Money TalksIn commenting on what he views as a "new trend...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 03, 1994

Money Talks

In commenting on what he views as a "new trend" of the wealthy "buying" elections, Barry Rascovar suggests in his March 20 column that money currently doesn't "talk" in Maryland politics. What an ironic comment, following the disclosure that a House committee granted the highest-paid lobbyist in Maryland a private hearing after he missed the regularly-scheduled session because of a basketball game.

Mr. Rascovar may not know it, but the people of Maryland certainly understand that money already talks in Maryland politics, money from the gun lobby, the tobacco lobby, the liquor lobby, etc. The role special interest money plays in Maryland politics is a large part of the reason why the governor and the legislature have trouble conducting the people's business with the people's best interests in mind.

How else does one explain the inability of the legislature to enact comprehensive gun controls, enhanced penalties for drunk drivers or higher cigarette taxes?

Certainly some of this is due to legitimate differences of opinion on what may be an appropriate level of regulation in a given area. But too often it has to do with money given by interest groups in the last election.

Today, professional politicians and their special interest cronies are running our government, and just look at the mess we're in.

Money has talked for a long time in Maryland politics. Maybe now it's time to let the people have a say.

lizabeth McGee

Brookeville

Gun Sham

Of the 29 people who voluntarily turned in their guns in Baltimore County, were any of them members of street gangs, career criminals or drug dealers?

How many guns were actually taken "off the street," thereby preventing the loss of innocent lives?

I think that honest, law-abiding gun owners know the answers.

Remember the ban on the "Saturday Night Special"? That one really worked. Street thugs and drug dealers abandoned their cheap, small-caliber weapons that often misfired or blew up in shooters' hands for more sophisticated, expensive, sometimes exotic, rapid-firing, high capacity magazines and weapons.

I wonder what they'll use to kill each other with when those are banned?

George Martin

Aberdeen

Hon Talk

Any shenanigans among city and state officials to install the word "hon" on Baltimore's signs is truly an embarrassment.

Calling female co-workers "hon" is inappropriate.

I don't dispute that its usage is an exclusive vernacular trait of certain Baltimoreans. There is indeed a thin line between endearment and distaste.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma's commentary (March 22) is to some degree appreciated, even if she under-appreciates what solidarity honspeak does spread across the city.

Sometimes, however, what we need more than sensitivity is a sense of humor. Both go toward creating real community.

Then again, that's just a white-trash opinion from a transplanted Hampdenite in the county.

Gregg A. Wilhelm

Parkville

Disabled Marylanders Inadequately Served

Your March 21 editorial did not at all reflect the experiences of those who work with the addicted. If public policy is made on the basis of these inaccuracies, then it will only continue to 'u inadequately serve disabled Marylanders.

First, you state that the Social Security Administration has reached out to the addicted so effectively that it has produced an administrative crunch.

In truth, with the exception of a few offices and individual employees, SSA remains an intractable bureaucracy, and benefits continue to be inaccessible for the vast majority of those entitled to them.

SSA offices have a backlog of applications because they are grossly understaffed, not because so many addicts are applying for benefits.

Second, you cite Sen. William S. Cohen's call for stricter controls on those receiving checks on behalf of the disabled.

You do not explain that the Social Security Administration has refused to take any responsibility to secure appropriate representative payees for beneficiaries.

These disabled adults who have been judged to be unable to manage their affairs are required, on their own, to produce someone who is willing to handle the payments for them.

It is no wonder that bartenders are recruited.

More frequently, beneficiaries are unable to obtain their benefits and thus live on the streets for months or years before they are assisted by social welfare agencies.

Our own agency, Health Care for the Homeless, is overwhelmed by the need to provide this service to our clients.

A public commitment to the provision of representative payee services for the disabled is the only solution to his problem.

Third, you fail to note that the level of payments is so inadequate that recipients still must live in poverty, frequently unable to afford even the most meager housing.

Some states supplement these payments; Maryland does not.

Should we be surprised that an alcoholic who is forced to live on the streets continues to drink?

Finally, you repeat Senator Cohen's contention that few addicted recipients receive required treatment.

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