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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

County budget ;acls funds for needed services

Baltimore County Council member Vincent J. Gardina calls the county's new spending plan "the best budget that's been put together in my 14 years here" ("County's $1.3 billion budget keeps tax rates steady," May 28). But while county leaders deserve some praise for not increasing taxes, this is hardly the best budget imaginable for Mr. Gardina's constituents.

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Northeast Baltimore County's elderly population continues to climb. Yet the budget contains no plans to build a second senior center in the Perry Hall area.

And for the second year in a row, County Executive James T. Smith Jr. has not included money to buy land and construct a new high school in his budget. Baltimore County looks the other way as Perry Hall High School and Towson High School become more overcrowded, and ignores a study that specifically recommends construction of a new school to solve the problem.

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The final extension of Honeygo Boulevard, a major transportation project in Perry Hall, has been delayed because of funding problems.

In the northeast part of the county, new infrastructure could have been built if the county had demanded extra funding from developers.

Baltimore County is learning the hard way that growth does not pay for itself, and our leaders should not be patting themselves on the back.

David Marks

Perry Hall

Cosby's criticisms ignore segregation

Bill Cosby was praised for his recent remarks by Cal Thomas ("Heed Cosby's frank words on the state of black America," Opinion * Commentary, May 26) and Clarence Page ("Kudos to Cosby for daring to speak the truth," Opinion * Commentary, May 27).

Mr. Thomas sees Mr. Cosby as an actor, comedian, educator and philosopher. He might be a great comic actor, but he certainly has not been able to shed much light on the reasons for the divergence of black youths from white, mainstream behavior.

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Mr. Cosby seems to blame black kids and their parents because they just don't try hard enough. Mr. Thomas sees the high rate of black crime and the high rate of births to unmarried mothers as "the failure of the welfare state" sponsored by liberals. Both of them express themselves very well, but both of them are wrong.

Mr. Page offers kudos to Mr. Cosby for daring to speak the truth and having the courage to violate "black political correctness" and air the dirty black laundry in public. The problem is that the laundry isn't really dirty and doesn't need to be held out as such.

Seventy years ago, sociologist Gunnar Myrdal wrote his classic treatise, An American Dilemma. In it, he catalogued the failures of our populace to live up to the constitutional ideals of racial equality and, more important, of our inability even to recognize the existence of prejudice.

The country still doesn't see it. This blindness is the root cause of the divergence.

Cut off from the mainstream in almost every area of their lives, segregated people develop their own patterns of behavior in their attempts to cope. This behavior may not fit the ideals of the mainstream, but that does not mean it is necessarily bad or a symptom of something bad.

Frank Fischer

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Baltimore

Terrorists revive evil of Nazi era

I am absolutely incensed about the article "Survivors recall cold-blooded search for foreigners" (May 31) on Page 11A of The Sun. This should have been front-page news, and the subject of a Sun editorial. The leaders of our country, and other countries, should be expressing more than diplomatic regrets.

The terrorists described in this article could well have taken their orders from the most evil person of the 20th century -- Adolf Hitler. It is the same evil coming forth again, only with a different face and target.

The terrorists showed their true nature and motives in the Saudi Arabia attack. We didn't comprehend what was going on in the 1930s and the 1940s. But we now know the consequences of such blind hatred. And it is time for all citizens and all countries to recognize that, and act accordingly. Those who seek to appease or avoid such evil will pay a greater price later.

Hatred such as this eventually comes around to bite everyone, including the appeasers and avoiders.

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Frank Rochowiak

Freeland

Knights of Columbus grows in other areas

I read with great interest the article "Fraternal groups moving out" (May 24) because Sun reporter Antero Pietila interviewed me on the phone. While overall the article was reasonably accurate, it did not fully reflect my comments.

I acknowledged that membership in the Knights of Columbus has declined in the city, but I pointed out that the primary reasons have to do with our membership requirements and demographic changes. The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic organization, so every member must be an active Catholic. However, there has been a long-term trend for Catholics to move from the core city to the suburbs. Therefore, the primary reason for the decline in membership in the city is the decrease in eligible Catholics.

The Knights of Columbus is bucking the trend of the decline of fraternal societies. We continue to grow in suburban and rural areas. In the past two years, we have recruited more than 3,000 new members in Maryland and instituted five new local councils.

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I told the author about our rapid growth outside the city, but those remarks were not reflected in the article.

Richard L. Sherbert Jr.

Brookeville

The writer is a member of the Maryland State Council of the Knights of Columbus.

Teach teens to see the signs of abuse

The severe beating of a Lansdowne High School honor student by her boyfriend should serve as an alert to all teenagers and their parents ("Honor student's future is shattered by beating," May 29).

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Extreme jealousy of classmates and friends and attempts to isolate anyone from her family should serve as red flags. While such caring from their dates initially flatters girls, such relationships often become smothering and violent. This is not about love; it is about control.

Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, is rampant among teenagers as well as adults. A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that one out of every five American teenage girls reported having been in a physically or sexually abusive dating relationship.

All teenagers should be taught the danger signs of such relationships and have the tools to make healthy choices. This tragedy should initiate frank discussions between parents and teenagers about healthy relationships.

Elizabeth H. Lehmann

Phoenix

The writer is a board member of the Maryland Health Care Coalition Against Domestic Violence.


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