Immigration's heavy burden on U.S. future
No matter how many mass-transit systems or highways the government builds, there is no way to keep up with the exploding population growth. The U.S. Census Bureau now projects that the nation's population will double within the next 50 to 75 years to some 525 million -- try to imagine twice as many cars on the Baltimore Beltway.
Most of this population growth (90 percent) is from mass immigration. The Census Bureau says that this massive influx of immigrants is causing most of the sprawl, congestion and overpopulation that we now see in every part of our country.
Immigration costs U.S. taxpayers $70 billion a year.
Until the U.S. regains control of its border with Mexico and high levels of mass immigration to historical levels (i.e., 250,000 per year or less), the United States cannot build enough roads or mass-transit systems to handle its exploding population.
It will be impossible to improve the condition of the nation's underclass, clean up the air and the water, improve the schools, build adequate road systems or improve racial unity.
Michael Holden, Chestertown
Automation nation fosters rage, violence
I am very worked up over the effect that automated answering systems ("Please press 1") have on me and, presumably, on our society. It is one of the daily stresses that create violence in our midst.
This morning it took me over one hour to get basic information from the Motor Vehicle and Social Security administrations.
Simple things, like how to change my name on my driver's license and Social Security card since getting married. How to find out where the nearest office is for me to go into. Simple things that weren't on their long list of automated, recorded options to choose from -- once I finally got through the busy signal and holding period.
What if I weren't a homemaker with a flexible schedule? What if I were trying to get this information during a 10-minute break at my job? What if I were less patient or had poor coping skills?
Recently, I was helping my mother make her doctor appointments. By the time she got done pressing numbers to get to the appointment desk, she was so confused that when they asked her to leave a message so they could call back and make an appointment, she just hung up!
This is unfair, unreasonable. It's pushing people to the brink. This is supposed to be efficient?
Road-rage begins before getting in the car. Angry, hostile feelings are affecting both our individual hearts and the very heart of our communities.
Rita Singer Janoff, Glyndon
Bodick family, child deserve life together
The story about the Bodick family's adoption breaks my heart ("Court battle to adopt 2-year-old," July 13).
By ordering a 2-year-old child be removed from the only home she has ever known and sent to where her half-siblings are being adopted, the Baltimore Juvenile Court judge is causing great trauma to this child and her foster family.
Apparently, the Bodicks kept their emotional guard up until they were told last fall that they would be allowed to adopt their foster child, then fully bonded with her -- only to now have to give her up after all.
The adoptive system in this country is almost always in favor of biological ties rather than the best interest of a child, which is why we went to we went to foreign countries to adopt three of our four children.
Anyone knows that a small child needs a loving, stable and consistent family and home, and to uproot a child after two years in such an environment is not right, no matter how bright their future with another family.
Hopefully, this foster family can appeal and win the right to continue parenting and loving this child.
Pam Lawhon, Bel Air
How a true Baltimorean may choke to death
The fine article on John Goodspeed ("The writer who gave us 'Arnjoos,'" July 17) jarred memories of growing up in Baltimore and hearing my parents and other relatives ramble on and on in Baltimorese.
For years I thought that "Bendix" was a Catholic church on Edmondson Avenue, "pockybooks" were something you put "pockies" in, and that "Hollintown" was where Dutch people lived.
Perhaps the two most distinguishing characteristics of this charming dialect are the extremely nasal O sound and the glottal L sound, where the letter L is thrown so far in back of the throat that it becomes completely lost -- as in "two dollars."
In fact, I have come to the conclusion that you can get a true Baltimorean to choke himself to death by simply having him repeat "Loyola College" 25 times in rapid succession.
But my favorite Baltimorese word, one that Mr. Goodspeed has yet to catalogue, is "oniest," as in "He's the oniest guy I know who talks like that."
Arthur Laupus, Columbia
World Changers working to rebuild county homes
This week 350 teenagers will converge on Baltimore County from as far away as Mississippi for a week of hard work on low-income houses in the East Towson and Loch Raven communities.
Each one has paid $250 for the privilege of scraping, painting and roofing. The week-long project, called World Changers, is a joint effort sponsored by the nonprofit Impact Baltimore, the Baltimore County Office of Community Conservation, several local businesses and faith-based organizations.
Last year the teens rehabilitated over two dozen homes in the East Towson and Middle River communities. This year they plan to work on 30 homes.
World Changers was started several years ago by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. While most of the teens are from Southern Baptist congregations, this year's project includes youths from three other denominations.
During the week, World Changers will work over 14,000 hours improving the quality of life in two Baltimore County communities. Most of these hours will be worked by teen-agers, young men and women who want to make a difference.
Mike Fahey, Glen Arm
The writer is pastor of Long Green Baptist Church.
Barnes wrongly blamed for one-way Charles Street
Ed Gunts blames the late traffic director Henry A. Barnes for making Charles Street one way in 1954 ("Two ways to think about Charles Street," July 16).
In fact, Charles Street was a one-way thoroughfare several years before Mr. Barnes came to Baltimore in 1953.
In 1947, city traffic engineers, in cooperation with the old Baltimore Transit Co., developed a plan to change the city's pattern of two-way, "fixed wheel" (streetcar) arteries to one-way, "free wheel" (bus) arteries.
Charles Street became one-way southbound in June 1947 when, at the same time, the B.T.C. commenced conversion of its rail lines to bus operation.
Barnes simply reversed the direction of these one-way streets to their present directions in 1954.
Almost as soon as the one-way pattern was inaugurated, Charles Street merchants began to notice a decline in business. An early casualty was the old O'Neill's Department Store, which closed around 1955.
Another casualty was transit ridership, which dropped steadily from 1947 onward.
James A. Genthner, Baltimore