Saturday Mailbox


January 11, 2003

Fix insurance system to help reunite families

Like Sam Cheek, I, too, had to relinquish custody of my daughter to the state in order to obtain residential mental health care treatment for her ("Relinquishing custody," editorial, Dec. 29).

The night I had to refuse to accept the discharge of my daughter back home, I drove home on the Beltway during rush hour traffic with tears streaming down my face, shaking from painful sobs over losing custody of my daughter and not knowing what would happen to her. Meanwhile, my daughter was feeling unwanted, unloved and depressed to the point of being suicidal.

Erica has bipolar disorder along with generalized anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders. She has been in the custody of the Department of Social Services since March 1.

Even though our family income would qualify us to buy in to the state's medical assistance program, we cannot do so because we have private insurance.

I urge Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to follow through on his promise to abolish the need to relinquish custody to get treatment. And I urge him to open up access to Maryland Children's Health Insurance Program for families of disabled children who have private insurance but are within the income guidelines for these programs.

These families could then be reunited and still receive the in-patient and community-based services for their children that private insurance will not provide, and that they now must give up custody to obtain.

Relinquishing custody to obtain mental health services is a barbaric practice that needs to be stopped.

Diana Miller


Turning Waverly over to developers?

As a reward for bringing Giant Food to Waverly, the project's county-based developer, Vanguard Equities, will now benefit from grants of $700,000 and $550,000 from this impoverished city ("Board gives boost to Belvedere Square, Waverly projects," Dec. 19). These generous gifts are in addition to the massive rezoning of properties, tailored to this developer's plans, by which the city has already enriched the developer.

And contrary to what The Sun's article suggests, the site will not be limited to the vacant Super Fresh site at 32nd Street and Old York Road. The new site will stretch from Homestead Street to 33rd Street and from Old York Road to Frisby Street.

The store will not enhance the Waverly Business District, to which it will present only its enormous, block-long posterior. And the development will require the demolition of at least 20 houses and one apartment building.

This very poorly designed project is being carried out despite the forceful objections of the Better Waverly Community Organization.

And, in addition to the extravagant gifts of cash and rezoning, the developer has been given carte blanche to proceed without even the constraints of a Planned Unit Development (PUD).

It is my opinion that my neighborhood has been robbed of all zoning protection in order to enrich Vanguard Equities and Giant Foods.

The mayor has refused repeated requests to visit our neighborhood to hear our many concerns about this project.

Once again, Baltimoreans are being betrayed by the politicians and bureaucrats who should serve us as our own tax money is used to diminish our community.

Laura Malick


Job flight, violence are closely linked

In his column concerning the conditions in East Oliver, the neighborhood where the Dawsons died on Oct. 16, Stanford W. Carpenter quotes a resident who said: "When I ask them why they sell drugs, they tell me it's because they don't have jobs. They tell me they don't have transportation" ("A life of struggle, faith," Opinion*Commentary, Dec. 30)

Then I turned to the business section and noted an article that begins: "Spurred on by new technology and a shift in the way corporate America does business, employers will be moving about 3.3 million white-collar service jobs and $136 billion in wages overseas in the next 15 years as they seek lower costs, plus increased production and higher profits" ("Job you like may be going overseas soon," Dec. 30).

These 3.3 million jobs moving to other nations do not include the labor-intensive manufacturing jobs that will be leaving the United States or those that have left over the past 25 years.

Is there a relationship between urban jobs leaving the United States and the city's increase from approximately 55 homicides a year in 1955 - when Baltimore's population was about 1 million - to approximately 250 murders in 2002, when its population was about 650,000?

It seems to me that there is, and that Congress should give the subject of jobs leaving our country immediate attention.

Samuel A. Culotta


Dundalk exemplifies charitable spirit

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