From: Del. Mary Louise Preis
D-District 34, Bel Air
The crime victims article that appeared in your Sunday, April 28 issue ("Victims of crime call for improved support services") was a remarkable report and I commend you and the author for it.
Alan J. Craver aptly related the sentiments and concerns expressed at the victims rights hearing at Harford Community College Wednesday, April 24,for all of us to reflect upon.
I have been following these issueswith particular interest because they were presented by many crime victims earlier this year to the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee, of which I am a member.
I was pleased to be a part of the committee's work on legislation that helped to improve the rights of victims.
The General Assembly passed a significant law that will establish a Maryland Victims of Crime Fund to provide vitally needed funding for victim services throughout the state. There is much yet to be done but, through efforts like yours, the need is being more clearly recognized.
A CONFLICT OF INTEREST
From: Jon J. Bellantoni, M.D.
Medical staff member
Department of Obstetrics
Harford Memorial Hospital
I find Habern Freeman's dual occupations as Harford County's state senator and as consultant to Franklin Square Hospital an outrageous conflict of interest ("Franklin Square Hospital is wooing Harford patients," Harford County Sun, April 28).
Despite denials by Franklin Square and Upper Chesapeake Health Systems in your article, it is financially ludicrous to think that these two hospital systems are not in fierce competition with each other in the Harford County patient market. Their economic well-being and strategic planning depend on their ability to attract people from the BelAir area.
Upper Chesapeake Health Systems is the third-largest employer in Harford County after the U.S. Army at the Aberdeen Proving Ground and Harford County Public Schools.
Freeman's efforts at helping Franklin Square "make inroads" into the Harford County medical market is detrimental to the coun
ty's economy, hardly in line withthe job he was elected to perform. His support of Franklin Square would be the equivalent of U.S. Sens. Mikulski and Sarbanes encouragingthe Department of Defense to move the operations at APG to Fort Dix,N.J.
Furthermore, Freeman confuses quality of care with level of care. The quality of care at Harford Memorial and Fallston General Hospitals is excellent and is not excelled by any hospital providing the same level of care.
Franklin Square does provide higher level facilities in areas such as its newborn intensive care nursery. However, there are even more sophisticated medical facilities in our region providing medical services that supercede those at Franklin Square.
I can attest that most obstetric transfers from Harford Memorial
Hospital (Fallston does not provide obstetric care) do not go to Franklin Square but rather to hospitals such as Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland.
The few obstetric patients that do transfer to Franklin Square from Harford Memorial usually do so because they originally planned to deliver there but came to Harford in labor believing that they did not have time to make it "all the way down to Baltimore."
I ask Freeman to step down from his consulting position atFranklin Square to end this detrimental conflict of responsibilities.
If he continues to serve interests outside our county, this Harford countian will do his best to see that Freeman will be free to doall the consulting he wishes after the next election.
NO PAY RAISES THIS YEAR
From: Robert S. Wagner
Councilman, District E
I amwriting in response to the story that appeared in The Harford Sun onApril 20, ("Council favors pay raises over $6.8 million reserve") centering around the fact that the County Council would rather give payraises instead of maintaining the $6.3 million account.
Speaking only for myself, that was the most classic example of irresponsible journalism you have done in a long time.
Your paper continually tries to make news to sell papers.
I believe your job is to report the facts, not promote some type of trumped-up story to sell more papers.
I am not in favor of giving pay raises or steps this year to any county employee. Economic circumstances are tough enough that I think that everyone understands that we must all tighten our belts together. If, by some miracle, the county could find a source of money that would be enough to cover the expense of a very small cost of livingincrease, I might favor that.
However, I am not optimistic that we will find that source of revenue. We must first take care of those things which are most necessary and pressing.
Had the reporter stayed longer than three hours at our budget hearing Thursday, April 18,her story might have contained some factual information.
I would hope that future stories would try to resemble the truth and not merely try to cause controversy or sell papers.