County's guidebook eases the transition for group homesThe...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 14, 1999

County's guidebook eases the transition for group homes

The Sun's recent editorials on group homes (April 25 and 26) did not mention that Baltimore County has produced an excellent guide to help service providers who assist persons with disabilities and communities work together.

The 27-page workbook, "Developing Partnerships for Great Neighborhoods: A Guide to Successful Community Living for People with Disabilities," was developed by the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities Community Living Task Force in 1995.

It provides a recommended process for service providers and community leaders to communicate and constructively discuss issues; offers answers to questions residents often ask; suggests some guiding principles; and has various appendices containing relevant laws, regulations, and references.

The workbook, created by service providers and community leaders, respects both the provider and the community. Using it greatly lessens the tensions that arise when a group home is considering locating in a neighborhood.

We strongly advise both service providers and community leaders to utilize this free workbook. Phone the commission at 410-887-3580 for further information.

Frank Pinter, Towson

The writer is chair of the Community Living Committee for the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities.

City needs economic rights more than charity for needy

Cardinal William Keeler has stressed that by moving and expanding Our Daily Bread, Catholic Charities will provide services to help the "needy" become more "self-sufficient."

"We give fish with one hand," he said, "and we teach people to fish with the other."

That's all well and good -- if there is an equal distribution of the fish.

But nothing could be further from reality. In Baltimore, more and more workers have joined the unemployed and the unemployable on the soup kitchen and food pantry lines. At least 24 percent of the cardinal's neighbors are living in poverty.

They are "fishing," but at the end of the day they don't have enough money to feed their families.

Instead of moving Our Daily Bread, it would be better if the cardinal began preaching that it is time to re-distribute the wealth, that all workers are entitled to just, non-poverty wages, and that medical care and housing are basic rights.

Brendan Walsh, Baltimore

GOP wants independents to bail out failing party

Poor Rep. Wayne Gilchrest. Despite being elected by moderate voters in Maryland's 1st congressional District, he has moved steadily rightward, following the lead of extremists such as Newt Gingrich and Kenneth Starr.

Having consistently put party above principle, he and other moderate state Republicans now find that they can no longer win elections.

The GOP plan to ask non-Republicans to vote in their primary should be seen for exactly what it is: a desperate last gasp from a dying party struggling to hide its record.

Jonathan Inskeep, Crofton

School official's bankruptcy should be taken seriously...

I don't know if I am more appalled about Baltimore County Deputy Superintendent Elfreda Massie's bankruptcy or the cavalier attitude of Superintendent Anthony Marchione toward her behavior.

It is disgraceful that a couple with a combined income of more than $180,000 would run up an enormous debt of over $800,000, including two Mexican vacation trips and $150,000 in credit card liability, and then shirk their financial responsibility by declaring bankruptcy.

What role models for Baltimore County school students.

The fact that Mr. Marchione regards Ms. Massie's irresponsible behavior as a "nonissue" that has no effect on her job performance is disheartening.

Whatever happened to the quaint notion that authority figures were supposed to be people of integrity?

How far have standards disintegrated in our society that Mr. Marchione can so casually separate "private" from "official" behavior?

At least it appears that Montgomery County has the good sense to see that there is no such distinction.

Carolyn A. Chyzus, Glen Arm

The second-ranking administrator in the Baltimore County school system, Elfreda Massie, went bankrupt with $866,000 in debts from 23 credit cards and then didn't reveal all of her assets during the proceedings.

What shocks me is not her personal irresponsibility, but the statement by a school official that this personal incident is not relevant to the administrator's job.

If a person cannot manage his or her own money, he or she certainly cannot manage the hundreds of millions entrusted to the school system.

Before the county schools ask for more money, they should be sure that they are good stewards of the funds they have.

Larry Johnston, Hereford

... or is her bankruptcy anyone else's business?

The Sun's coverage of Elfreda Massie and the controversy over her finances and bankruptcy had much more information than this reader needed to know.

I felt as if I was reading a tabloid rag -- most of the information printed was a blatant invasion of her privacy.

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