Brokers as JunkiesCongratulations to David Conn for his...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 13, 1994

Brokers as Junkies

Congratulations to David Conn for his concise and clear explanation of how the retail brokerage industry really works ("Taking Stock of Your Broker"-- April 24).

I am sure the industry will drag out the same old excuse as a defense: "Only a small number of the brokers are bad apples."

If they do, they have missed the point that Mr. Conn so aptly has made.

The root of the abuse lies in the way the brokerage firms compensate their brokers (read salespeople) solely through commissions. The industry has spawned a generation of commission junkies.

In order for these people to maintain their life-styles and increase their income, they must continue to produce higher and higher levels of commissions, which inevitably have to come out of the customer accounts.

Robert F. Mewshaw

Lutherville

Demons

Hold on a minute, Michael Olesker.

In a recent column, he wrote of the kids who are out on Greenmount Avenue late into the night. The parents, he said, are not doing their job by allowing their children to stay out "when the city unleashes its demons."

"Where are the parents?" he asked. Those demons he wrote of -- drugs, poverty, domestic violence, prostitution, crime, hopelessness, despair -- took the parents away a long time ago.

Susan Albright Malick

Essex

Muslim Violence

A report in The Sun ("Bus driver slain in Pakistani violence," May 2) highlights the fact that in Pakistan some Muslims are less equal than others. Now the Mohajir Qami Movement (i.e., the People's Refugee Movement) has pitted the minority India-born Muslims against the other Muslims.

Whatever happened to the brotherhood of Muslims? Are Muslims in this Islamic nation so fed up with their own government that they have to resort to violence in order to be heard?

This incident underscores the problems of nations which are created on the basis of religion or ethnicity.

More often than not, extremist religious or ethnic hard-liners start dominating politics and government policy, which undermines democracy and the rights of people. A democratically elected government is an experiment that must succeed in Pakistan as well as in the region. But the nation faces strong challenges from both hard-line religious groups and its very powerful military generals.

Pakistan must survive these two challenges and join the brotherhood of democratic nations that provide equal rights to all ethnic groups.

Pakistan also must refrain from being the champion of divisive religious forces that tear apart her country or the Kashmir province of India.

For Pakistan to prosper and progress, it must ensure that minorities are given equal rights and are protected.

Pradeep Ganguly

Baltimore

Keep the Hospitals Open and Intact

The Sun is to be lauded for its April 14 editorial, "Closing State Mental Hospitals."

It was an informative, unbiased yet cautionary expose on the closing of state hospitals in the greater Baltimore area. The treatment of the mentally ill at these hospitals would be undertaken by community health providers.

Citizens in the areas surrounding these hospitals are appearing at public forums fearing the state will transform these vacant grounds into detention centers, etc.

Whatever course the state pursues, many complex, job related and humane issues must be resolved.

Many states closed psychiatric hospitals for community-based treatment.

These states are being sued by individuals' families and state advocacy groups for closing these hospitals.

Many released individuals adapted to community settings, but the vast majority found themselves on the streets, in jails and emergency rooms.

The funds, in reality, were transferred from one area to another without any savings to the states or taxpayers. Community-based services were not available nor capable of caring for them.

These facilities, as stated by a number of noted psychiatrists and authoritative sources, are not licensed nor have the training to care for these sick individuals.

Thus, the most important and cautionary admonition before closing any state psychiatric hospital was aptly expressed by The Sun: "At the forefront of myriad concerns must be evolution of a health-care system that is responsive and accessible to those needing psychiatric treatment."

The answer to that admonition was given by Rosemary Wertz at one of the public hearings: "We have a higher level of care in the hospital than in group homes. Moreover, the state will have to appropriate millions, which will not come from hospital budgets, to the core agencies operating before any patients are transferred from the hospitals.

"That is new money the state can ill afford during the most recessionary period in the state's history."

Dr. Stuart Silver, director of the state Mental Hygiene Administration, assured all, "The most prudent approach would be pursued." No hospital will be closed without adequate planning, community-based services in place and any adverse effect on patient care.

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