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Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr., senior pastor of Union Baptist Church, reads books in his home office. He recently used a $40,000 grant to find out what Baltimore residents think about using a surveillance plane to fight crime.
Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr., senior pastor of Union Baptist Church, reads books in his home office. He recently used a $40,000 grant to find out what Baltimore residents think about using a surveillance plane to fight crime. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Irrespective of the subject of the poll contained in the article (“Over 70% of Baltimore residents would support controversial surveillance plane, poll shows,” Oct. 14), I was appalled at the amount of grant funds used to interview 500 people.

According to the article, Rev. Alvin Hathaway Sr., a pastor at Union Baptist Church in Upton, commissioned a poll using $40,000 in grant money from the Abell Foundation to interview 500 people regarding surveillance planes. While $40,000 may not sound like a great deal of money, to a non-profit, on the ground, assisting the youth of Harlem Park, that money would fund an after school program for a year. In Baltimore City, the average wage is $45,000. So by my quick math, the Mr. Hathaway could have hired one person to ask 500 people how they felt over that full year.

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Or, perhaps, he could have put the squeegee kids to work asking their clients how they felt about crime in their city. From the article it is not clear how the grant funds were used, but Hathaway is correct, “People are desperate for answers.”

Joshua Tearnan

The writer is vice president of the Harlem Park East Community Development Corp.

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