Responsible charities reject high-pressure solicitation...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 11, 1998

Responsible charities reject high-pressure solicitation tactics

Your article "Lobbying for some restraint in Md." (July 15) about the special state commission on the Maryland Public Ethics Law suggested that there is a major problem in the state with legislators soliciting registered lobbyists for contributions to their favorite charities, perhaps in exchange for access or

influence.

That simply isn't true and, unfortunately, distracts attention from the more serious issue of campaign finance reform.

The practice of legislators soliciting charitable contributions from lobbyists is extremely rare. In the five years that my name and address have appeared on state Ethics Commission lists of registered lobbyists, I have received only two or three letters soliciting charitable contributions. During the same five-year period, I have received hundreds of letters from legislators requesting contributions.

Maryland's organized nonprofit community strongly opposes high-pressure fund-raising methods, including the unlikely event of a legislator coercing a lobbyist for charitable support.

Maryland's political leaders should not be discouraged from participating on boards and committees of community-based nonprofit organizations. To prohibit or discourage their important role in promoting community service and public philanthropy would be a true tragedy for our state.

It is unfortunate that your article didn't pay more attention to the real ethical problem in Maryland politics -- the shocking growth of money's importance in politics. This trend is of great concern to Maryland's nonprofit sector.

Nonprofit organizations and the people we serve can't participate effectively if you have to pay to participate in the political process.

Peter V. Berns

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations.

World War II victims can find peace of mind

The journey that took John Mann from his home in Baltimore to pray for his father at the Wall of Death at the Auschwitz concentration camp was poignantly described in your article "A voyage of the heart" (Aug. 6).

As sad as it was for him to visit the site of his father's death, he is no doubt comforted by the sense of closure that comes with knowing the fate of his father, aunts, uncles and cousins, all murdered by the Nazis.

Too many other survivors are deprived of the peace of mind that knowledge provides. The Holocaust and War Victims Tracing and Information Center, located in Baltimore, works to help World War II survivors discover information about the fate of their loved ones.

The center, which is operated by the American Red Cross, performs its mission in conjunction with the International Tracing Service.

Those seeking information about the fate of friend and family lost during the World War II years are urged to contact their local American Red Cross for help.

Linda Klein

Baltimore

The writer is director of the Holocaust and War Victims Tracing and Information Center.

Would not have considered stained dress as keepsake

As a younger woman, I kept souvenirs such as corsages and dance programs, but never would I have considered a stained dress a keepsake.

Silly me, I would have had the garment cleaned as soon as possible. I know I would not have saved it as evidence.

I think Monica Lewinsky is a very clever young woman. She'll probably follow her mother's lead and write a tell-all book. Ms. Lewinsky obviously knew President Clinton and can cover all the dirty details of their dalliance. It will probably be a best seller, but I won't buy it or read it.

Joan F. Myers

Baltimore

As Monica Lewinsky smiles her youthful smile, the dry cleaners of America must be screaming in righteous indignation. Imagine if all of us got stains of various types and instead of rushing to the cleaner, we'd hide them in a closet for future blame.

Rae Miller Heneson

Baltimore

More nurses, better pay needed in nursing homes

As a woman who very recently lost her mother, I agree with letter to the editor by Shirley Carl, "Nursing home residents need better help" (July 31).

The home my mother was in has a relatively new administrative staff and is working hard to upgrade the standard of care and to provide in-service education to the staff. I have noticed many positive changes during the past three months.

The state regulatory agencies need to increase the registered nurse-to-nursing assistant ratio. The patients are coming from hospitals after three or four days, and they need a lot of nursing care. Nursing home patients need care -- this is not as things were 15 or 20 years ago when a lot of the patients needed only what we now know as assisted-living care.

Once patients cannot stay in assisted-living facilities, they are transferred to extended care units or to nursing homes because they need more organized and qualified nursing care. Salaries for nursing home employees, especially nursing assistants, need be improved.

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