Fordice VisionA Nov. 25 editorial correctly condemned...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 04, 1992

Fordice Vision

A Nov. 25 editorial correctly condemned Mississippi Gov. Kirk Fordice's characterization of the United States as a Christian country. Fordice, who recently made that remark at the Republican governor's conference, rejected suggestions from his colleagues to amend that description to ''Judeo-Christian.''

Fordice's campaign for Mississippi's governorship last fall clarified his vision of ''the United States of America as a Christian nation.'' A newcomer to politics, he conveyed his disapproval of welfare with an advertisement of a young black mother cradling a baby in her arms. He also distinguished himself as the sole candidate in Mississippi who took the time to answer a questionnaire submitted to him by the Nationalist Movement, a neo-Nazi organization.

In one of his responses to that questionnaire, he called for repealing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Nationalist Movement leader Richard Barrett attended Fordice's victory celebration.

Governor Fordice continues to build on that political platform.

Judith Bolton-Fasman

Baltimore

School Question

I enjoyed Ronald J. Valenti's Nov. 23 letter on Catholic schools.

My question is: Who will fund the vouchers? I believe that public school funds should not be used to pay for parochial school vouchers. Economic justice for public education has never been realized for all Maryland students.

Due to the statewide budget cuts, Baltimore City and the 23 surrounding counties will balance their budgets once again with overcrowded classrooms, fewer supplies and less staff.

If public schools were properly funded and received $7,000 per pupil and that money was used only for books, supplies and equipment for that student, then we would begin to close the wide gap in equity of funding among the various subdivisions throughout Maryland.

At this time not all public school children have an equal opportunity to learn in an environment that is clean and safe. Not all public school children have access to enough desks, chairs, textbooks and supplies, let alone science lab equipment or computers.

When I realize that it costs $50,000 to keep a man in jail for a year with public funds, I begin to appreciate the fact that it would be cheaper in the long run to properly fund public education now -- even if it means raising revenues to do it.

Paula Baziz

Pikesville

Charity Groups

As an individual with ties to Baltimore's business and %J philanthropic communities, I find the dialogue prompted by Pablo Eisenberg's criticism of the Weinberg Foundation particularly disappointing.

This community is fortunate to have benefited by the thousands of dollars of the Weinberg Foundation's generosity, and every dollar committed to Baltimore should be applauded and appreciated rather than scorned or second-guessed. On that score, I agree wholeheartedly with David Cordish's letter to the editor of Nov. 7.

I must take exception, however, with Mr. Cordish's "serious question . . . of why the major national and local foundations, originated by persons of religious denominations different from Mr. Weinberg's, distribute virtually no significant portion of their funds to Jewish charities."

It is regrettable that so many of us in this community often view philanthropy in such absolute terms. The issue is not whether the charity is Jewish or Christian, but whether or not its mission is worthy and is carried out responsibly. One could look to the example of the Associated Catholic Charities and the many people they serve, and serve well, regardless of race, religion, color or creed.

The challenge to the local and national foundations is not, in my opinion, a religious one but a clarion call to find more effective means of making a difference and attacking the many real social issues crying out for attention today.

Walter D. Pinkard Jr.

Baltimore

Privatizing Public Employees' Jobs

In "Weighing Privatization" (Nov. 18), you suggested that privatization should not be ruled out simply out of concern for public workers and that privatization should be considered as a way to reduce governmental cost by eliminating employee health benefits.

In "The Challenge for Hickey School" (Nov. 29), you suggested that the cancellation of the Hickey School private contract "does not represent the failure of privatization or vindication of the previous state-run administration."

From the perspective of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, your views neglect several important factors:

* Quality of service delivery is related to treatment of employees. Be they public or private, employees with less pay and no benefits have less investment in the work product.

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