Wimpy FacadeIt is very sad to see Baltimore's Police...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 21, 1995

Wimpy Facade

It is very sad to see Baltimore's Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier cower behind his wimpy facade and reject Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr.'s call for a special squad of officers to seize illegal firearms.

Mr. Frazier is either going to do it now or do it later, after we have a thousand more shootings on the streets of Baltimore.

"No guts," says Officer Gary McLhinney, president of the police officers union. That statement sums it up completely when you assess Commissioner Frazier's job performance.

Walter Boyd

Lutherville

Photo Surprise

You can imagine my surprise when an acquaintance called to tell me a picture of my billboard had appeared in The Baltimore Sun.

At my request a copy of your special report, "America's Most Wanted Welfare Plan," with a picture of our firm's billboard was mailed to me. Under the picture of the billboard is a caption that reads, "A law firm advertises SSI aid on Denver skid row. 'When lawyers are this interested in a federal program, it's a good bet that it is out of control,' says Bob Cote who runs a nearby half-way house."

Our firm was never contacted by your paper regarding this article. Based upon the negative connotation, I would like to respond.

You will note that the billboard itself contains the wording, "Social Security disability -- have questions?" . . .

One type of benefit plan is Supplemental Security Income. SSI is a need-based program for the disabled. You are eligible for benefits regardless of whether you have ever paid into the Social Security program. . .

Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal insurance program which is paid for by workers and employers who have contributed into the system through taxation. In order to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits you must have worked and paid in for 20 of 40 quarters preceding onset of disability. . .

Our law firm does not ordinarily handle Supplemental Security Income cases except on a pro-bono basis.

We do, however, have billboards that are rotated on a quarterly basis around the Denver metro area and outlying counties. We have little control over the specific location. Outdoor Systems, our billboard company, selects to place the billboards and their rotation in our general geographical area.

Supplemental Security Income cases are referred by our firm to the Metropolitan Legal Aid program, which handles them on a pro-bono or reduced fee basis.

So, contrary to Mr. Cote's assertion that we are advertising for Supplemental Security Income, we are not.

We are making our services available to those individuals who have paid into the federal disability system and, for one reason or another, have been unable to receive benefits after becoming disabled under the Social Security disability provisions. . .

Janet L. Frickey

Denver

The writer is a principal in Norton Frickey & Associates.

Not Rich

I resent your Feb. 26 editorial which claims that the Republicans in Congress are only going to pass tax cuts to the rich.

One of the Republican plans is to cut the capital gains tax. This will benefit many Americans like me.

I am not rich. I have 29 years left on my mortgage, I still owe money on my 1990 automobile and I recently spent $1,100 in repairs on my car (part of which I still owe to my credit card).

Making less than $40,000 is middle class income, the last I heard. Yet I had to pay $66 in capital gains taxes for 1994. With this money, I could pay 10 percent of my credit card bill or take my wife out to dinner, thus helping a restaurant pay its bills.

Patrick K. Harris

Elkridge

Help Needed

I'm writing to address the fast-food-type service that many establishments are offering these days.

It would be very nice and much appreciated, especially at gas stations, to have service personnel to help a physically challenged person pump gas.

Many of the machines are too high to reach, and the pumps are cumbersome to handle.

I have encountered some who just won't help, and are "uneducated" that when they have to help someone out, they benefit as well as the disabled individual.

Helen Willis

Hagerstown

Davis-Bacon

In response to Norman Hill of Washington, who wrote to you concerning the Davis-Bacon Act (letters, Feb. 22), my reply to him would be: Obviously his place of business, A. Philip Randolph Institute, is not a privately-owned construction firm that works directly with Davis-Bacon. If he did he might feel a little different about the prevailing wage.

For readers not familiar with the Davis-Bacon Act, let me enlighten them. I work for a mid-size finishing contractor in Baltimore, and 80 percent of our work is on commercial buildings that come under the Davis-Bacon Act.

We are a non-union company, and we are bidding against union companies all the time. On a building that is not under the Davis-Bacon Act the bid will be substantially lower.

We pay our workers anywhere from $12 an hour to $15 an hour, depending on their experience and skills.

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