Speaking Of Stereotyping . . .After reading Elise...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 04, 1993

Speaking Of Stereotyping . . .

After reading Elise Armacost's Feb. 21 column, I agree that the Phoenix Center in Annapolis does not receive the credit it deserves for the fine work it does with emotionally and mentally disabled children and adolescents. However, I strongly object to her reference to Sheppard Pratt Hospital in paragraph seven.

Many troubled adolescents "end up" on the street, on drugs, in jail or dead. They do not "end up" at Sheppard Pratt. For many children and adolescents, Sheppard Pratt is the beginning of the road to recovery. Many kids arrive at Sheppard Pratt in crisis after being "shifted from relative to relative," suicidal and with no hope for the future.

Once in our health system, these kids receive the care and

treatment they need to be able to get on with their lives.

After stabilization and evaluation, many adolescents are referred back to their educational agency, which in turn provides placement for them in the least restrictive setting that can provide the therapy and educational component appropriate to the adolescent's needs, such as the Phoenix Center in Anne Arundel County or our own Forbush School in Baltimore County.

The manner in which the commentary refers to Sheppard Pratt is unfortunate. Our Child and Adolescent Services fight the same battles against stereotyping and stigmatizing that programs such as the Phoenix Center do. It is ironic that this is stated in the article, but then the commentary refers to Sheppard Pratt in a negative manner.

The Child and Adolescent Services of the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Health System Inc. includes five inpatient units, one day hospital, and various outpatient groups and support services, as well as the Forbush School, which is accredited by the state of Maryland and provides special education for children and adolescents, grades K-12. All of these programs are designed withthe care of the child or adolescent in mind.

I urge Ms. Armacost to be more careful with her selection of words in the future, and that she does not stereotype an organization that strives to help people enhance and restore their ability to function and improve their quality of life.

Mark R. Eber

Towson

L The writer is public affairs coordinator for Sheppard Pratt.

Clinton's Plan

In the last few weeks, my office has received a flood of scared and angry calls from people who have been told that the Clinton plan will, among other things, tax them on the rental value of their homes.

They believe that a provision called "Footnote 4" proposes to drive them into a much higher tax bracket, or tax them on income they did not receive.

While I may have some big problems with the Clinton plan, I feel compelled to assure people that there is no such tax in the proposal. . . .

When President Clinton proposed his new taxes, he also provided a table showing how these tax increases would affect various income groups. He used this to show that 70 percent of the taxes would be paid by people with incomes over $100,000, and that no one with an income below $30,000 would be affected. But there was a catch.

The president's table did not group people according to their regular income. It grouped them according to something called Family Economic Income -- this measure takes into account a variety of non-taxable assets, such as the rental value of owner-occupied housing. In doing this, the president makes the people affected by his tax increases look richer than they really are. This was mentioned in Footnote 4 below the table.

I believe this was disingenuous. Using the normal definition of income, the president should have said that 70 percent of the taxes would be paid by people with incomes over $70,000 and that no one under $20,000 would be affected. But the chart was not a tax proposal; it was used to illustrate the effects of the president's other taxes, such as the BTU tax.

Many people who oppose the Clinton plan, especially in the talk-radio community, misunderstood this, and thought that the president was trying to tax people on the value of their homes. This has caused a lot of unwarranted fear and confusion.

I realize that this is hard to understand, but the important thing is this: No matter what you may have heard, there is nothing in the plan which seeks to tax people's homes, nor does it change the definition of income. It is unfortunate that a simple misunderstanding has caused so much anxiety. I would encourage anyone who needs further clarification to contact my office for a full explanation.

Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest

Washington, D.C.

The writer represents Maryland's 1st District.

Middle-Class Aid?

During recent public hearings before the Subcommittee for Human Services and Public Safety, a very brave, courageous young mother from Anne Arundel County appeared to give personal testimony regarding the difficulties that she and her husband face.

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