Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Homeless, other poor still have difficulty finding...


Homeless, other poor still have difficulty finding $268 housing

While in Baltimore recently, President Clinton announced Housing and Urban Development awards for homeless services ("President gets warm reception," Dec. 24).

This was good news for Baltimore and the nation. For the first time in years, Congress approved increases for homeless programs. However, these funds will not begin to address the housing problems homeless people encounter. The need for affordable housing continues to exceed availability.

An infusion of resources can put individuals and families on the road to self-sufficiency. But when the homeless step toward self-sufficiency and, armed with low-paying jobs, move out of shelters, congregant residences or transitional facilities, they will be challenged to find market-rate housing, near a job, that they can afford.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening has worked to create home-ownership opportunities but without adequately funding affordable rental housing.

The housing as a percent of income equation shows that at minimum wage, a full-time worker has $268 for rent. Try finding housing for $268 a month. The average two-bedroom apartment in the Baltimore area costs $618 a month.

Mr. Glendening can broaden his housing policies to include budget increases for safe, decent, affordable rental housing for families living close to the edge. Even low-income kids need the stability that secure housing provides.

Becky Sherblom Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the nonprofit Maryland Center for Community Development.

Bill Talbott a gentleman who gave a helping hand

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of former Evening Sun and Sun reporter Bill Talbott.

There are people who cross your path in life whom you will always remember, and Talbott was one of those to me.

As a cub reporter in broadcast news covering the police beat, I met Talbott. He was a true gentleman and was never too busy to give a helping hand or to point you in the right direction. He was a guiding force in the Baltimore Press Reporters Association, which became the Maryland Press Club.

Many of us in journalism are better off for having known and worked with Bill Talbott.

Bob Shilling Baltimore

The writer is managing editor at Fox 45, WBFF-TV.

Fired sergeant's troubles his own making, not racism

As a member of the Baltimore City Police Department for 31 years, I was elated to see our chief legal counsel, Gary May, defend the department against the findings of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("Retaliation against black police denied," Dec. 29).

I also feel the need to voice my displeasure with this ruling.

The claim by former Sgt. Louis H. Hopson Jr. of having a clean record when he came to the department is inaccurate. He was convicted of assault in a domestic violence incident before being hired. Even if he were in the department, he would not be able to carry a weapon, and his testimony in cases would not be accepted if he were the only officer.

If our hiring policy was not to hire people with criminal records, this would all be a moot point.

Also, Mr. Hopson claims that the department retaliated against him but, as your article pointed out, this was the second time he was caught being untruthful. He was disciplined in 1988, when he was caught the first time, but promoted to sergeant in 1992. (Under the current disciplinary matrix used by the department, he would have been fired in 1988.)

In 1994, he was caught a second time, in the case for which he was terminated. This occurred before his claim of racism. He knew he had to answer to the charges. I do not know if he had a different agenda because of the pending charges, but his troubles are of his own making and not as a result of racism in the department.

Kenneth Stockwell Baltimore

Electronic transfer seniors need more Y2K security

It is encouraging to see that President Clinton has switched from bombing Iraq to reassuring senior citizens that Y2K won't interfere with their Social Security checks ("Clinton assures seniors on Y2K," Dec. 29).

As nice as this is to know, we are still wondering about the viability of the electronic funds transfers. Most of us who have bank accounts receive not a check but an EFT credit to our bank accounts. Nowhere in The Sun's 24-paragraph story were these transfers dealt with.

I spent 30 minutes on the phone trying to reach a live person at the Social Security Administration at one of the three numbers given. No chance. All the messages are circular, and I could not get access to a human voice.

With electronic funds transfers, a computer has to be involved. Will it work?

I invite technologically informed folks to advise the rest of us.

Franklin W. Littleton Baltimore

Livingston, Ehrlich, Kane did not deserve criticism

Responding to the Dec. 26 letter writers, Dan Cline, John Fries and Charles and Eileen Henderson I would like to make the following observations:

There is no new Republican morality that forced Rep. Robert Livingston out of office. He resigned so he would not put his family through problems.

As for Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., I believe he is allowed to vote not only his conscience but for his constituents, whose calls were overwhelmingly for impeachment. Maryland should be proud to have such a man in Washington.

And I am amazed at anyone who would criticize Gregory Kane, a great writer, for his point of view, stating that "Mr. Kane doesn't belong in a state such as Maryland with a record of tolerance," followed by the statement: "He is a disgrace and should move to Mississippi." Where is the tolerance in that statement?

Now, if anyone wishes to examine the partisanship of this House, simply look at the votes taken on Articles II and IV. Republicans voted with the Democrats, and these two articles were defeated.

But if one wishes to renounce his or her party over a vote taken, I respect that person's right to do so, just as I left the Democrat party after 40 years in 1992, knowing that Bill Clinton would divide the country. I have not been disappointed.

Jean C. Kittel Parkville

Baltimore fans learning what Cleveland knows

I just finished reading Ken Rosenthal's column "Modell is Ravens' biggest problem" in the Columbus Dispatch.

My heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Rosenthal. He has said what Browns fans have known all along about Mr. Modell. He couldn't have it his way with the faithful Cleveland fans, so he left for greener (as in money) pastures.

Of course, no ego-inflated owner will ever listen to their fans or local sports reporters.

I'm afraid the great football fans of Baltimore will have to endure, as we did for so many years in Ohio.

Bob Robertson Pataskala, OH

Misled by movie ratings when PG is Pretty Graphic

I propose a New Year's resolution for the film industry: Give viewers real movie ratings to ensure true parental guidance for children.

The industry has gradually allowed R-rated language and action to ooze down into PG-13 movies. In turn, PG-13 content has been oozing down into the PG films.

PG-13 is supposed to mean that the movie is intended for children 13 years old or above.

Many parents view movie ratings very casually and feel that as long as a movie is not rated R, the content is appropriate for their 13-year-old and even elementary-age children.

It used to be that a PG-13 film would display some mildly offensive language and adolescent-type sex quips. Lately, however, PG-13 is equivalent to lots of crude sex-related jokes and action and very foul language.

Make some changes so parents can stop feeling guilty and disgusted for taking our children to the wrong movie using the supposedly right guide. Make our new year happier by making a resolution to offer us movie guidelines that are PG -- pretty good for all ages.

Wincie Skeen Baltimore

To our readers The Sun welcomes letters from readers. They should be no longer than 200 words and should include the name and address of the writer, along with day and evening telephone numbers.

Send letters to Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001. Our fax number for letters is 410-332-6977. The e-mail address is

All letters are subject to editing.

Pub Date: 1/06/99

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