Housing policies put low-income residents out on...


Housing policies put low-income residents out on city streets

Walter Roche's fine piece on HOPE VI and the housing crisis confirms the experience of the Health Care for the Homeless staff, which has found it impossible to locate affordable housing for our clients ("Housing reform's victims," Sept. 24).

When 3,000 units of low-income housing are destroyed, people with low incomes become -- and remain -- homeless.

Homelessness is fundamentally a housing problem. Too many of our neighbors are unable to afford housing; the most vulnerable become homeless. Market forces can't produce enough housing for the poor.

The public sector must, but has mostly abandoned this responsibility.

The bipartisan housing policies of the past two decades have forced tens of thousands of Marylanders onto the streets. Emergency shelters and transitional housing programs can't meet the demand.

And when people are homeless, their health suffers. Programs such as Health Care for the Homeless serve at best 20 percent of those who need our help.

Health Care for the Homeless would be grateful to close our doors permanently. But this will only be possible when public policies produce a sufficient supply of affordable housing, guarantee all our neighbors an adequate income and assure access to health care for all.

Jeff Singer


The writer is president and CEO of Health Care for the Homeless.

Where's the nation's outrage over deaths of the uninsured?

I am as grieved, no depressed, as anyone over the recent terrorists events. Our nation' s response has been intense and inspirational -- never again shall such tragedy occur on our soil.

However, as a public health professional permit me to share another perspective. As the only industrialized country (other than Turkey and Mexico) that does not assure its citizens the right to health care, we have more than 40 million uninsured Americans, most of whom are in working families that are not offered employer-based coverage or hold such low-paying jobs that they are not able to afford health insurance premiums.

And the facts are that tens of thousands of such citizens die each year (with many more disabled) because of lack of access to health care.

Where is the emotion, the patriotism, the outrage here?

Dr. William Sciarillo


Driver who killed policemen deserves a sterner sentence

On Sept. 20, Shane Weiss pleaded guilty to drunken driving and two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of two Baltimore police officers, Sgt. John D. Platt and Officer Kevin J. McCarthy. Weiss received a sentence of six years and may serve three years ("6-year term for man in police deaths," Sept. 21).

I have just one question for Judge David Mitchell: If causing the deaths of two innocent people by having a blood alcohol content 30 percent higher than the legal limit, traveling 63 miles per hour on a 25-mile-per-hour narrow, residential street and flying through a stop sign are not enough to warrant the imposition of the maximum sentence, what is?

Nancy Kelly


Classroom amplification helps kids focus on learning

Thank you for printing such an informative article on classroom amplification systems ("A sound education," Sept. 18). I was pleased to see more schools are using FM systems to amplify teachers' voices.

The Hearing and Speech Agency's Gateway School has used FM systems successfully in all its classrooms for the past few years.

We find amplification allows our students -- all of whom have speech, language and hearing problems -- to focus far better on their teachers.

And any school, no matter the population it serves, can improve the delivery of instruction by using these devices.

Ilene Briskin


The writer is associate director of the Hearing and Speech Agency.

The governor is right to protect coastal bays

Worcester County is not the exclusive guardian of our coastal bays. They are here for all to enjoy and future generations have the right to have them preserved. But, while the Worcester County Commissioners fiddle, the bays deteriorate.

The state should provide minimum standards ("New bill to target coastal bays," Sept. 6). Then if the Worcester County Commissioners wish to do more bless them. But as it stands now, a handful of developers and landowners who want to get rich quick and move on seem to be in control.

The Worcester County Commissioners should thank Gov. Parris N. Glendening for his stand on this issue.

Harry Spedden


It's patriots who face problems with the media

According to The Sun, the "Media faces a dilemma in patriotic displays" ( Sept. 18). I would argue that patriots face a dilemma with the media.

WBFF-TV on-air news personnel report being upset because they were required to read messages supporting efforts against terrorism . But evidently they aren't too upset. How many of them quit? How many flatly refused?

And how many cheerfully stand up in front of the camera and tout the wonders of some commercial enterprise?

I do wish The Sun had identified those "concerned journalists" so I could be sure to tune them out in the future.

Bravo for Sinclair Broadcasting Group. It would seem that they are not ashamed to appear patriotic and caring.

Guy Thompson


Blind faith in country fosters cruel zealotry

The requirement that journalists read statements expressing unequivocal support for the Bush administration's military plans would be laughable if it weren't so base and insidious ("Media face dilemma in patriotic displays," Sept. 18).

I am an American and I cherish democracy. I was not a President Bush supporter before the tragedy and mindless nationalism will not make me one now.

The zealous misdeeds of those who perpetrated these acts aren't any different from the zealous misdeeds of many small-minded, bigoted Americans who make their ignorance plain by terrorizing other American citizens.

Blind faith let those who carried out the terror attacks commit their crime and blind faith is part and parcel of American nationalism.

I reject the necessity of patriotism just as I reject religious fundamentalism.

Jay Dover


Profiting from tax cuts is not very patriotic

Patriotism is riding high: Flags are flying everywhere and "God Bless America" signs are almost as prevalent.

But as the saying goes, "talk is cheap." I suggest that the members of Congress and the Administration "put their money where their mouth is" and rescind the tax break legislation, so that we can pay the billions of dollars it costs to fight terrorism without reaching for the cookie jar -- the Social Security Trust Fund.

Profiting from tax breaks while our country is dealing with one of the more threatening national emergencies in our history doesn't seem very patriotic to me.

Robert C. Coleman Jr.


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