Crack down on crime, not on citizens'...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Crack down on crime, not on citizens' guns

Referring to recommendations from the Governor's Commission on Gun Violence as "well-balanced" and "realistic" editorial, Nov. 16) is but a further reflection on how far we have glided down the slippery slope as we take "sensible steps" toward the criminalization of Maryland's citizens.

That The Sun would view such a travesty of governance as "pragmatic" is not terribly surprising.

Such statements can be made, and any disagreement carefully controlled, in a state where we have only one "major" newspaper, an autocratic and corrupt system of government, and little opportunity for open, broad-spectrum discussion of important issues.

If most of the measures are "common-sense moves" (and one is moved to wonder what passes for "common-sense" if that is so), then even The Sun would be hard pressed to explain them in terms of reducing criminal activity.

So, of course, there's no explanation provided.

Licensing, registration and restrictions on volume of purchase will not mitigate crime one iota -- and real common-sense tells us so -- because criminals are not troubled by such restrictions.

The only persons on whom the commission seeks to crack down are the citizens who try to play by the book.

The Sun, of course, fails to comment on the minority reports, courageously submitted by members of the commission who were still capable of independent thought, and who did not toe the party line.

And few will hear that the citizen response to the public hearings was overwhelmingly opposed to the prohibitionist goals pre-determined by the governor and his -- perhaps just slightly biased -- committee chairman, the paid lobbyist from Handgun Control Inc.

Citizens in this state have been poorly served by the majority of the commission, by the governor and, of course, by The Sun.

One can only hope that those citizens will remember this during the upcoming legislative session, and in the elections next November. If only we could elect the press as well.

John C. Taylor

Columbia

Governor acts as Santa Claus

I see that our governor is going to give Jack Kent Cooke $73 million of Maryland taxpayers' money so that the football team's owner can move to Prince George's County.

It certainly is a shame our governor is unable to find a more worthy cause for that much money. He can't find sufficient funds to adequately support education but he can line Mr. Cooke's pockets.

J.M. Nichols

Towson

Too much emphasis placed on ethnicity

The Dec. 3 column by Rena Pederson, "Soup or Salad," shows the irony and danger our country faces because of the emphasis placed on race and ethnicity. Each group is seeking special listing as a bona fide minority so it may thus qualify for special consideration.

The situation has now become so ridiculous that some Hawaiians want to be known as Native Americans and no one now knows who is really Hispanic. Courts will apparently need to determine who is Caucasian, Afro-American, Arab-American, Hispanic, Asian, Spanish, etc. Voting districts may ultimately need to be gerrymandered to assure that each of these has a representative in Congress, as was done in the South to obtain an Afro-American one.

Unless we agree that all of us are Americans (unhyphenated) or aspire to be one, speaking a common language (English), we are racing to the problems now exhibited in Canada by Quebec or those present in the former Yugoslavia. It is quite acceptable to be proud of one's heritage but at the same time the original concepts of this country must be maintained -- "one nation under PTC God," separation of church and state, and dedicated to a fair and open electoral system limited only by constitutional restraints.

We have always been a "melting pot" and should remain that way. No other nation can we afford within our borders -- not the Nation of Islam nor the nation of anything else. Affirmative action, as shown by Rena Pederson, is becoming ridiculous and divisive and has no further justification.

arion Friedman

Baltimore

Sprawl development hasn't helped counties

After years of hearing that development helps the tax base, it is interesting to note that the counties with the heaviest load of sprawl development are now having the greatest tax shortfalls.

It has been shown in numerous studies that the infrastructure costs (roads, traffic control, schools, water) are far more expensive than the tax income generated. Only the developers make money and they leave the counties with the impossible future task of providing service.

Doug Carroll

Brooklandville

Have a gorilla for breakfast

Anne Stinson's story of her 450-pound gorilla (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 5) was a most delicious literary snack.

It set the tone for the day.

Robert O. Bonnell Jr.

Baltimore

CPHA position on Section 8 tenancies

Jim Haner's article on November 29,"Poverty surges are called common," misrepresented my statements and the Citizens Planning and Housing Association's (CPHA) position on the impact of the Section 8 certificate program on communities.

CPHA believes that the concentration of poor families in a community, through government subsidized housing or privately owned housing, is just one of many factors that contribute to the flight of the middle class from Baltimore City.

It is a documented fact that people are moving from city communities, even those where there are no Section 8 properties.

The reasons are varied and include an under-achieving public school system, crime and loss of jobs.

Any abrupt or unanticpated change -- a major business leaving, a loss of jobs.

Any abrupt or unanticipated change -- a major business leaving, a loss of a recreation center -- can upet the delicate balance of neighborhood stability.

These conditions are not caused by the Section 8 program, they are the result of the disinvestment in our city and the shift of job growth from the city to the surrounding counties.

CPHA is working with community groups from around the city to address housing concerns in their neighborhoods.

We have been meeting with Commissioner Daniel Henson and representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to discuss ways that the Section 8 and scattered site public housing programs can be assets to communities.

We are working to ensure that properties are well-maintained and that all residents -- renters, homeowners, landlords, each of us -- contribute to the well-being of our neighborhoods.

We are making headway and developing an effective working relationship with Commissioner Henson and his staff.

The Nov. 29 article would lead the reader to believe that all Section 8 certficate holders make bad neighbors.

This is simply not true.

There are thousands of Section 8 certificate holders throughout the city and the surrounding counties.

Most are wonderful neighbors and many are members of community associations working to improve their neighborhoods.

ane M. Conover

Baltimore

7+ The writer is housing director of CPHA.

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