Direct designations help worthwhile nonprofit groups...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 23, 2000

Direct designations help worthwhile nonprofit groups

The July 13 article "United Way donations still being earmarked" did not make clear that many worthwhile nonprofit organizations benefit from direct designations through United Way payroll campaigns.

United Way agencies must restrict their funds to the local community. Because many health agencies support research nationally, they cannot be United Way agencies. Instead, 25 local health agencies are part of a federation, "Community Health Charities." Our agencies are listed in the United Way booklet, and employees can choose us.

The Sun published a story July 10 about the expected increase in the incidence of Alzheimer's disease to 14 million by mid-century, as baby boomers age. The Alzheimer's Association is working to combat this devastating illness through support of research and services to families in central Maryland who are facing this challenge. We count on the generosity of donors who designate their payroll gifts to our organization.

Donors are capable of making appropriate decisions about giving. Why not promote both United Way options, undesignated or designated gifts, equally?

Cass Naugle, Timonium

The writer is executive director of the Alzheimer's Association, Central Maryland Chapter.

Fewer false alarms, but is crime dropping?

False alarms dropping, officers responding to fewer alarm calls. Is this because many businesses and homeowners have updated, or checked their alarm systems, or because many people are not using their alarms because of heavy fines ("Changes sought for false-alarm measure," July 17)?

The police have more time now to spend patrolling neighborhoods and fighting crimes. Have crimes actually decreased?

As a private homeowner, I pay for a neighborhood security guard, an alarm system and also pay taxes for police protection. Baltimore County levied $2.2 million in fines on residents and businesses. Where did the additional money go?

As homeowners, I feel we are being unfairly penalized for circumstances beyond our control.

Harriet May, Baltimore

Juvenile justice system fails to protect public

It appalls me that a young man has been involved with violent crime since 1997 at the age of 16 or 17, has been connected with three murders and the justice system has failed to protect the general public ("Arrest made in city killing," July 15).

Here we have another case of innocent lives that could have been saved had only the justice system worked properly.

As citizens, I think that we should demand to know why these predatory individuals are loose on our streets. That's the real story here, not the fact that a criminal tried to escape capture in a dress.

This was followed the next day by an article regarding the failure of the juvenile justice system. It makes me wonder what it is going to take to get the Baltimore City court system, the governor and the juvenile justice system to do the job that they are being paid to do.

Jon Tarrant, Baltimore

Nonpartisan policy clear in NAACP bylaws

Concerning Gregory Kane's July 15 column, from the very beginning the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People did not promise allegiance to any political party ("The NAACP has a funny way of being nonpartisan").

Its bylaws state: "We claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a free born American. How shall we get them. By voting where we may, by persistent unceasing agitation. By hammering the truth, by sacrifice and hard work."

Leo A. Williams, Baltimore

School football game not place for prayer

Your "Ruling for religious freedom" editorial (June 21) was deemed wrong by a letter to the editor from Charles H. Thornton (July 8).

His objection appears to be based on the rather uncharitable view that minorities can be dismissed as negligible in number. I have always believed that the whole purpose of the Constitution and the Supreme Court is to protect the rights of minorities against the tyranny of the majority.

If, or when, I feel the urge to listen to someone else's public display of righteousness, I will go to a forum of my choosing, not a high school football game.

Frank van Dommelen, Baltimore

Servicemen, legislators would be barred from prayer

Separation of state and religion does not mean prayers are restricted in any way.

Every gathering of state legislatures and the opening of Congress is preceded by a prayer to ask for guidance in making the decisions to keep our democratic form of government operating as our forefathers deemed necessary when authoring the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The reasoning for the statement, "The Government shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," was to prevent the government from dictating "One Religion" such as had been experienced by the Church of England at the time our forefathers emigrated to find freedom to worship as they pleased.

No intent was ever indicated that prayer be prohibited at gatherings of any nature.

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