Build transit lines that provide everyone access to employment
I find the intentions of state Sen. Martin G. Madden downright refreshing. He noticed that job creation has occurred mostly in the suburbs and wanted to subsidize welfare recipients' relocation near these jobs ("Moving city poor close to suburban jobs," Jan. 28).
Regrettably, as The Sun's article indicated, Mr. Madden's gracious intentions had a "we've seen that before" quality about them.
Suburban living is well-nigh impossible without an automobile, which costs thousands of dollars a year to pay for, insure and maintain.
In 1998, The Sun reported on a subsidized transportation program for ex-welfare recipients called "Bridges To Work" which paid for their transportation to and from work until the beneficiaries "graduated" to car ownership ("Businesses, governments struggle to get workers to jobs in suburbs," Aug. 4, 1998).
But, as I recall, few of the beneficiaries were eventually able to own a car, a fact which hardly inspires confidence in Mr. Madden's now-abandoned plan ("Jobs out of reach for the carless," Nov. 16, 1999).
A better solution to the transportation dilemma would be to build the long-sought east-west Light Rail line.
Such a line could even make Columbia a tolerable imitation of a community.
Paul Schlitz Jr.
Transit subsidies must be more widely available
Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari's recent letter stated that the Mass Transit Administration and his department are committed to working with citizens and the business community ("Maryland is moving strongly to improve area's public transit," Jan. 13).
I feel his office should do more to find out why many Marylanders are unable to participate in the federal government's Transportation Equity Act and in Maryland's "Commuter Choice Program."
Let's compromise and find common ground so mass transit will work for our community.
Ralph D. Ebling
Balto. County schools also need renovation
I vigorously applaud The Sun's editorial "School repairs must take center stage" (Jan. 30) vigorously, but regret that it focused only on Anne Arundel County's schools.
I have been substituting in the Baltimore County schools for more than two years at Pikesville High School, Pikesville Middle School and the Sudbrook Magnet Middle School.
Renovation and repair of the interior of these facilities are needed desperately, particularly at the high school.
Windows and blinds in virtually all of the high school classrooms are in disgraceful condition, which impacts teachers' ability to use visual aids.
Glare often obstructs students' ability to view videos, for example, because the blinds can't be shut, and it becomes necessary to improvise with cardboard segments to cut the glare.
Two of the three boilers at the high school are inoperative and have been for some time. Accordingly, the distribution of heat throughout the building varies with the distance to the heat source.
We hear about a state surplus of $1 billion. Some of this money may be destined for programs to curtail drug addiction and other problems. But let's also put these funds to work for needed renovation of our public schools.
Private school parents deserve some relief
I am one of the fortunate parents who can afford to send my children to a parochial school. Many parents cannot.
I, too, pay taxes and I feel strongly that private school students should share in the state's budget surplus.
Our children deserve a break also.
Column on dirty dancing should have been cleaner
Susan Reimer's recent column "No dancing around this responsibility" (Jan. 25) seemed inappropriate for a family newspaper.
Even if her descriptions were factual, Ms. Reimer could have made her point about teen-age dancing in a more responsible and less blatantly suggestive way.
We're intelligent readers. We don't need flashy stories to keep our attention
To preserve open spaces we must limit population
If present rates of growth continue, the U.S. Census Bureau projects a doubling of the U.S. population by the year 2100 ("America's population likely to double by the year 2100," Jan. 13).
Yet KAL's Jan. 18 editorial cartoon illustrating the consequences of a doubled U.S. population was one of the few references to the subject I've seen.
Many people avoid blaming any of the problems of daily living on population. And political candidates generally will not use the "P" word, fearing they will be labeled "anti-immigrant"
Apparently most people believe they can only stand by helplessly and watch while open spaces and forests disappear, as resources become overwhelmed, and as air and water are polluted.
Solutions such as Smart Growth, improved public transportation, and actions to "Save the Bay" can delay the environmental degradation rapid growth brings. But such efforts alone won't stem the loss of wildlife, the crowding everywhere and the paving over of vast acreages.
KAL envisioned a country in which only mountains and cities are not paved over for parking spaces. It was a funny cartoon with a very serious message.
Our remaining resources can be balanced with a stabilized, sustainable population. But this will require changes in public policies and much determination.
Carleton W. Brown
It is time to focus on our real problems
The recent letter "Confederate flag dispute overlooks the real problem" (Jan. 31), is important enough that it should be reprinted repeatedly on the front page of future editions.
The letter just about said it all. It is so sad that we are worrying about trivialities instead of trying to work on the real problems, of which we have so many.
The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, for example, whom I once admired, now spends his time grandstanding over such matters as the Decatur, Ill., school suspensions when he could be addressing real issues.
Stephen H. Bartlett
Local Bach Fest showed public spirit remains vibrant
I realize that after the departure of Stephen Wigler, The Sun's reviewing staff may be limited. But the paper should have covered the Bach Fest at the Second Presbyterian Church Jan. 23.
Beyond being a rewarding musical experience for the audience, this was a genuine community event, in which many local groups participated without remuneration.
Participants included not only choral and instrumental groups, but highly talented children who attend local schools and conservatories.
We often hear the word "community" used in the context of threats to public security and the city's population loss and national reports of "bowling alone" and the decline of group solidarity and collective loyalty.
Baltimore's many groups cultivating vocal and instrumental participation and maintaining the spiritual values conveyed in J.S. Bach's music are shining examples of a living community tradition.