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Low-cost housing builders must pay extra costs

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A recent article titled "Study calls for low-cost housing" was factual as written; but the subhed, "Brown says it would cost county too much," inadequately summarized my views.

No one, including myself, would reasonably argue that the housing needs of families earning moderate incomes of $45,000- $50,000 shouldn't be addressed. My comments, made during the meeting described in the article, were directed to the assembled members of the Carroll County Homebuilders Association and were an admonition that if they are to continue mass-producing low- to moderate-priced housing in Carroll County, then they will have to further shoulder the burden of providing needed schools, roads, etc.

The plain fact of the matter is that any house taxed at a value of less than $250,000, on average, generates less in tax revenue than the cost of services provided to the house's occupants.

Another inescapable fact is that public education costs are the straw threatening to break our taxpaying backs. My point to the homebuilders was that we commissioners have recently placed a greater burden on the taxpayers in order to fund schools. I'm not about to go back to those same homeowners and say, "Pay higher taxes so that more people can afford to own a house in Carroll County." So, let it be clear: The ball is in the courts of those builders producing housing for the Carroll market. Put up, or shut up about affordable housing until they're willing to do more to underwrite the costs of building schools and roads within the county.

W. Benjamin Brown

Westminster

The writer is vice president of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners.

Casinos would kill state's racing heritage

I've worked for the past 25 years in the racing industry. I've worked as a hot-walker, groom, pony rider and jockey, and I now gallop horses at Laurel Park. I've worked on breeding farms here in Maryland. In April, my thoroughbred mare gave birth to a Maryland-bred colt which someday will race on Maryland tracks. So I've been able to view the horse industry from many perspectives.

I'm strongly opposed to casino competition in the state of Maryland because of my concern for the quality of Maryland horse racing. Maryland is the main supplier of race horses for the entire mid-Atlantic region. The quality and quantity of Maryland-bred race horses will diminish, as breeding farms which supply our horses are being sold to developers for subdivisions. This, in turn, will result in the loss of jobs for hundreds of racetrack employees who live on the racetrack. The Breeders Cup Classic winner, Concern, is a registered Maryland-bred. Awad, another Maryland-bred, won this year at the Grade 1 Arlington Million. This year's most probable choice for nationwide award horse of the year, Cigar, was born in Bel Air.

Maryland is known throughout the world for the legendary Preakness Stakes. Maryland's horse industry employs more than Marylanders and contributes more than $1.2 billion annually to the economy of Maryland.

I urge you to oppose casino gambling. Don't let our long-standing heritage be destroyed.

Robert J. Lillis

Westminster

No longer 'Tiny Tims'

Inspirational cripple stories make us retch. Cute euphemisms (physically-challenged, differently-abled, handicapable) make us groan. Telethons make us livid.

We do not deny our physiological limitations, but we refuse to be defined by our bodies. * In 1962, James Meredith integrated the University of Mississippi. The press was there.

* In 1962, Edward Roberts integrated the University of California. In his iron lung. The press was not there.

The disability rights movement has been a silent yet persistent force in American culture, its accomplishments benefiting the daily lives of every American. We have been ignored or trivialized a media which too often perpetuates and reinforces prevailing cultural stereotypes about disability. We tend to be sensationalized in "handicapped hero" or "super-crip" stories, or infantilized as "Jerry's kids."

We are portrayed as "tragic victims" trapped in useless bodies; as pathetic "cripples" who will never achieve their potential; as "damaged goods" or "freaks of nature"; as "special people" who must "try harder" to "overcome" their disabilities.

Do African-Americans "overcome" their pigment? Women, their breasts?

Our issues are not treated as hard news, although our agenda includes addressing employment discrimination, institutionalization in nursing homes versus independent living, segregation in inferior educational settings, absence of dignified and safe access to public accommodations. And, of course, that ever-present pat-on-the-head paternalism.

We are weary of educating the ignorant, the fearful, those who pity us and are repulsed by us. We suggest they look into their mirrors -- or into their souls.

Marilynn J. Phillips

Hampstead

Father Gallagher's article on papacy full of 'misconceptions, half-truths'

As a practicing Catholic eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Holy Father, I read with interest the article by Father Gallagher in the Oct. 1 Sun. However, after completing it, I was appalled by the great number of misconceptions and half-truths that Father Gallagher stated.

Father Gallagher states that "there are many devout Catholics who subscribe to a triumphalist myth of the papacy. For them, popes can do practically no wrong."

I know of many people (including myself) who would likely fall into Father's view of a "devout Catholic" (i.e. we accept all of the Church's teachings). However, not any of us would for a minute believe that popes can do no wrong. Personally, as a student of Church history, I am well-acquainted with the many and various faults of the popes through the ages. This statement in the

article seems only to serve the purpose of stereotyping "conservative" Catholics as blind followers who do not think on ,, their own.

Another misconception, albeit a common one, is Father's use of Vatican II's "liberating spirit" in criticizing the teaching of our current pope. I should not need to remind him that Vatican II itself stated with regard to birth control, "In questions of birth regulation, the sons of the Church are forbidden to use methods disapproved of by the teaching authority of the Church." (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, article 51). Since the pope and the bishops comprise this authority, and they have taught that artificial birth control is immoral, Father Gallagher's complete rejection of this teaching places him outside the boundaries that Vatican II itself defined.

The article goes on to decry what the author feels is the Church's inhumane teaching on artificial birth control, especially for less developed countries. As 24-year-old newlyweds, my wife and I have thoroughly explored this issue. Not once did Father mention Natural Family Planning (NFP) as a legitimate option, nor did he seem to consider the root problem, which is poverty.

Instead, he merely mouthed the Western imperialistic mantra that shoving artificial methods down the throats of the poor and needy will solve their problems. It seems to me that food and housing is what is needed. By the way, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa (who knows more about the poorest of the poor than I, Father Gallagher or the social engineers in Washington ever will) has her Sisters of Charity teach NFP to the poor whom they help. NFP respects the cultural life of the people who use it, because it does not introduce technology and ideology that runs counter to the human desire for regeneration.

Another half-truth of this article is Father's portrayal of the current pope as exercising an authority over the church that he does not rightfully possess. Explaining his view he states, "Tradition sees other bishops as true heads of their own dioceses, and not merely branch managers for the one true headquarters in Rome," and also, "The Catholic Faith does not require its members to 'believe' in the pope."

Well, if Father means "believe in" in the sense that one believes in God, of course not, that would be preposterous, and no "devout Catholic" would even think of such a thing. However, Vatican II (that "liberating" Council) states very clearly, "For the Roman Pontiff [the pope] has full, supreme and universal power over the whole church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered. Together with their head, the Supreme Pontiff, and never apart from him, they [the bishops] have supreme and full authority over the universal Church." Father Gallagher is obviously very upset at the Catholic Church (and specifically John Paul II) for maintaining a bold, consistent stand in defense ,, of Christ's moral teachings. I would hope that those reading this article will recognize for what they are the misrepresentations that he offers is an apparent effort to defend his defiance of Church teaching. Also, I hope that they will try to find out for themselves what John Paul II and the Church truly teach by reading the relevant material (in papal encyclicals and the documents of Vatican II).

Eric R. Sammons

Sykesville

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