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Letters to the editor

July 29, 2003

Nigh has a point on rowdy renters


To the editor:

Hagerstown Councilman Linn Hendershot made an interesting comment regarding Penny Nigh's remarks about Section 8 renters, to the effect of "Penny sometimes labels things, which can be dangerous." As far as I can see, it's only dangerous for politicians, and Penny is to be thanked for speaking her mind, whether one agrees with her or not.

Last year I wrote a letter taking issue with her remarks about the Fairgrounds Park, which she stated was a "rich, white man's park." She had the right to say that, but my concern was that it was motivated by political correctness and that she wouldn't have the guts to use terms like that if they offended the delicate PC-sensibilities of any whiny/oppressed victims group. Guess I was wrong, and my apologies.

Now, as to the comments themselves, I have to say I pretty much agree with her. I was never a Section 8 renter, but I did rent for a while many years ago with a group of friends, and I still remember (much to my chagrin) how little care we took of the house and how thoughtless and rude we were as neighbors. If we wanted to stay up most of the night, well, we wanted as many people as possible to stay up with us.

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I've owned a home in town for about 11 years now, and in that time I've seen many homes on our street turned into rentals. I've also seen a drop in neighborliness, an increase in late night police visits, and a general decline in house upkeep.

And now it is the homeowners in our area who are forced to call the police when a house full of renters decide they want to stay up all night, or that they want to fight in the alley, etc. That's one of the reasons we're building a house in the county. My kids don't need that kind of example.

I admit that the previous recountings constitute nothing more than anecdotal evidence and I have no statistical research to back Nigh's claim, but there is nothing wrong with using experience to form an opinion.

Does that mean you don't trust renters? Of course not. I know there are some people who have no desire to ever own a home and are wonderfully civic-minded. I also know there are many people renting until they can afford to buy. I was in that boat myself. That's all well and good.

What's not well and good is to use a ridiculous comparison. While I agree with Hendershot that not all people who live in Fountain Head are good, just as all renters aren't bad, it would be silly to assert that areas that are predominantly owner-occupied are just as likely to have high crime rates as - or generally be no better than - neighborhoods made up of renters.

You don't need statistics to make this point. Simply ask yourself this one question: "Where would I feel more comfortable while walking alone at 1 a.m.? The Terrace or just about any other street south of there?"

Doug Walker
Hagerstown




Assassination a dangerous tool


To the editor:

With the deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons our government has established a precedent that we consider assassination to be a valid tool of foreign policy.

Will we still believe that is true if a foreign power, such as Iraq, Iran or North Korea, should decide to effect a regime change in The United States of America?

Allen Loser
Hagerstown




Correction

Due to an error by the editorial page editor, some words were omitted from a quote in a June 17 letter from Mrs. Harold Jacobs.

The quote should have read that Congress "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the exercise thereof.."

The Herald-Mail regrets the error.

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