Editor: I was especially pleased to note the very kind words about community foundations in your editorial of July 12 concerning resolution of the unfortunate controversy surrounding Artscape funding.
Happily, that issue has been resolved since, in at least one reader's opinion, Artscape is the most enjoyable event of the summer.
And you are absolutely right: Community foundations provide unique and unusually flexible waysfor donors of all kinds to create a permanent endowment for the benefit of the community where they live.
The Baltimore Community Foundation, whose nearly 150 individual, corporate and foundation donors have more than doubled its assets over the past several years, provided financial support totaling more than $1.9 million last year to 175 private nonprofit organizations and institutions in the metropolitan area.
And with funds from its board and from national foundations, we initiated multi-year programs which design and fund projects which look to the long-term needs of young children and families, neighborhoods and the cultural sector.
The Community Foundation is committed to creating for this region a strong, nonpartisan, independent endowment to work with the community and help our donors achieve their philanthropic objectives, secure in the knowledge that their funds will be prudently used to help improve this community, now and in future generations.
Timothy D. Armbruster.
The writer is president of the Baltimore Community Foundation.
Editor: "Ask what you can do for your country." Our senators did ask and, with the country trillions of dollars in debt, answered by voting themselves a $23,000-a-year raise.
Ignoring the plight of the homeless and unemployed whose numbers are growing daily, they also smiled when they realized this raise would give them a pension in six figures.
"Public servant" is a real misnomer. Does anyone know a "servant" making over $100,000 a year with a pension to match?
People coming up in the '80s were termed the "me generation." They caught this philosophy from our esteemed leaders, no doubt.
Editor: What, exactly, is happening to the London Zoo? I have read that for economic reasons the zoo is no longer a viable proposition.
I can understand this, but since so many of the animals can't be re-located, the only answer is to put them down or find some wealthy animal lover, who wouldn't really miss the small amount it would take to let the old, tired and unwanted animals spend their last days. Now, a clue. Who is the world's wealthiest woman, non-taxable, a lover of corgi dogs, horses, her own race horses -- need I go on?
I am so sad that any cause so important as this is buried. Why?
No Praise for Nazis
Editor: I would like to thank Roger Simon for his July 22 column, in which he addresses an article which appeared in the May-June issue of Scouting magazine, regarding the complimentary tone used in describing the Hitler youth.
As a scout leader, I receive a subscription to Scouting magazine and did not read the article until I read his column. I, too, was surprised and disappointed at the apparent complimentary tone used by Ken Wells to describe the marching skill of the Hitler youth.
Mr. Simon mentions calling Ernest Doclar, editor of Scouting magazine, and being told by Mr. Doclar that of the 1 million Scouting subscribers only Carla Adams has complained about the article. You can be sure that Ernest Doclar will receive a letter of complaint from me.
I should also say that I spoke with Mr. Doclar and found him to be very defensive. He stated that "a lot of people felt as Ken Wells did at that time in history." I find his explanation to be appalling. Admiration for the Nazis, then or now, goes against everything the scouts stand for and absolutely does not belong in Scouting magazine.
Editor: I enjoyed reading Dan Berger's amusing column July 20, titled "One More College Plan." Particularly interesting was the segment on Towson State University, containing: "So Towson should quit calling itself a university. It is good because it is not one."
As I reflected on the organizational developments at Towson beginning in the early 1980s with the appearance of colleges each with its dean (and now an associate dean as well), and as I recalled that Towson's enrollment remained at about 15,000 students for some years, it was hard to imagine how one might label such a school, a "college."
Further, when one realizes that the majority of students at Towson major in business administration or computer science or similar fields and not in the traditional disciplines of English, history, philosophy or the natural sciences, it becomes even more difficult to see how one might reverse the current situation in order to retreat to the more limited concept of a college.
The situation at Towson, with its somewhat unfocused academic sprawl, seems to defy comparison with schools like William and Mary, which has a clear liberal arts focus and higher academic standards.
Still, the point is well made that a clearer focus on precise mission is needed not only at Towson, but at all the institutions within the University of Maryland System.
This issue is at the heart of problems which have plagued the system from its inception, and which also may have had an adverse effect on the current funding of the member schools within the system.
The writer is associate professor of music at Towson State University.
Neglected Stumbling Blocks
Editor: Dr. Marion Friedman's July 8 letter did not address the important stumbling blocks to her practical health care delivery solutions.
A single central payer who pays the total bill is a good idea but Dr. Friedman suggests that this payer should be an agency outside the government. I assume she means an agency like Blue Cross and Blue Shield. In a free market economy, the monopoly of health insurance by a gigantic private agency would not be considered fair or constitutional.
To adopt a nationwide health delivery and health insurance mechanism, existing systems would have to be phased out or dissolved. Some workers in the current health insurance industry would have to relocate or lose their jobs. The transition period would be painful enough to require government interference and government regulation. However bureaucratic, only the government is in a position to set the agenda for a new system and get it moving.
I also do not believe that private insurers are less bureaucratic than the government. As a physician I have to deal with Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the paper work they generate is just as horrendous as that generated by Medicare.
The health maintenance organizations I deal with have not turned out to be pinnacles of efficiency either. Unnecessary paperwork is often turned out just to inform physicians that their claims are still being scrutinized. Payments can be delayed for ages and frequently there are requests for information already given.
The president and the Congress have no other choice but to take on the insurance lobby. As far as I am concerned, this is not a partisan issue.
Dr. Friedman says that the Canadian system is laudable because most of the care is delivered by primary care physicians who practice preventive medicine and treat each patient as a whole. America's wealthy and middle-class people, I am afraid, will not buy that. Upper and middle class patients in the U.S. feel reassured when they visit specialists.
Ironically the poor patient who will live with primary care as the only care is often unable to find family physicians who will accept Medicaid as the only insurance. Maryland Medicaid has recently undergone a radical transformation. Each recipient is assigned a primary care physician, and can see a specialist only upon referral from that physician.
Then there is the question of malpractice. The advances in medicine are too rapid and too vast for primary care physicians to keep up with all of them. If they don't make the proper referrals at the proper time, they are likely to be sued for negligence. Fear of retaliation generates referrals to specialists, escalating insurance payments.