Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 19, 2005

Pitiful pay pushes foster parents away

I have been a foster parent in Baltimore for almost 11 years. Eighteen infants and children have been placed in my home during that time, some for as little as one night and some for as long as 20 months. It has been my pleasure to be there for every one.

My calculations tell me that with the recent increase in foster care payments my family's new stipend will be $19 a day, which translates to 80 cents an hour ("Scraps for foster families," editorial, Dec. 7).

This stipend covers feeding, housing, clothing, round-the-clock care, love and attention for fragile individuals, who are perhaps the most vulnerable people in our society.

While I have enjoyed and benefited from the rewards and challenges of fostering children who are in tremendous need, I'm not sure that my family can continue much longer in this role. When my youngest child reaches school age I shall probably return to the work force.

The small increase in payments does not even bring the inflation-adjusted total to what it was 15 years ago.

But I know that if the state stipend more adequately covered the endeavor of being a foster parent, I would love to continue fostering. I would even consider buying a larger home and having two foster children, instead of one, stay with me.

I feel that this atmosphere, is much better for the children and far less expensive for the state than putting children in a group home.

"Want to save Baltimore? Start with one person" was the headline for Dan Rodricks' column the other day (Dec. 5).

Being a foster parent is a great way to do this.

But I'm wondering who is advocating for Maryland's foster parents and foster children.

It seems to me that we need a stronger voice.

Mary Hewes Friedman

Baltimore

Attacks on Harmon show left is bereft

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s hiring of Bo Harmon is another opportunity for the left to engage in character assassination ("Ehrlich hires '06 director," Dec. 10).

But Mr. Harmon is here to get the word out about Mr. Ehrlich's accomplishments.

And since you won't find them prominently displayed in the pages of The Sun, Mr. Harmon will go to the people to talk about the issues that concern them, and how Mr. Ehrlich has moved the state forward in three short years.

Unemployment rates in the state are well below national levels, welfare rolls are at their lowest since the 1960s, we have a $1.7 billion surplus and more than 90,000 new jobs have been created since 2002.

But lacking accomplishments on those levels, the liberal leadership of the Democratic Party does the only thing it seems to know how to do - attack and throw mud.

This is really a sad commentary about the left and what it brings to the debate over the future of Maryland.

Chris Cavey

Hampstead

The writer is the chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Party.

Voting record cost Cleland Senate seat

In response to the letter "Ehrlich prepares an ugly campaign" (Dec. 15), I would note that there is no evidence that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s hiring of Bo Harmon foretells a negative campaign on the Republican side.

And the letter writer is operating under a delusion if she thinks the 2006 race would otherwise be devoid of nastiness. With Howard Dean heading the national Democratic Party and Martin O'Malley as the party's gubernatorial front-runner, the governor himself should be bracing for an onslaught of gutter politics.

As for Mr. Harmon, it needs to be stated once and for all that the campaign against Sen. Max Cleland was not an attack on his patriotism.

The former Senator, a true American hero and patriot, was simply the victim of his own liberal voting record. This record was far out of the mainstream of his constituents in Georgia.

The voters of the Peach State retired Mr. Cleland, not Mr. Harmon.

Steven L. Wiseman

Bel Air

Sun does dirty work for the Democrats

The only difference in negative campaigning between Democrats and Republicans is that Republicans have to hire someone to do that work, while the Democrats get theirs done for free, courtesy of The Sun ("Continuing the pattern of playing dirty politics," Dec. 12).

Bob Vogelsang

Jessup

Awed by death toll of the war in Iraq

I am in shock and awe. President Bush has indicated that he is responsible for the decision to go into Iraq, with a preemptive strike, based on intelligence that was mostly "wrong" ("Bush sticks to war plan," Dec. 15).

But even now, he says that the war was justified because "Saddam [Hussein] was a threat" and he is no longer in power.

But I thought the claim that Mr. Hussein was a threat was part of the wrong intelligence.

In any event, Mr. Bush estimates that about 30,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the past three years, along with more than 2,100 U.S. troops.

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