Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 08, 2008

DHR is working to be transparent

Nothing matters more to me as secretary of the Department of Human Resources than providing the best possible outcomes for Maryland's children and families. Every decision I make is aimed at achieving that goal.

Since becoming secretary, I have engaged public and private entities, legislators, advocates, Maryland's judiciary, law enforcement, health departments and the media in my action plan for improving child welfare in Maryland.

That includes operating in a transparent, inclusive manner that brings more people into the tent than ever before.

The Sun's editorial "Conspiracy of silence" (May 4) came in response to an advocacy group's review of state policies, not to the actions of this administration.

The serious injury or death of a child from abuse or neglect is a nightmare that is all too real to us at DHR. But when that kind of abuse or neglect occurs, we are there on the front lines, finding ways to improve agency practices and strengthen our supports for children - not conspiring to hide our shortcomings.

This was certainly the case in our unprecedented release of information about the death of 2-year-old Bryanna Harris.

After Bryanna's death, we were extremely proactive and forthcoming.

We promised and delivered on changes in casework practice as well as employee disciplinary actions - actions that should dispel the notion of a conspiracy of silence.

It is a new day at DHR. The Sun must measure us by our current actions.

Brenda Donald, Baltimore

Time for Clinton to accept defeat

Memo to Sen. Hillary Clinton: It's over ("Obama wins N.C.," May 7).

After Mrs. Clinton was blown out in North Carolina and held to a virtual tie in Indiana, it should be clear that Sen. Barack Obama has an insurmountable lead in pledged delegates and popular votes.

For Mrs. Clinton to stay in the race now helps only one person, Sen. John McCain.

Now is the time for Mrs. Clinton to pull out in a dignified way that benefits that party's chances of winning the White House in November and to help heal the party, not for any more personal attacks.

Steven M. Clayton, Ocean, N.J.

Advocacy groups add accountability

The results of two Maryland primaries in which citizen advocacy groups helped defeat two incumbent members of Congress show that democracy is alive and well in Maryland ("Outside groups swayed Md. vote," May 5).

Thanks largely to low contribution limits, which limit the ability of challengers to mount effective campaigns, most incumbent congressmen easily win re-election year after year.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 94 percent of incumbents secured re-election in 2006. The number was even higher in 2004, when 98 percent of incumbents won.

So rather than deride citizens' organizations as a nuisance of democracy, we should be celebrating the fact that citizen voices are being heard and incumbents are being held accountable thanks to the advocacy groups.

Mike Schrimpf, Alexandria, Va.

The writer is communications director for the Center for Competitive Politics.

Wright fails test of conformity

Why are the media so antagonistic toward the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.?

I agree with the Rev. John L. Carter and others who have suggested that "much of the [media] coverage [of Pastor Wright] relies on sound bites that lack context" ("Black preachers agree to disagree," May 1).

And because of the content of his fiery sermons, I think most of the media see him as failing the test of political and social conformity.

Conal Rose, Baltimore

Schaefer's friends right to intervene

In October 2007, I saw former Gov. William Donald Schaefer give a talk about his career at the Pikesville library. He was in good form, but it was also clear that his age was showing. He was far from the "do it now" mayor I knew from his days at City Hall in the 1970s.

Later, I read that he had had a bad fall at his home and that he had to be taken to a hospital for treatment. Now, Mr. Schaefer's placement in a retirement home has become, as a result of Laura Vozzella's columns, a point of contention ("The object of their affections," May 7).

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that the 86-year-old Mr. Schaefer, with his "two bum knees," who was living alone at the time of his serious accident, needs to be where he is today.

As for his friend, the "strong-willed" Lainy LeBow-Sachs, God bless her for making the decision that needed to be made.

That's what real friends are for, with or without power of attorney.

William Hughes, Baltimore

Immigrant family merits better fate

I have read all the articles about the plight of the Atta Poku family and I still don't get it ("New laws too late in loss of home," May 4).

Here is a man who has made all of his mortgage payments and yet his home is foreclosed upon. Who among us couldn't have found himself or herself in the same position?

I pay my bills and I keep my records. But how could I possibly be responsible for what records my mortgage company keeps or loses?

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