Society must fight poverty where it isThe...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Society must fight poverty where it is

The effort to give underprivileged families living in poor segregated neighborhoods credit vouchers to move into more affluent areas appears merit-worthy on the surface, but is not workable.

Poverty and affluence do not make good neighbors.

Our legislators, helpless and frustrated with society's ills, have engineered a short-sighted solution which doesn't attack the larger, underlying problems of poverty and crime, which can and must be dealt with.

Housing conditions in the city can be improved and crime mitigated.

It doesn't have to be a daunting task. But it will take the courage and imagination of dutiful and dedicated legislators working in cooperation with the people of the city and elsewhere to bring it about.

But the cycle of poverty won't be broken until people realize that they help perpetuate it by life-style patterns which, directly or indirectly, contribute to the crime that devastates neighborhoods.

Repeated out-of-wedlock motherhood (or fatherhood), for example, is no longer a shame. It's an accepted circumstance that keeps people indigent.

And what is to be expected from children raised with irresponsible role models and deprived of the proper love, care and direction that may be better offered by a two-parent family?

This is the genesis of poverty and crime. And face it or not, it's this "lifestyle" practice that has created our social divide.

To arbitrarily shift a population, and to expect society to support that which it does not endorse, is social engineering and government imposition.

People tend to gravitate to their own kind, ethnic and economic conditions prevailing.

While help and change for the better is needed, guilt is a poor motivator. We do, though, owe it to ourselves and to our community to get involved and come up with viable solutions.

It will take lots of effort and a farsighted vision.

Ellie Fier

Baltimore

Harbor casino called a disaster

The proposal to create an Inner Harbor East casino, hotel and roller coaster is a travesty for Baltimore City and the citizens of the Maryland.

First, it would be an architectural disaster. There is nothing of significance downtown which could properly be considered Victorian, except for the Belvedere Hotel. And that is considerably more uptown than Little Italy.

Second, it would bring considerable traffic and transience through an area which is essentially residential.

But most important of all, it would bring large-scale commercial gambling, which is a permanent problem masquerading as a temporary fix.

The citizens of Maryland must reject this idea once and for all.

David C. Weiner

Timonium

Place more limits on the crabbers

Edith Reichenbach's letter of Oct. 10, "Too much crabbing, too many taxes," hit the nail on the head. The politicians say crabs are on the decline. They want to protect the females. But neither they nor the Department of Natural Resources had the guts to say no more female crabs could be taken after Sept. 15 to the end of November for the 1995 season.

No, they had to appease the Eastern Shore politicians and the packers of crab meat. Commercial crabbers can still set 900 pots per boat, but the shore property owner can only set two pots from Friday to Sunday. Give the politicians and the commercial fisheries a few more years and the crabs will go the way of shad, herring, oysters, the canvasback duck and the Canada goose. They don't even have the foresight to make the rockfish a game fish.

J.C. Pelts

Baltimore

Simple remedy for wife beating

Spousal abuse (formerly called wife beating) was simple, but rare, in 1900, especially in Delaware.

Our neighboring state had three county seats, each with its whipping post.

No one today remembers, but magistrates (today's district court judges) were quick to sentence wife beaters to a number of lashes to the bare back, delivered in public by the local sheriff with his cat-o-nine tails. There were no second offenders. It was often a family affair. My father was a gentleman whose gentle sister married the local bully. A rumor of spousal abuse reached my father. He hitched his horse to his carriage, visited the bully and explained in simple English what might happen to him if the rumor was true.

The most lenient punishment promised would have to be administered by today's urologist. There were no further rumors. Oh for the simple life.

Edward H. Nabb

Cambridge

Women equally used in research

The claim in an Oct. 13 article, "Women's health getting attention," that until recently "all research used men as subjects" is vacuous. The latest available National Institutes of Health inventory of clinical trials compiled in 1979 speaks against the notion. Out of the 944 trials listed, 754 were listed as involving both men and women. The vast majority of the 190 remaining single-sex trials were women-only trials (148 out of the 190).

If there is or has been an all-pervasive bias in the clinical research enterprise favoring males and their disease, it is not apparent in publications from that enterprise. The number of papers dealing with males or male conditions has been virtually identical to the number dealing with females or female conditions -- a relatively constant 10 percent of the output over the time period traced (1983 through 1993).

Perceptions, no matter how appealing or how much we want them to be true, do not make facts, no matter how widely held or oft repeated.

Curtis L. Meinert

Baltimore

Save the soil for future generations

While driving up Route 50 from Easton, I was disgusted to see the extent to which farmers refuse to take even minimal steps to prevent soil erosion. While every other businessman is held responsible for any damage he does to the environment, farmers are free to stand by and allow tons of soil run off their farms and suffer no consequences.

I believe it is time to give up on voluntary soil conservation by farmers, since so many of them are refusing to make a good faith effort to control soil erosion.

These farmers who refuse to do their share to protect the environment are immoral thieves who are depriving future generations of the topsoil that is rightfully theirs.

It's bad enough that we are willing to saddle our grandchildren with a $5 trillion debt. The least we can do is conserve enough topsoil so that they can feed themselves.

Eugene T. Rohe

Baltimore

Blatantly racist jury acquitted Simpson

Based on evidence provided by the members of the jury themselves -- circumstantial, behavioral, inferential, intentional -- one thing is clear:

The jury for the O.J. Simpson trial was as blatantly racist, and as consciously so, as the all-white jury that acquitted Byron De La Beckwith in the late 1960s of the murder of Medgar Evers.

G. E. Rayson

Baltimore

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