Glendening plan for disabled is long overdueGov. Parris N...


January 26, 1998

Glendening plan for disabled is long overdue

Gov. Parris N. Glendening's proposal to provide $68.4 million in state funds to reduce the waiting list for disability services represents a most welcome and compassionate response to a problem that has been allowed to worsen for far too long.

A new report by the Arc, a national organization on mental retardation, indicates that more than 5,300 Marylanders with mental retardation are currently on waiting lists for needed residential, day and vocational services, with the standard wait for services 10 to 12 years.

That study also shows that while Maryland ranks in the middle of the pack nationally in total population, its waiting list is the country's 12th largest.

Most individuals with mental retardation can work. Most can live in homes of their own. To do so, however, they must have certain essential community services and supports. And tragically, when families attempt to secure vocational training, employment services, or housing support, they typically come face to face with the lengthy, arduous waiting list process.

What has raised the waiting list problem to truly crisis proportions is the advancing age of the parent caregivers of those on waiting lists.

In Maryland, 40 percent of caregivers are older than 60, 13 percent are over 80. Many of these elderly parents literally are afraid to die, not knowing what will happen to their disabled son or daughter after they are gone. Ironically, the only way many adult children will ever get off the waiting lists is for their parents to pass away.

We applaud Mr. Glendening's sensitivity to this problem, and trust that the continued strong support of the Maryland General Assembly will reflect the magnitude of this crisis.

Stephen H. Morgan


The writer is executive director of the Baltimore Association for Retarded Citizens Inc.

I am writing to thank the governor, legislators, journalists who helped tell our stories, especially Diana Sugg of The Sun, and the hundreds of families who are a part of the Arc of Maryland's ''A Key of Our Own: Unlock the Waiting List Campaign."

As families, we have asked with great fear what will happen to our family members when we die. Now, with the governor's initiative, we can live to watch with love and pride as they take their first steps toward independence and an adult place in our community.

I urge the Maryland General Assembly to pass the waiting list initiative and make our hopes and dreams for our family members with developmental disabilities at long last come true.

Joyce Lipman


The writer is president of the Arc of Maryland Inc.

Dental advances aside, more people need care

I'd like to commend Diana Sugg for her informative article on dental technology ("Open wide, say 'gadget' for dental technology," Jan. 4).

For some time, dentists have been progressing in their treatment of oral health problems. They have employed numerous new techniques, devices and medications, and improved standard tools. These probably account more for improved patient care than the more glamorous technological eye-catchers.

Whatever the advances, the bigger concern is how to get the 50 percent of people who do not see a dentist to come in and be examined.

If that were to happen, greater progress would be made in oral health care than all the technology put together.

Albert Bedell


The writer is executive secretary of the Maryland Academy of General Dentistry.

Referendum on hotel wise in current climate

The General Assembly has chosen not to support a bill that could block construction of the Wyndham hotel until the public can vote on the issue.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller says he does not support "government by referendum" because we have elected representatives, and they will properly represent us.

In the best of all possible worlds he would be right. His argument is logical. However this is far from the best of all possible worlds.

We go from scandal to scandal. Many of our representatives lie to us to get into office, cheat unmercifully when they get the power and often steal from taxpayers. Such a large part of our hard-earned taxes is making poor politicians wealthy. No public trust is left.

Forty-million dollars of taxpayer money will go into construction of the Wyndham hotel, as the issue now stands. The Wyndham chain is not a poverty-ridden corporation. If it wants a facility in Baltimore, it should pay for it in its entirety. All logic and wisdom I have read on the subject indicates that the hotel should not be built in the proposed location. Has The Sun investigated to determine what or who is really behind the big push to build this hotel in such an illogical place?

Yes, I'm suspicious. I suspect that the General Assembly is opposed to a referendum because it could be a vote against corruption.

If there were public trust, "government by referendum" would certainly be proper. But that is a big if.

!Sonia Looban Greenspon


Parody on snowstorms very close to the truth

I really enjoyed Arthur Hirsch's parody "Stormy weather friends" (Jan. 16). It brought me a lot of chuckles.

It was a parody about how local television reporters discuss impending snowstorms, but there was a lot of truth to it.

Many thanks for such a well-written and amusing article.

dward W. Lipka


Hornaday film reviews are highlight of week

Friday's paper is always the best issue of the week. That's when Ann Hornaday dominates the Today section with her wonderful film reviews.

Four stars or two stars, they are always a pleasure to read. Her knowledge of motion picture history allows her to compare actors of the present and the past, as well as a director's current work to that of previous films, all of which is an education for the reader.

Congratulations to Ms. Hornaday for consistently excellent writing. She is appreciated.

Margaret Schiavone-Hill


Pub Date: 1/26/98

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