland. Clearly, they have not.

On the other hand, it contradicts Ms. Hagberg's assertion that minorities are left out in the cold, especially when compared to other regions. Additionally, Working Woman magazine recently named Baltimore as one of the top 10 places for women to do business.

The city led all others with the highest percentage of female-owned businesses in the nation. Some 34 percent of all businesses in Baltimore are owned by women. Charm City edged out San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

Baltimore has its share of problems, especially within the realm of economic development. We desperately need new sources of growth, and minority- and female-owned businesses must share in that growth.

However, it does not benefit us to ignore the strengths of our community. This, I believe, is precisely what Ms. Hagberg has done.

Anirban Basu

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Baltimore

Never Again

Maryland Republicans should pledge to never again nominate a candidate for the U.S. Senate whose credentials as a Marylander are questionable.

As labor secretary and trade representative in the Reagan administration, Bill Brock served with great distinction.

As the post-Watergate chairman of the Republican National Committee, Brock was a visionary whose reforms paved the way for the GOP renaissance of the 1980s.

But as the 1994 Republican senatorial nominee from the state of Maryland, Brock lost by the same dismal 1.5 to 1 margin which typified the failed Senate bids of outsiders Linda Chavez and Alan Keyes.

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Polls taken at the beginning of the election cycle indicated that Sen. Paul Sarbanes was vulnerable.

But GOP heavyweights Rep. Helen Bentley and Rep. Constance Morella opted for other races, and Sarbanes coasted to yet another victory on what was nationally the worst election night for Democrats in nearly 50 years.

On balance, Maryland Republicans made some impressive gains this past election. But by ignoring the real opportunity race of 1994, party leaders relegated themselves to a night of celebrating moral victories rather than the real thing.

Richard J. Cross

Timonium

School Choice

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Susan Reimer's concern (column, Nov. 1) about parents choosing private over public schooling flies in the face of the fundamental right and obligation held by all parents to freely choose how and where to educate their children.

That right supports Ellen Sauerbrey's proposal to initiate a tax credit to promote educational choice.

It is, in my opinion, socio-economic bigotry to insinuate, as does Ms. Reimer, that the "plan would drain the public school system of just the kind of kids and parents who are keeping it afloat" (presumably of the middle class).

Is Ms. Reimer interested in limiting the free will and choice of parents? Would Ms. Reimer propose the closure of private schools to benefit those in public schools?

Her lecture on moral and social ethics and the importance of public schooling quickly turns against her. I have the right to provide my private school with my support, my bright children, my money, my example to my neighbors and my effort to improve it. Ms. Reimer used these same words in support of her public school.

While my neighbors send their children to public school and utilize their "education funds" on other items, I am content with the struggle to ensure that tuition bills are paid.

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While public schooling is obviously an imperative for our society, let us deal with the issue equitably.

A compromise consisting of support for public schools and the minimizing of double taxation for those who pay their own private education costs would benefit all with the freedom that is the hallmark of our country . . .

S. Lowell Nissel

Baltimore

Role Model

MA

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So tell me, when is Hillary Glendening moving to Annapolis?

Cathy Miller

Parkton

GATT Peril

I think that the Oct. 19 Opinion * Commentary piece by Ben Wattenberg, "Free Trade Works Best for the U.S." is one of the most intellectually dishonest pieces I have seen for quite a while.

Under the present General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the U.S. has been running huge, ruinous trade deficits. Let him demonstrate how this "works best for the U.S." Instead of dismissing opponents of GATT as "yahoos" and the like, I suppose it would be beyond a propagandist like Mr. Wattenberg to address concerns about the operation of the proposed World Trade Organization.

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If the transference of some aspects of our sovereignty off-shore is not a major concern to Americans, I do not know what is.

Do Americans not know or care that laws passed in this country relating to environmental standards could be abrogated by a secret tribunal in Geneva if it found that these standards exceed those set by some off-shore organization in Rome and thus constitute a trade barrier to those wishing to sell products in the U.S.?

Similar results could happen in other areas, such as child labor law, for no distinction is to be made as to how something is manufactured even if made by prisoners or concentration camp inmates.

At heart, the structures contrived by the new GATT are most useful as labor or union busters. It enables global corporations to move manufacturing to where the price of labor is cheapest much more easily than the present GATT does.

The knee-jerk free traders such as your newspaper and its editorial staff do not want a real debate on these issues for, from my observation, you make every effort to keep opposition views out of the media or belittle them.

For instance, where have you reported anything about the hearings of the Hollings Committee in Congress? Where have you seen or heard anything in any form of the media?

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Is it not strange that most of media have been curiously silent about something that will probably have the most far-reaching affect on the U.S., while you fall over yourselves in reporting the O. J. Simpson matter? Thank God for C-Span.

Where is Mr. Wattenberg coming from when he can still call the U.S. a superpower and No. 1 economically? It is $4 to $5 trillion in debt, unable to balance its budget and has to get others to pay for its adventures in the Persian Gulf.

We are rapidly becoming a hollow giant, and this particular GATT agreement does not look to restore economic health to this country.

My suspicion is that this course will foment a domestic Fascist movement -- the basic element being a reborn nationalism and militant labor, which includes most of the population.

The ingredients are there in people like Ross Perot and Patrick Buchanan. These are unlikely types, but wait until someone charismatic comes along.

Is it not interesting that the Senate has put the voting for the enabling legislation for this treaty on a fast track and greatly limited the debate? What is the Clinton administration trying to hide?

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I suggest that your staff read the GATT agreement, if not all of it, at least the first 12 pages.

George T. Bachmann

Westminster


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