Improving services for homeless is no cure for...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 17, 2001

Improving services for homeless is no cure for panhandling

Eric Siegel's article on panhandling and his "unscientific survey" missed the mark by suggesting that since he was approached by panhandlers only five times during his two-hour survey, panhandling isn't a big problem ("Big push being made on city panhandling bill," Sept. 6).

As a periodic visitor to the city, I find that just one contact by a panhandler, aggressive or not, is frustrating, irritating and a problem.

And I disagree with the suggestion that the solution to panhandling is not legislation to restrict panhandling but more services for the homeless.

Nonprofits and government agencies spend millions each year for homeless services and shelter in the city. The homeless panhandlers generally have access to food, clothing, shelter and other services, if they choose to accept the commitment that comes with those services. More services will not affect panhandlers' attitudes toward panhandling.

Improving services to the city's homeless is a good thing and will better the lives of many people, but only those who want to be helped.

To think there is a direct and strong correlation between the amount of panhandling and the amount of homeless services is wrong.

Mike Bering

Severna Park

Prosecution for complaint that's false is long overdue

As a police officer, I feel it is about time someone is charged for filing a false report ("False beating claim alleged," Sept 5).

People do not realize how many times we officers hear someone say, "I will just make a complaint." If something doesn't go the way they want it to go, they think calling in a complaint will make it better.

The police work within the law. The law is not always fair in everyone's eyes. So whom do you blame? The police.

But the police do not make the laws. The men and women of the Baltimore police put their lives on the line daily, but the fear that someone will make a complaint and that the officer may then be reprimanded or fired for something he or she did not do makes officers a little leery about doing their jobs.

If someone is going to make a complaint, that person should know in his or her heart it is a legitimate one. It's about time people making false complaints had some fear of prosecution.

Don Bradshaw

Baltimore

Powell was right to avoid U.N.'s hate-filled conference

I disagree with The Sun's editorial asserting that Secretary of State Colin Powell should have participated in a United Nations conference that turned into a rhetorical pogrom of racial hate ("Blow to anti-racism efforts," Sept. 7).

Real genocide in Africa, the toleration and use of severe famine for political goals and ongoing slavery in Sudan make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, serious as it may be, seem pale by comparison.

But what should have been treated as a secondary issue at best was used at the conference to divert attention from these far more severe problems.

I think that Mr. Powell recognizes this and, by absenting himself, made the most eloquent statement of all in support of the goals and ideals this unfortunate conference so completely failed to live up to.

Jack Eisenberg

Baltimore

Business group must make more effort to help schools

Once again, the Maryland Business Roundtable delivers a report critical of public schools ("Business leaders decry Md. graduates' skills," Sept. 6).

Its chairman says this is about the students and not about the needs or wants of Maryland businesses. I am glad to hear that and look forward to seeing the roundtable playing a far more active role in demanding the necessary funding for the schools to do the job.

Their influence will be a great assistance in convincing all Marylanders that increased funding for education serves all of society, not just people with children in public schools.

William J. Bressler

Towson

The writer is guidance chairman of Dulaney High School.

Why must city schools plead for donations?

Can somebody tell me why there are plenty of scratch-off lottery tickets for stadiums and nothing to help schools?

It's a shame that the city has to beg for money to repair schools; I don't see Baltimore County doing this ("Donations sought for city schools," Sept. 3).

Something is wrong with this picture.

Margaret Rahe

Baltimore

Most of CareFirst's funds are dedicated to patient care

The recent letter "BlueCross earns profits on the backs of the needy" (Aug. 23) cries out for a response based on facts and accurate information.

Yes, CareFirst is a not-for-profit company. But it seems incredible that a physician such as the letter writer would not understand that it must earn a profit to have adequate reserves to meet regulatory mandates, unexpected needs and invest in new technology and other enhancements to customer service.

It's difficult to see why the scant 1.66 percent net margin CareFirst reported for the second quarter of 2001 so agitated the letter writer.

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