The funding problems of mental health care aren't...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 08, 2001

The funding problems of mental health care aren't resolved yet

Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the General Assembly deserve credit for responding to the funding crisis facing Maryland's mental health system.

The governor's commitment of $30 million in a supplemental budget, and the legislature's creativity in passing a tax amnesty bill to pay for it, will give thou- sands with mental illness continued access to treatment and related vital ser- vices.

In the long term, however, the underfunding problem is not solved. Up to $8.1 million in fiscal 2002 community-service funds for people leaving state institutions, for adolescents with special needs making the transition to adulthood and for families needing respite from care-giving could instead be used for deficit reduction if, as expected, the $30 million is insufficient to meet the deficit facing the state's mental health system.

On top of that, the deficit has prevented action on many crises-in-waiting: a growing number of people stuck in hospitals for lack of community housing and crisis alternatives; the absence of inflation-based adjustments in reimbursement rates and mounting financial losses in the majority of the system's outpatient clinics.

An imminent meltdown was averted, thanks to the governor, health secretary and legislative leaders. Thanks are also owed The Sun for its attention to mental health throughout the 2001 session.

That attention, however, cannot stop now.

Herbert S. Cromwell

Catonsville

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Association of Psychiatric Support Services Inc.

Lionizing anti-Israeli crooner demonstrates Sun's bias

Why does The Sun consistently and happily jump on the anti-Israel bandwagon and pro-Arab propaganda machine at any opportunity?

Shaaban Abdel Rehim's song "I Hate Israel" ("Egyptian singer's mood music," May 3) does nothing to build bridges of peace and harmony in the Middle East. Does The Sun not find it appalling that the representative Sony Records in Cairo thinks that this song could become "the next Macarena"?

Must we elevate and publicize hatred as if it is to be celebrated? Does The Sun feel that this is freedom of speech?

The Sun continues to run neck-in-neck with others such as CNN as the most biased and anti-Israel media. And, with pointless articles such as this one, I am ashamed to be a subscriber.

Samuel Esterson

Baltimore

Dick Cheney is right to push nuclear power

Vice President Cheney's call for increased use of nuclear power is acknowledging the inevitable ("Cheney outlines energy strategy," May 1).

Nuclear energy is an environmentally benign replacement for limited fossil fuel resources. Its role will increase as a result of economic growth, technology advances, rising productivity, continued electrification of the economy and the increased cost and environmental impact of fossil fuels.

In the past two decades, the U.S. nuclear power industry has also become safer and more competitive. Plants have increased in efficiency so that they now have the lowest production costs of any thermal generation source. They have also amassed an impressive safety record.

And if global warming and greenhouse gas emissions are a concern, nuclear energy is the answer. Unlike fossil fuels, nuclear power causes no particulate or gaseous emissions, leaving the air unchanged and cleaner than it otherwise would be.

John Sillin

Potomac

Bush's philosophies make the coming years frightening

The president's philosophy of life seems to be that those who die with the most toys win. His philosophy of government seems to be that government's purpose is to help those who want to die with the most toys get them.

His philosophy of international relations seems to be to establish a fortress America.

For those of us with more people-focused philosophies and with hopes for lasting international stability, the next four years look kind of scary.

Herman M. Heyn

Baltimore

Perhaps faith can explain Bush backing missile defense

Missile defense -- a faith-based system?

Mary O. Styrt

Baltimore

Take a moment to thank the police who protect us

As we approach National Police Week (May 9-17), it is indeed fitting that we, the public, should honor those who care enough to serve and protect.

Police, like soldiers, willingly place themselves in harm's way so that others need not face such risks. They are the true heroes and heroines of our still-mean streets across this nation.

Tomorrow, please take a moment to thank those police personnel who do so very much each day to show us that there are such heroes left.

Joe Hammell

Waynesboro, Pa.

Grasmick's vision transformed Canton

As a longtime resident of Canton, I must respond to "Canton business deserves better" (letters, April 21). While the writer applauded local merchants for bringing business back to this area, I applaud Louis J. Grasmick for his vision.

While community organizations fought Mr. Grasmick's projects, I saw the vision in his eyes and supported him all the way.

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