Effective programs for young people
Your editorial of Feb. 11 raised several issues about the consolidation of the Department of Juvenile Services with the Office for Children, Youth and Families. The editorial was concerned about whether Dr. Grasmick would be able to shift from running programs largely geared toward younger children to a department that deals mostly with troubled teen-agers.
This is a misconception. The present Office for Children, Youth and Families does not run programs for young children, but develops policy on how services should be provided for all children, youth and families. Dr. Grasmick has done an excellent job of articulating a state policy in which preventive services will be available to children and their families. Increased emphasis will be placed on preserving families as opposed to placing children in expensive institutional care, and services will be DTC available to meet the needs of children and their families. Although Dr. Grasmick's office has done an excellent job in articulating this new policy, the practices and budgets of the state agencies that operate services for children and their families have still not changed to reflect these policies. By consolidating the Office for Children, Youth and Families with the Department of Juvenile Services, we will have an opportunity to put these policies in practice.
The writer is president, Advocates for Children & Youth.
Don't ban guns
You may have noticed an increase in the publicity the media have given to violence involving guns. I find it outrageous that during the legislative session, the media use our fear and emotion to influence our feelings about firearms.
One hopes the people, and especially our lawmakers, will make decisions based on reality and facts, and not feel that eliminating guns is the answer. As proven with the Maryland gun ban, further restrictions and bans on firearms will not reduce crime. Even though this is true, every year the Maryland legislature is pressured by anti-Second Amendment groups into passing even more laws. Where is my defense against crime if my constitutional right is taken away?
Please, senators and delegates, pay close attention to the facts and enforce the laws that are already on the books. Keep criminals behind bars, and leave citizens with the right to protect themselves and their families.
The writer is chairperson of Women for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Anna Quindlen's Feb. 12 column, in which she assigns wholesale social and moral turpitude to millions of New Yorkers, is unacceptable writing for a general circulation newspaper. We would expect to find these expressions of hate against targeted groups in the publications of such organizations as the Ku Klux Klan. As a 32-year Baltimorean and displaced New Yorker, I would like apologies from both Ms. Quindlen and The Evening Sun.
Carmen H. Plante
Last week I was walking up Charles Street and as usual passed numerous homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts. One skinny man came up to me and begged that I buy him some food so he could sit out of the cold in Penn Station. As I did this, the man explained that he had AIDS. He showed me his "official document" from the city which said he was homeless, and that a shelter he spent the night in should refrigerate his medicine. The homeless man said he has been waiting for several months for the city to process his paperwork to get permanent housing.
One of your writers explains how necessary animal research is to saving human lives. While the man above waits for his magic cure for AIDS, he is going to die from exposure to the cold. The basis of animal research is that there are secret cures. What really is happening is that the animal research approach has taught us not to practice prevention or to care. The system which ignores the pain of individual animals is the system which allows people to die on the street from the cold, permits young kids to have unsafe schools and atrocious dropout rates, sends our men and women to war to kill other men and women and allows a minority's largest killer of young males to be homicide. These problems are not going to be cured by animal research, but by developing a society which truly cares for all living beings, whether they be blacks, whites, the homeless, Iraqi children, poor Baltimore families, teen-age American soldiers or non-human animals.
The people's voice
Article XVI of the Maryland Constitution, titled, "The Referendum," begins: "The people reserve to themselves power known as the Referendum " We, the people, have the right of referendum only if they, the politicians, say we do. No "proposition" may be petitioned directly to the voters of Maryland, as Proposition 131 in California was, which now sets limits on the consecutive terms an elected state official may serve.
Where, then, is the power "the people reserve to themselves"? It resides in the hands of the politicians, not the people, as originally intended in the Ogden Amendment to the Constitution of Maryland by adding thereto a new article providing for "The Initiative and Referendum."
The politicians eliminated voter initiative, thereby gutting the bill This resulted in the consolidation of more power in their own hands. Despite this institutionalized flimflam, the voters of Maryland must fight for term limitations; it's the only way "we the people" can get our governments back from "career" politicians. Nothing less than the survival of our country is at stake here.
Ronald R. Rowan
The real victims
With regard to the new Red Cross' advertising billboards, please allow me to point out that it is usually not cute, little, blond, white girls who are the victims of war.