AIDS ServicesIn reference to a Dec. 23 Sun article...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 13, 1995

AIDS Services

In reference to a Dec. 23 Sun article, several of the points made need to be clarified and expanded upon.

People with AIDS in the State of Maryland are heavily concentrated in Baltimore City, with Baltimore residents representing over 50 percent of the state's AIDS cases.

The Baltimore City Health Department has consistently been a leader in taking approaches to assure that persons affected by this disease have unhampered access to quality health care.

The Health Department provides many HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services and has a long record of sound, responsible and efficient administration of funds to other organizations and health providers in the AIDS field.

The Health Department currently administers a multitude of complex grants for HIV/AIDS programs in the city . . .

In administering more than 100 separate contracts for care in the community, the department has repeatedly shown its capacity to manage such projects. The highest priority of the direct service funds is to get health care to the people who need it most.

The department is also a leader in providing HIV/AIDS prevention services aimed at curtailing the spread of the disease.

Baltimore is the largest city in the United States whose city government is operating a needle-exchange project.

We operate several youth outreach projects to discourage young people from risky behavior that can lead to their acquisition of this deadly virus, and we have encouraged the participation of community organizations in preventing the spread of HIV. We currently provide funds to several community-based organizations for such projects.

Recent allegations that the Health Department was unable to administer one of the grants for which we are responsible, Ryan White Title III, refer to only one grant among the myriad we are charged with administering.

In its recent letter to the department regarding the change in the administration of these funds, the Health Resources and Services Administration acknowledged "the strong service delivery component that currently exists in Baltimore" and emphasized our expertise in AIDS service delivery . . .

The Health Department's record was recently recognized by the federal government when it awarded the city its Ryan White Title I funds, stating that the Baltimore Health Department has one of the best records in the country of managing Title I funds. We intend to uphold and continue to improve upon this record.

Peter Beilenson, M.D.

Baltimore

The writer is the commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department.

Mencken

In reference to the Dec. 26 article "It's all Mencken's Fault" by Susan Baer:

Given that most members of Congress have read little more by H. L. Mencken than quotes from a speaker's anthology, it is some credit to Rep. Newt Gingrich that he's read enough to dislike him.

But it should surprise no one that a politician like Gingrich, who takes seriously both his calling and himself, would find the writings of Mencken uncomfortable, even irritating.

Mencken was not a "mean person . . . who wrote with a deep cynicism and despised people." On the contrary, he was a good-natured realist who understood that politics, at root, is nothing but power and prestige.

What he despised were the arrogance and the cant of politicians, who veiled their ambitions with pietism and canards. He was driven to skewering such frauds.

Mencken's perspective, while it suited many in the 1920s, became annoying in the 1930s when faith was reawakened in the benevolence and efficiency of government.

While Gingrich may argue that the recent election was an endorsement of Republican views, a better analysis is that the American people have simply outgrown their sophomoric faith in political solutions, regardless of party.

They are coming around to H. L. Mencken.

R. W. Wilcke

Monkton

Bright Idea

Those new rock-concert style lights adorning the World Trade Center do indeed serve a useful purpose to Marylanders.

It will be a reminder to all that our state government just can't seem to get the message that taxpayers are tried of picking up the tab for such wasteful, unproductive expenditures.

Jim Tomney

Baltimore

Big Spenders

. . . Rep. Newt Gingrich's ideas and the "Contract with (or is it on?) America" currently being foisted upon the public as TTC solutions to our problems appear to suffer from the same heritage (or is it the Heritage Foundation?).

Here, for example, we are led to believe that substituting orphanages for parents would reduce the welfare budget even though Aid to Families with Dependent Children costs about $350 a month whereas institutionalizing a child costs about 10 times that amount.

Talk about free-spending liberals. Those conservatives must be 10 times as bad.

But, of course, they are simply guilty of putting forth ideas that seem politically correct (that is, that will get votes) without thinking through the consequences.

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