Dis-United WayThe plans by the United Way to restructure...


June 29, 1994

Dis-United Way

The plans by the United Way to restructure and consolidate its fund-raising efforts in Central Maryland are extremely distressing as described in The Sun.

The plan would funnel most of the funds to the seven affiliate agencies and drastically reduce the choices donors have for designating their money to the agencies they choose.

Indeed, many donors support the United Way only because they are permitted to designate a specific agency to receive their money.

The United Way's track record for addressing critical health and social problems is not a good one, which may be a significant reason for its declining community support.

For example, in AIDS, the Central Maryland United Way has hardly addressed the problem. Yet, through designated donations, many people concerned about AIDS have been able to support the non-affiliated agencies offering advocacy and assistance to people with AIDS.

A great many patients depend upon these designated donations. Now they are to be dropped.

The United Way would do much better if it responded more to the desperate needs of its constituent community, and less to its predisposition to keep all the money.

In short, the current restructuring plan looks more like avarice than charity. It does not deserve the community's support.

Garey Lambert


The writer is with AIDS Action Baltimore

Clinton's Plan

I am glad Dr. Adrian E. Long and 23 other physicians from Kaiser Permanente have publicly voiced their concerns about the Clinton mandated health-care plan (Letters, June 11). Every citizen should start thinking about the rights we will be forced to give up.

A National Health Board appointed by politicians will decide what plans are allowed in each region, what prices can be charged, what benefits are allowed and who provides services. The boards also will control private fee-for-service charges and benefits.

The power this small group will have over individuals' health needs is offensive because we citizens have always had the power to make those decisions independently. If we aren't satisfied with any aspect of our care we always had plenty of other choices. But these alternatives will not be plentiful if the free market is curtailed as mandated in current health reform programs.

The proposal to limit the number of medical students allowed into specialty fields denies students the right to pursue their desire. Where is the spirit of opportunity that is America's creed? Also, the secretary of health and human services will be too powerful if he or she ends up choosing such candidates.

A national health plan will have a computer system that will allow others to access our health records. There was an incident recently at the IRS in which employees were looking-up the records of their neighbors, friends and celebrities. My health records should be more confidential than my tax records.

Congress doesn't even have all the financial answers to the plans they have prepared. But isn't it obvious that when we cut down a privately owned industry we are going to cut tax revenues from profitable businesses? We also are going to pay unemployment to their employees as well as subsidize their mandated health plan.

Helen Schmidt



In their commentary of June 23, Jack Germond and Jules Witcover decry the ''new and disturbing'' rise of religious activists in politics.

Inexplicably, they overlook a very prominent example of a Christian radical taking an active role in political discourse -- the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

We may all be thankful that Messrs. Germond and Witcover's standards for the separation of religion and politics were not in force forty years ago!

Terrence C. Casey


Stadium Escalators

In response to the editorial June 23 concerning the unfortunate escalator incident of June 18, it should be recognized that the Maryland Stadium Authority, not the Orioles, owns the escalators at Oriole Park and has the responsibility for the inspection, maintenance and upkeep of those escalators.

The Stadium Authority performs these functions in concert with the manufacturer of the escalators.

While these obligations rest with the Stadium Authority, the Orioles have nevertheless responded to this situation in an aggressive and fully involved manner.

In order to ensure the safety and well being of our fans, we have insisted on a detailed and complete investigation in order to determine the cause of the escalator accident and to prevent any further occurrence of this type.

The Orioles have worked hand-in-hand with the Stadium

Authority to achieve these goals and are pleased to acknowledge the exemplary cooperation of Stadium Authority officials in furthering that effort.

Reflective of the Orioles commitment to fan safety was the decision to suspend all escalator operations within minutes of the June 18 incident until a thorough and detailed inspection of all stadium escalators could be conducted.

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