Even imperfect cars can help people find better jobs, fuller lives
The Sun's article "For poor buyers, donated cars not always quick fix" (June 25) missed the value of the Vehicles for Change (VfC) program and focused completely on one of our toughest challenges.
In many instances jobs are not on bus lines, children need to be dropped at day-care or other factors preclude the use of public transportation. The only solution for these individuals is a car.
Vehicles for Change has provided 200 cars to low-income families since October 1999. Seventy-three percent of recipients have obtained higher wages, with an average increase of $4,100. And 94 percent of our recipients with children now have kids attending after-school activities or sports programs or are taking vacations that were never before possible.
Providing quality cars to recipients at a cost they can afford creates challenges. It is not always possible to assure that the cars are in perfect condition.
Yet 88 percent of the recipients have stated that they feel their car is reliable enough to make a 30-mile commute. Without a car these individuals would most likely be unemployed or paying for bus fare and commuting up to two hours.
A recipient may be concerned about his or her car starting in the morning, but so is anyone with a 10-year-old car. And a VfC recipient whose car doesn't start has an organization to call for help.
The writer is executive director of Vehicles for Change.
I hope the article "For poor buyers, donated cars not always quick fix" does not hurt a very helpful nonprofit organization.
This program has helped many needy families. But help only goes so far, then we must help ourselves - in this case, if the care is your lifeline, take care of it and save money for repairs when they are needed.
With all older cars there is a chance of breakdowns, but without these cars low-income familles would not be enjoying the benefits car ownership provides.
Tax bill won't redress woes working poor face
State Sen. Christopher J. McCabe's statement that the new tax law's "biggest winners are families, particularly the working poor" is incorrect ("Tax bill will save money, open new choice for schools," letters, June 25).
The law does contain good provisions related to retirement and education plans. However, the $350-to-$700 annual income tax reduction most working families receive is hardly sufficient to solve problems of low wages, insufficient health care, nonexistent pension coverage, daunting child care expenses, rising college expenses and exorbitant housing costs.
The law depletes funds that could be be used to address these problems and is potentially fiscally irresponsible. Such an "achievement" is not "monumental."
James M. Kehl
Success of missile shield will make us forget the cost
It's inconceivable that anyone who fears mass slaughter and mass destruction could be against anti-missile missiles. We should give this system top priority.
Will it work? Sure. We've gone into outer space at enormous cost.
Will the cost be enormous? Sure.
But when we have a working system - which we will - the cost will mean little.
Perhaps state should censure the Founding Fathers, too
The administrator of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs sent a letter to the Justice Department saying the names of "Indian mascots" associated with schools in Maryland "are offensive, disrespectful and demeaning ... and make a mockery of American Indian people and their cultural traditions" ("U.S. agency joins stir over Indian names," June 22).
If he truly believes that, the commission should immediately censure such American patriots as John Adams, Charles Carroll, Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock, who wrote in our Declaration of Independence: "[The King of Great Britain] has endeavored to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions."
Richard T. Seymour
Lexington Market continues to deteriorate
As a regular customer of Lexington Market, I've become hardened to the filth and the panhandlers who crowd the sidewalks and sometimes work its aisles. I've also learned to wade through an open-air drug market to get to an entrance or out an exit. But conditions inside over the past several weeks are just too, too much.
While the city trumpets millions to be spend to pretty-up the outside of the building, the habitually broken air-conditioning system inside gets no prompt and continuing attention.
Merchants swelter, inventory deteriorates and customers gasp for air.
Landscaping the local park could save Lafayette Square
Thanks for calling attention to Lafayette Square ("Lafayette Square faces imminent danger," editorial, June 21). My grandmother lived near there and attended its Presbyterian church.