Letters To The Editor


February 29, 2004

Transitional aid keeps disabled off the streets

I was distressed by the irresponsible comments of Kevin M. McGuire, executive director of welfare programs for the state Department of Human Resources, regarding cuts in the Transitional Emergency Medical and Housing Assistance (TEMHA) program ("Md. social services chief vows progress," Feb. 23).

TEMHA serves as the last line of defense between abject poverty and homelessness and provides critical funds to those waiting for approval for federal programs that assist the disabled. The program is already woefully inadequate, yet the state is now attempting to slash this program of last resort, which provides, as its name suggests, transitional emergency aid.

In The Sun, Mr. McGuire makes the absurd comment that "the people with long-term disabilities are the ones who are truly disabled and truly needy."

While there is no doubt regarding the needs of those with long-term disabilities, Mr. McGuire should try spending a day or a week with a temporarily disabled person facing eviction or the need for medical care before so callously minimizing the seriousness of their disabilities and needs.

And providing TEMHA benefits to the temporarily disabled follows the first rule of triage -- spend resources on those who can benefit from them the most.

Every dollar spent keeping a temporarily disabled person from becoming homeless or more seriously ill pays enormous dividends when that person can go back to work.

Jonathan Ruckdeschel


Slots are welfare for racing industry

I read with a growing anger of the governor's plan for slots at three racetracks (and three other sites) around the state ("Ehrlich shoring up slots support," Feb. 26).

Under the governor's plan, a cut of the proceeds would go to the tracks to inflate their purses. Isn't this a subsidy?

Why is the state going to subsidize a business that can't seem to make it on its own and adds very little to the economy of the state?

Isn't that a form of welfare, something every hardcore Republican opposes?

R. J. Lake


Nader offers voters a chance to choose

Democrats who blame Ralph Nader for their own inadequacies only confirm his criticism of them ("Don Quixote Nader," editorial, Feb. 24).

They call Mr. Nader an unreasonable egomaniac, but where is the reasonableness or the modesty in suggesting that only their candidate is entitled to certain votes? In full-blown collaboration with their sworn enemies -- the Republicans -- the Democrats have already guaranteed that no third-party candidate can earn enough votes to matter, and still the Democrats complain.

Certainly, people who do not support Mr. Nader should not vote for him, but it is arrogance to deny voters a choice.

A healthy Democratic Party would welcome competition and the opportunity to prove itself and say to Mr. Nader, "Bring it on!"

Jim Salvucci


Rod Paige's remark betrays ugly biases

I was dismayed to learn about U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige's statement referring to the National Education Association as a "terrorist organization" ("U.S. education chief says teachers union is `terrorist' group," Feb. 24).

His comment is revealing in many ways. It adds credence to the view held by many that the administration believes anyone who disagrees with it is a traitor. It displays a glaring anti-union bias. Finally, it reveals the administration's intent to exploit terrorism for political purposes.

President Bush should ask Mr. Paige for his resignation. Otherwise, teachers will remember in November.

Luis E. Hestres

Arlington, Va.

Rector was right to take a stand

As a parishioner at the Church of the Redeemer, I was, first, surprised to see this article in The Sun, and, second, dismayed at its lack of balance about reaction to the rector's Feb. 1 sermon ("Sermon stirs criticism of church rector," Feb. 20).

Reading the article, one would think that the only person who approved of it was the bishop. In fact, many of us parishioners found it both timely and appropriate. The sermon was based on the Scripture reading for the day and linked it to a situation in today's world. And of course it was the rector's personal "opinion" -- that's what sermons are.

I applaud our rector's courage in speaking out on a controversial topic that is, to me, a much more important moral issue than whether or not a gay person should be a bishop.

Kathleen Truelove


No dialogue possible as bombings take toll

As I sat reading G. Jefferson Price III's column "Mothers talking would be better than fences" (Feb. 22), the television newscast broke in with news of the latest bus bombing in Israel -- another eight Israeli mothers who have now lost their children to a suicide bombing ("Bomber kills 8 on bus in Israel," Feb. 23).

I began wondering, which Palestinian mothers would Mr. Price propose that Israeli mothers talk to?

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