Chung's TasteCongratulations to The Sun for having the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 24, 1995

Chung's Taste

Congratulations to The Sun for having the moral courage to come down on Connie Chung in your editorial and Roger Simon's column (both Jan. 6).

It is rare for a professional to knock another member, even when such knocking is more than deserved.

Connie Chung may have thought she was cute in her handling of the Gingrich mother interview, but she showed poor taste.

If she wants to do tabloid journalism in her work, then she should move to the National Enquirer rather than besmirch the ethical members of her profession.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

The Disabled Poor

Recent events give cause to wonder who actually won the Maryland gubernatorial race.

Even before inauguration, Parris Glendening announced that he will eliminate a program which assists disabled Marylanders who are completely impoverished (news story, Jan. 10).

As a former Schaefer administration official remarked in bewilderment, "Even Ellen Sauerbrey wouldn't do that."

Actually, Ms. Sauerbrey did propose such a measure in 1992, in the midst of a fiscal crisis which required a $450 million emergency reduction in state spending.

Maryland's economic health is much improved, with a reported surplus in revenues. Perhaps Ms. Sauerbrey would not do this.

Why then is the governor proposing such a Draconian policy? Surely it is contrary to the notion of more comprehensively planned policies.

Even a relative novice in public policy knows that eliminating primary and preventive health care to sick people in an all-payer system results in increased health care costs for everyone. This is the reason that this small health care program was created.

Thus the first major policy announcement of the new administration is a middle-class tax increase (in the form of higher health insurance premiums). Is this what Mr. Glendening really intends?

Or the swelling of ranks of homeless persons in Maryland, which would result from ending the modest $157 monthly benefit these disabled Marylanders receive?

Michigan eliminated assistance in 1992 to able-bodied, unemployed residents. Seven months later, 25 percent were homeless.

Can our citizens and our business environment afford literally thousands more persons living on our streets?

It is worth nothing that Michigan, like 41 other states, maintains the aid to disabled citizens which Mr. Glendening would abolish.

Ending assistance to our most vulnerable neighbors is unnecessary and mean-spirited.

But Marylanders should also be concerned by the short-sightedness. We expected better from Mr. Glendening. But perhaps he has the courage to change his mind.

Jeff Singer

Baltimore

Prison School Works

Contrary to the opinion of others (Nathaniel Johnson Jr.'s Opinion * Commentary article, "Sleeping through Quarters," Dec. 28) prison schools have not "failed."

It must be stated with the utmost clarity and truth that thousands of persons have benefited from correctional education in Maryland. I am one.

I acquired both an associate's arts degree and a bachelor's degree thanks to correctional education.

I am currently employed by the Maryland State Department of Education, and I am a strong advocate for the continuation of educational programs within the prison setting, which will produce opportunities for others to benefit as I have.

The majority of persons convicted of crimes and offenses against society do not understand their social obligation and responsibility in helping to maintain the peace and harmony in our communities. They must be taught.

Luckily, an educational system exists which serves individuals within the correctional institutions.

This system is highly capable of providing the evaluation, training and learning which helps to change the attitudes and perspectives of correctional inmates. We have statistical xTC evidence to show it works.

The correctional education programs in operation in Maryland work.

Evidence of this can be seen in the lives of many former students who have made a successful re-entry into the community, and are now working at meaningful jobs as a result of the education and job-skills training they received while incarcerated.

There is no need to worry about these individuals. They did their time wisely by enrolling in the courses offered by the correctional education program. Now they are enjoying the fruits of their hard-won freedom.

They are living worthwhile lives -- lives they will not easily disregard. They have discovered the persons they wanted to become, and correctional education helped them achieve their dreams .

James L. Pearson

Baltimore

Control of One's Body an Absolute Good

Without beating the proverbial dead horse, I feel the need to respond to Cal Thomas' "Pro-Life Does Not Equal Pro-Death" (Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 11).

I am continually disturbed by the response of anti-choicers to violent actions like the recent shootings by John Salvi.

I have attended a private, conservative Presbyterian college in Western Pennsylvania for the last three years.

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