COLA delayedThe Clinton administration has delayed for...

the Forum

January 26, 1994

COLA delayed

The Clinton administration has delayed for three months the 2.6 percent cost-of-living pay hike for retired federal employees which was scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 1994.

The letter which notified military retirees of this change included the proviso that "members who retired under disability provisions (for medical reasons before having served a minimum of 20 years) . . . will not be affected by this change."

What this means is that the vast majority of military retirees, including those who retired after 20 or more years with a "service-connected disability," will be affected, while the relative few who retired because of service connected disabilities will receive the increase as scheduled.

If this belt-tightening was really necessary, I wish the administration had announced it publicly instead of sending these hushed letters to each of those of us who eagerly awaited the cost of living increase (in my case a munificent $59 a month).

Most of us old soldiers, sailors and airmen would groan a little, then say what the hell, if it's for the good of the country.

At least that way we'd get some credit for trying to help get us out of this financial hole somebody else got us into.

P. R. Politano

Baltimore

Briefing yields insights into state agenda

Attending the Republican pre-session caucus briefing by Maryland state department heads, I was struck by the breadth of the work to be done by the Maryland General Assembly in 1994.

Fiscal and budget problems are somewhat under control, with promises of no new taxes this election year.

Health care reform has been passed, with most people agreeing that the Maryland health care initiative is one of the best in the country, but with worries about how the Federal health care plan will affect Maryland's law.

Education initiatives set forth by Superintendent Nancy Grasmick were Head Start, children in poverty, Chapter 1 funding, a proposal to "reconstitute" failing schools, and special schools for disruptive students.

Last but not least were proposals by Dr. Rosetta Stith of the Governor's Commission on Welfare Policy, and Carolyn Colvin, secretary of the Department of Human Services.

Their presentation had my attention from the beginning as a hard look at our failed welfare system with intelligent and caring proposals to rectify the problems:

* A two-year limit on duration of welfare, with attempts to put people to work through training or community service.

* Possible limits on welfare funding for more than two children.

* And consideration of aid to the working poor . . .

Many people don't realize that a more conservative approach to the welfare mess would be in the best interest of the people on welfare, as well as the general public.

Although all of the Maryland officials at the caucus were well informed, I was particularly struck by Carolyn Colvin as a person who knows what a problem we have in our present welfare system, but who also has the vision and goals to make necessary changes for a better Maryland, as well as a better America.

Michael J. Davis

Essex

It's time to get tough on criminals

Recently I retired from the Baltimore County police department after a 28-year tenure. During the later part of my career when gun control had became the ultimate cure-all for society's ever increasing crime rate, I felt restrained while an active member of the department as to what comments I could or did make.

I'm dismayed at the time and effort that the news media and some politicians have directed towards gun control while completely ignoring the true contributing factors to rising crime and violence. It's like if the media and a few politicians can focus their energy towards gun control, ignoring the true causes, then maybe, just maybe, the public in general will accept that. I can assure you that the public in general is far more knowledgeable than that and it will reflect in its voting during the next election.

We are currently living in a violent society where there is no fear of reprisal by those who commit criminal acts. We have a judicial and penal system in total disarray. I suggest only that you go and sit just one full day in any of our criminal courts, where our society has created nothing more than a revolving door. In our nation's capital, the murder capital city of this country, of all the arrests made for homicide, less than one-third ever spend any time in jail. Think about that one minute -- less than one third.

We have established a welfare system that is being misused for the purpose for which it was intended. Unwed mothers are having as many as four and five children and even more just to supplement their monthly income. As these children grow older, many are subjected to child abuse, and when they become teen-agers, the mothers adapt to the theory, ''Hence out of sight, out of mind.'' Thereby the potential for our next generation of criminal element.

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