The exposure of mismanagement and possible corruption at the Baltimore Housing Authority is deplorable not only for further victimizing the needy but also for the arrogance of the officials involved.
This is a sad day for admirers of Mayor Schmoke, who looked upon him as a shining role model. As mayor, he must be held responsible for a bureaucratic sinkhole that would have gone undetected if not for the regional HUD audit by federal inspectors.
What is even more troubling as we watch the Republicans' "Contract with America" being played out is the likelihood that in giving power and block grants to the states and local communities we will face 50 bureaucracies just as inept, corrupt and unaccountable as Washington's.
All to himself
In all the hoopla about how much money Willie Runyon, his family and his companies contributed to Gov. Parris Glendening's legal defense fund, is anyone concerned about what he's given to state Sen. Larry Young?
Senator Young is employed by Mr. Runyon, whose companies all but have a monopoly on the private ambulance service in Baltimore, and Mr. Runyon also has contributed heavily to his campaigns. Senator Young is chairman of a health sub-committee.
Am I just dreaming, or do health care costs and such related issues sooner or later affect ambulance costs. Just possibly?
Mr. Runyon is truthful when he says he does not want Mr. Young obligated to lobbyists. He simply wants Mr. Young all to himself.
He also says of his contributions that he just wants to give something back.
I thought that used to mean charitable contributions to do good in the city and state, not to bolster the campaigns and legal fees of politicians.
I am glad Senator Young does not represent my district.
C. D. Wilmer
Keith Hopkinson, a lawyer with the National Association of Independent Insurers, accuses the state of Maryland of "sending a message: Don't grow too much or get too committed to the Maryland market because if there's some social engineering goal, the state may knock on your door and tell you how to do business."
We're sending a message all right. Don't grow fat at the expense of destroying the city of Baltimore. Maryland will not benefit from that. Be committed to Maryland's whole well-being, not just committed to sucking Maryland's money.
Social engineering is what the insurance companies are doing, drawing geographic lines that cause people to move where they can be treated fairly in the insurance field. The only difference is that the social engineering the insurance companies have been doing has been beneficial only to themselves, whereas we normally think of social engineering being for the betterment of society.
And when your business practices are prejudicial, unfair and causing a city to evacuate so you can gouge more profits, uprooting the public and destroying the tax base, then guess what? The state can and will come knocking at your door and tell you to either conduct business in a fair and equitable manner or move.
What comes around goes around. Haven't the insurance companies been telling us to move for the past decade?
President Clinton has promised to review social programs to see if they are fair. Affirmative action is not fair.
It is unfair to the man who works to get an education, it is unfair to the parents who paid for the education and it is unfair to the man who has qualifications for a job.
Not only is affirmative action unfair, it is wrong, because it is discrimination.
We hear from all sides that discrimination is wrong, but the people in government who enact legislation evidently do not know the meaning of the word.
It is strange that Rep. Kweisi Mfume seems to find some merit in the idea of affirmative action. Perhaps the congressman doesn't know that he is supposed to work for all his constituents. The fact that he works with the House Black Caucus suggests that he does not know his job.
It is time this government starts working for all the people, not just special interest groups. We all pay taxes.
Crime and taxes
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's statement (The Evening Sun, Feb. 24) about the high car insurance rates for city residents may be true to some extent, but the main reason people and business leave the city is the real estate taxes imposed on Baltimore City residents.
When we moved into the city from Baltimore County, we found that our property tax was 100 percent more than the county tax for the same amount of property assessment. We can understand the greater need for revenue in the city.
But as a community within the city, in addition to the much higher tax, we find we must also pay a fee to hire guards to protect ourselves and our property from car thieves, muggers and pocketbook snatchers, etc.
Wake up! Taxes and crime are what is driving people out of the city. The people who pay the most to support the city get the least services.
Dr. Henry W. Foster Jr., has been proposed by the White House for the position of surgeon general of the United States. Anyone in this position should have a deep conviction of the value of human life.
But Dr. Foster has shown already what his ideas are in regard to the sacredness of human life by the fact that he has allowed lives to be taken before they are ready to be born. Even though he may have other excellent qualifications, this fact would make him not suitable to hold this position.
In spite of what has been declared "lawful" and "a right" -- that is, taking the life of an unborn child -- each person has the duty to judge the real correctness of this position.
We thank God for sharing his great creative art with his people, and pray they may not abuse his most precious creation.
!Sister Felicitas Wells
Cutting DALP won't save the taxpayer money
I am writing to clear up some misinformation about the Disability Assistance and Loan Program that Gov. Parris
Glendening has eliminated.
The governor continues to tell the public that "Maryland cannot afford a welfare program that is funded solely with state dollars."
The truth is, Marylanders will pay one way or another.
Statistics show that 83 percent of DALP recipients live in housing and pay rent. That's about 18,000 people who, amazingly, manage to keep a roof over their heads on $157 a month.
Health care and income support for these disabled individuals total about $2,100 a year, whereas shelter for a year can cost $8,000.
If just half of these disabled adults become homeless (which would nearly triple the number of homeless people in the state), it would cost over $72 million to provide them with emergency shelter. The governor has no plans to open new shelters.
While the state is not required to pay for the additional shelter beds needed to house the disabled, the state will have to pay for people in jails and hospitals.
If just 5 percent of those currently participating in the DALP program end up in jail, it will cost the state over $24 million.
And if just 5 percent end up in a state psychiatric hospital, it will cost the state over $36 million.
Add these two costs alone and you have already far exceeded the $48 million DALP program.
One way or another, taxpayers will be providing for these people. We can provide a cot in an overcrowded church basement or a cot in a jail cell.
Or we can increase our personal giving to a swelling population of beggars with disabilities.
Or the governor can fully restore DALP and give people with disabilities an opportunity to live with at least the dignity that $5 a day can provide.
Norma T. Pinette
The writer is executive director of Action for the Homeless, a Baltimore-based advocacy group.