- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 19, 2000

Affected residents voice concern over Maryland bill[p]I would like to thank The Washington Times for your article concerning Maryland Senate Bill 509 ("Gentrification bill threatens Baltimore County homes," March 14). There is more to that story.

I would like to thank The Washington Times for your article concerning Maryland Senate Bill 509 ("Gentrification bill threatens Baltimore County homes," March 14). There is more to that story. The three oldest children in the photo accompanying the article are my children. Jigantree and Harry Pasram are their grandparents, living in one of the properties to be confiscated by Baltimore County Executive C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger's land-grab plan.

Unfortunately for my children, the same bill would eliminate their other grandparents' property as well. My parents live in another owner-occupied residence listed for confiscation in S.B. 509. If successful, this bill will wipe out my children's heritage. This might have been accidental on the part of the county, but from my viewpoint, it seems highly ironic.

My children's names are Dave, Seeta and Devica. I would like someone to explain to them why all of their grandparents are about to lose their homes, businesses and retirement income. These children are young adults, ranging in age from 17 to 25. All will be voters in the upcoming election. Our community has held together and wishes to continue that way. But if government can so easily destroy one family's hopes and dreams, how does it really feel about families?

This past month was the first opportunity I have had to speak before our government representatives. I have been negligent, thinking voting was enough. Now, it appears that my being unaware and comfortable will cost my parents greatly and remove any remnants of what they have built. Why should my children be the ones to lose their heritage? Our parents have taken good care of their land. They never deserted their community. Can't someone stop this land grab and community destruction?

CYNTHIA PARSRAM

Essex, Md.

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p]Thank you for printing the article on our situation in eastern Baltimore County. The comment about us by Michael Davis, a top aide to Baltimore County Executive C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger deserves comment. Mr. Davis said "the county didn't ask many who live and work in the community to be involved in its revitalization because they don't fit the administration's vision."

As one of those who "don't fit," from a family of those who "don't fit," I would like to ask Mr. Davis what the qualifications are to "fit" into the county's vision. Is it paying taxes? My family has been paying taxes in Baltimore County for four generations. Is it being born here? My grandfather was born on the family property, as was my 74-year-old mother. Is it living here your whole life? My mother has. Is it making a living and raising a family here? My parents have. Is it looking out for our neighbors and helping them when they need it? We have. I guess the powers that be in Baltimore County do not consider these proper qualifications for residents.

We obviously are not worthy to own the land and property that we have, and it certainly must be taken away from us by eminent domain and given to others who will use it to enrich the county more than my family has over the past 125 years.

Thank you, Mr. Davis, for your candid assessment of our worth as human beings.

GEORGEANN LYNCH

Essex, Md.

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I am greatly concerned about Senate Bill 509. If this bill passes, I could lose my home. I have lived in Middle River for 56 years. My home has always been kept in good condition. In June 1996, I received a certificate from the Middle River Community History Project recognizing my home as "a unique contribution to the architecture of Middle River."

I deserve to keep my home. Maryland residents should contact Gov. Parris N. Glendening and members of the Maryland legislature to express their opposition to S.B. 509.

JUNE KILGORE

Baltimore

Presidential candidates should consider bringing troops home

The remaining presidential candidates have a unique opportunity this election year to introduce novel foreign-policy prescriptions into their debates. Worth consideration is a declaration that it's time to stop fighting the Cold War and bring home all U.S. armed forces serving abroad by the end of the next presidential term. You don't need a poll to know that many Americans are dissatisfied with the new world order espoused by the Clinton administration.

Why is it so hard to understand that the United States should mind its own business? Our interference in the affairs of others puts us at risk or don't the tragedies at our African embassies and the World Trade Center count? Had the United States recalled its foreign legions after the Soviet Union fell, we would have a less nervous world and, therefore, a safer America.

The Marshall Plan helped Europe recover from World War II, but no amount of aid and good will can return what was never there in the first place. There were other ways to settle the Iraqi incursion besides going to war, a war that set the precedent for the Kosovo war; both resulted in less than satisfactory victories.

Unless there is a serious debate about America's role in the next post-Cold War period, this presidential campaign season will end much as it began with irrelevancy. Most Americans have made it clear that the best way to help the have-nots is to keep the economy growing by paying off the national debt. Consequently, the presidential candidates are left with little more than straw men to knock down if they are in agreement with Clintonites that the United States should administer the world.

CHRIS CHERONIS

Wheaton

Trustees should be blamed for latest D.C. school crisis

Your March 15 editorial, "The latest school crisis," blames the D.C. financial control board for precipitating the crisis of governance in the D.C. public schools.

Why? Because, you say, this federal oversight board never should have created the Emergency Transitional Educational Board of Trustees, given that school bureaucrats hardly need an extra layer of appointed decision makers to further muddle their actions.

That may be so. But let's be clear that the people who caused the immediate crisis are the school trustees who resigned en masse.

Yes, it was a control board decision that provoked those resignations. But that decision was perfectly rational, and wholly consistent with the goal of raising the quality of education for D.C. children.

The board decided to let Paul Junior High School, which is converting to charter school status, lease a city-owned building this fall. That's the kind of help that progressive civic leaders have given promising charter schools across the country.

Paul is more than promising. It has been delivering academic results in the past decade, but its principal, teachers and parents seek now to take the next step by breaking free of central-office red tape. The energy and enterprise of Paul is something that all people supportive of educational improvement in the District, including school trustees, ought to be encouraging.

Instead, the trustees resigned in a show of solidarity with D.C. School Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman, who has been trying to keep Paul in the fold of regular schools. She is typical of most government school superintendents in not wanting to lose students or schools from the flock whether to charter schools, home schools or private schools.

But the growth of charter schools soon, one out of every 10 children in the city will attend one of these innovative schools of choice is one of the most hopeful developments in the District.

Certainly the District doesn't need an appointed school board if its members are going to be accomplices to bureaucrats' rear-guard actions against charter schools.

ROBERT HOLLAND

Senior fellow

Lexington Institute

Arlington

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