Ps and QsEditor: President Bush uses quotas...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Ps and Qs

Editor: President Bush uses quotas to get the votes of the prejudiced. In this respect he certainly knows his Ps and Qs.

Incidentally when do the war crime trials against Saddam Hussein begin?

Grayson Holland.

Cockeysville.

Skewed Justice

Editor: By refusing to review a 1990 ruling by a federal appeals court in the Oliver North case, the Reagan-Bush Supreme Court has made the prosecution of high ranking law-breakers in Washington increasingly difficult.

A review of the court's decisions over recent years has shown a constant stripping away of the constitutional rights of those accused of common crimes, including the decision on May 30 to deny the influence of media publicity on jury convictions. Thus while it is more and more difficult to bring the high and mighty before the bar of justice, those accused who are less privileged find their defense increasingly handicapped.

Joseph Sachs.

Baltimore.

Helping Families

Editor: Your recent editorial, "Foster Care Solution" made some very good recommendations to Gov. William Donald Schaefer regarding policies and practices to preserve families and prevent foster-care placements. Maryland is, in fact, on the national forefront of states committed to redirecting funds from foster care and other out-of-home placements to prevent placements as well as provide services which promote the healthy development of children and their families.

For several years, the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Juvenile Services, the state Department of Education and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have been providing flexible funds at the local level to prevent placements. Such programs as Prevention of Unnecessary Placements, Intensive Family Services, Intensive Home Intervention and fiscal strategies such as funds to support returning children to Maryland from out-of-state placements and flexible funds for resource consultants to use to prevent placements are examples of Maryland's efforts.

Additionally, Governor Schaefer's interagency consortium of state agencies serving children and families is engaged in a major, statewide endeavor to prevent out-of-home placements and return children from out-of-state placements, always considering the safety of the child and the public in their policy and procedural decisions.

For next year, the interagency efforts focus on families with a child on the threshold of placement and will touch the lives of close to 800 families. The interagency initiatives will allow the state and nine jurisdictions -- Baltimore City and Prince George's, Garrett, Montgomery, Kent, Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot and Queen Anne's counties -- to redirect about $10 million for home and community-based services for families. In the absence of this initiative, these dollars would have gone for out-of-home placement of children.

The governor also strongly supports a group of initiatives which promote the development of healthy families and children and positive parenting, including the Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program, the expansion of family support centers and the reduction of adolescent pregnancy.

Nancy S. Grasmick.

Baltimore.

The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of Juvenile of Juvenile Services.

Blame for Filth

Editor: I would like to rebut the comments made in the letter by Stuart M. Christhilf III printed in The Sun May 25. It is not Mayor Kurt Schmoke who litters the streets and alleys of the city, who dumps trash and garbage all over the place and fails to keep steps, sidewalks, etc. clean -- it is the residents!

The city can send crew after crew out day after day to clean up the debris, the garbage, the old tires and mattresses only to have the same people throw out their trash and rubbish instead of accepting the responsibility of hauling same to the dump and take pride in their neighborhoods.

There have been good groups of people who have set about rehabilitating their streets and neighborhoods and doing a fantastic job of keeping them that way. Put the blame for filth where it belongs -- on the residents who make the mess and want others to keep cleaning it up. They just don't do the work necessary, only the griping.

I feel Mayor Schmoke does the best he can under very difficult condition.

E. P. Kellner.

Linthicum.

What Catholic Teachers 'Cost'

Editor: Tim Baker's discussion of Baltimore's Catholic school system was both informative and persuasive. He dealt logically with the claim that Catholic schools look better because they do not have to deal with the problems visited on the public schools by law.

It is, I suppose, too much to expect that his answer will displace the standard defense of public schools. His main point I thought was that all Baltimoreans should be concerned about getting a good education for all our children -- whether provided under public or private auspices.

There is, however, one sentence that needs elaboration and discussion. Baker wrote," Lay teachers cost more money . . ."

If by cost he is referring to salary, there is no question that the salaries for lay teachers are higher than those assigned to teachers who are members of religious communities. But this is not a realistic way of estimating "cost" because while different elements of the "cost" for religious teachers are paid by different agencies and institutions, they are all ultimately paid by the Catholic Church.

For instance, the religious community covers the costs associated with novitiate training and basic education of its members. (This may be changing because of later admissions.) Nevertheless, there is no equivalent charge on the Catholic Church for lay teachers.

Members of religious communities live in residences provided by the parish or the order. The construction, financing and upkeep costs of these buildings should in some measure be included in the cost of religious teachers. There is no equivalent charge on the Catholic Church for lay teachers.

Then there is the matter of health care, transportation, vacations, education for higher degrees, retirement and burial. For members of religious communities these costs are borne by some agency of the church. Except in regard to health and retirement insurance, none of these items is a cost to the Catholic Church when it comes to lay teachers.

This is not to imply that lay teachers, once the total costs are considered, are less costly than religious teachers. A few studies comparing total costs have been done and these show that the difference between lay and religious teachers is insignificant. A moment's thought will suggest why that is true. Both groups work and live in the same society with comparable basic needs and expectations.

Nicholas Varga.

Baltimore.

Gay Pride

Editor: Thank your for your recent photograph and article describing our annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Day. Both the parade and the festival create a sense of belonging for gay men and lesbians in this region.

I would like to point out two things. First, although you haven't used the word "Negro" in years, you continue to call us "homosexuals," which is not the term we choose to identify ourselves. And second, contrary to what your article said, the greatest applause from the crowd watching the parade came when the Gay and Lesbian Veterans of America drill team marched by with the American flag.

Mardie Walker.

Baltimore.

The writer is president of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore.

Why Wait?

Editor: I agree with the headline on Jonathan Schell's article -- "Americans Love a Parade" -- but that is just about the only line of the article I agree on. Why not wait until July 4 for the massive parade?

If we're going to celebrate all these concocted items and have Saddam Hussein still in Iraq, instead of having the best of the worst Iraqi army bottled up in Kuwait with Saddam and let them have the 600 burning oil wells plus all the devastation done to that country . . . sort of swap the countries . . . the war accomplished very little.

Mr. Bush loves these parades. In fact, one every day until the general election would suit him, just his size. Of course, after everything is cleaned up and the wells capped, then and only then, march the bums to the polluted gulf and call on the Lord not to part the sea, so Saddam and his army can drown in their own stupidity.

William A. Welnosky.

Lineboro.

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