Shedding light on the disenfranchisedJ. Peter Sabonis...

LETTERS

July 07, 1996

Shedding light on the disenfranchised

J. Peter Sabonis' essay, "The caretaker industry" ( Opinion * Commentary, June 20), does an excellent job of describing the complexities inherent in the overlap of public assistance abuse. His careful analysis of the situation his first-hand experience as a representative payee and his long involvement with homeless persons have given him a clear perspective on the issue. It is a perspective that is, unfortunately, ignored in the current political climate.

Baltimore is fortunate to have in Mr. Sabonis a steadfast and courageous advocate for the most vulnerable and disenfranchised members of our community. In a time when policy decisions are driven by the need for simplistic, "black or white" solutions, Mr. Sabonis powerfully illustrates the cost that we pay for such decisions. His voice is necessary in the ongoing debate about the future of public assistance.

Stephen J. Stahley

Baltimore

Discnmination without signs

Holocaust deniers will embrace and welcome Howard Kleinberg's June 26 Opinion * Commentary that offered "a hefty financial reward to anyone who could produce a photograph showing an abhorrently worded Miami Beach hotel sign of decades ago: 'No Jews, No Dogs'."

Because no one claimed the reward he concludes the sign never existed.

Is he telling me that because I can't present him with a photograph of it that I never saw a "Gentiles Only" sign in Maryland directing people to Herald Harbor?

Or that I never saw a sign in Guilford (Baltimore) saying Jews were not allowed?

Or that I never saw such a sign at public swimming pools -- one at Meadowbrook (Baltimore) and one in Roanoke (Virginia) ?

And, very importantly, is he saying photographs of the Holocaust tragedy were faked?

Jonathan Swift must have had his type in mind when he wrote, "I never wonder to see men wicked but I often wonder to see them not ashamed."

J. Small

Baltimore

Classics alive and well at UMBC for 29 years

I am going to make Peter Jay's day.

In a recent essay he expressed dismay that "hardly anyone studies Latin anymore, especially in college." Certainly this is true in terms of absolute numbers, but it is also true that the tradition of the classics is alive and well at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where we direct an ancient studies program in which students study either Greek, Latin or both. They have been doing so for 29 years-in fact, since the day UMBC opened.

Mr. Jay is a writer and farmer. The ancient studies' faculty has much in common with the small farmer in this country: We each cling to something that helped make Western civilization great, namely, the ethic of the small farmer and the classics.

A recent book, "The Other Greeks," is a great read and one that will be most appreciated by Mr. Jay. It brings to the fore the importance of the core of ancient Greek civilization, the small farmer. Mr. Jay will relate to the passionate author. Living in the Sacramento Valley, he is both a small farmer and a classicist.

Ara bene etfeliciter!

Rudy Storch

Baltimore

The writer is chairman of UMBC's Department of Ancient Studies.

We're paying to train too many physicians

"Health care's hidden costs" (Perspective, June 30) by University of Maryland School of Medicine policy analyst Douglas Peddicord was an interesting and provocative article.

We in the AFL-CIO firmly believe that costs of graduate medical education should be more fairly distributed; perhaps as Mr. Peddicord suggests by spreading it across all hospitals, free-standing surgical centers or even all providers.

But first these questions must be answered: Who pays? How much? For what?

When it appeared that national health insurance might be enacted, the Maryland Labor/Management Health Action Committee was concerned that there might not be enough primary care or "family physicians" to adequately treat the large numbers of new patients coming into the system.

A broad-based task force was assembled including seniors, physicians, the Maryland Hospital Association, the HMO Association, corporate executives and unionsts. The task force was pleased to learn that in Maryland there is an adequate number of family care doctors although they could be better allocated geographically.

A startling fact did emerge: there are double the number of specialists that are required for good health care.

At the time of our study, there were 1,200 graduate medical education students enrolled mostly at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland. Of these, only 55 were enrolled in a family practice curriculum.

Experts say the ratio of primary care physicians to specialist should be one to one. In Maryland we have two to one, and our medical schools are graduating a whopping 95 percent specialists.

The average income of a family doctor is about $150,000, whereas specialists make close to $350,00.

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