Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 26, 2004

There's still time to register to vote

Every citizen in the U.S.A. who is 18 years of age or older and has never been convicted of a felony has the right to vote. But they must have a voter registration identification card. A mailing address is necessary to get a registration card.

Even if you are "down on your luck," "homeless," or "out of work," you have the right to vote.

The great thing about being an American is being able to exercise this inalienable right. Each and every American should treasure this right and voice his opinion.

Each American has a choice: to vote or not to vote. However, I write to get the word out to remind citizens that our vote does make a difference. Voting is just one way that we can help our country and show that we care.

If you are not registered to vote in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 2, there are only three more weeks in which you can register. To apply for your voter registration card, phone the Carroll County Board of Elections at 410-386-2080. The deadline to apply for the upcoming election in November is Tuesday, Oct. 12. Do it today, won't you?

Elinor A. Causey

Westminster

Long-term care comes with rights

As you know, U.S. citizens have certain constitutional rights. What many people do not know is residents in long-term care, be it a nursing home or an assisted-living facility, have certain regulatory rights.

The fundamental right of all long-term care residents is to be treated with dignity and respect. Residents have a right to choice about their care and their life in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility.

They also have the right to be free from abuse and the right to privacy and confidentiality about their care and their life. Residents have the right to be who they are and live as the individuals they are. They have the right to speak up about what they want and what they need.

The week of Oct. 3, 2004, is Residents' Rights Week. During Residents' Rights Week, the local Long Term Care Ombudsman Program staff and volunteers will be reminding residents, families and staff of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities of the rights to which the residents of these facilities are entitled.

Ombudsmen work daily to promote residents' rights and attempt to resolve complaints relative to any rights violation.

Anyone who has never visited a nursing home or an assisted-living facility should consider doing so during Residents' Rights Week.

Anyone considering volunteering for some worthwhile cause might consider volunteering his or her time as an ombudsman representative.

Involvement in the lives of residents living in long-term care can help ensure the voices of these residents do not go unheard. It lets the residents know they are not forgotten.

For a complete list of residents' rights in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities or for information about volunteering with the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, contact the Carroll County Long Term Care Ombudsman Program at 410-876-3363, 410- 848-4049 or 410-875-3342.

Carol Purkins

LLTCO program coordinator

Legislators use children as props

In my elementary school, we hated it whenever our class was assigned a substitute teacher for the day. But I can't imagine how depressing it must be for the students unlucky enough to be used as political props for Del. Susan Krebs, Sen. Larry Haines or Del. Nancy Stocksdale ("Legislators teach kids the ABCs of politics," Sept. 21).

These three politicians apparently have no shame. Their voting record shows insensitivity and outright hostility to the interests of students, parents and educators, but that hasn't stopped them from using public schools to seek publicity.

Earlier this year, Ms. Krebs, Mr. Haines and Ms. Stocksdale voted against strengthening the popular Bridge to Excellence in Education Act, which guarantees adequate funding for the students they used as a photo opportunity.

If today's students apply to attend a state college or university, they and their parents will encounter double-digit tuition hikes.

But Ms. Krebs, Mr. Haines and Ms. Stocksdale voted against the Higher Education Affordability and Access Act, which would have capped unnecessary tuition increases.

Whenever these students enter the work force, they could end up making $10,000 a year on a low-wage state contract. And their taxes will have to cover the social service costs for underpaid state contract workers -- all thanks to these lawmakers' votes against the Maryland Living Wage Act.

Letting anti-education zealots lecture Maryland's students is like allowing Enron Corp. to train state budget analysts.

School boards should be protecting our students against lawmakers like these, not using our kids for hypocritical photo opportunities.

Tom Hucker

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of Progressive Maryland.

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