City PoliceThe chickens have come home to...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

City Police

The chickens have come home to roost in the Baltimore City Police Department, which has been in steady decline since Bishop Robinson left.

In order to get it right again you either have to dig up Donald Pomerleau or bring back Bishop Robinson -- and while you're at it, give the power to appoint police commissioners back to the governor.

Has it not been proven that police commissioners are appointed on a political basis? Has it not also been evident that Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is trying to run the police department and Baltimore City -- and done poorly at both?

The city that reads is in reality the city that bleeds, full of rhetoric and do-nothings.

Drug free neighborhood

Stop the killing

Turn in your guns

Say no to drugs

Candle light vigils

Who are they appealing to with this rhetoric? Surely not the folks Councilman Lawrence Bell was concerned about. I hope Mr. Bell sticks by his guns (pun intended): No results in six months, out!

Michael Pucci

Baltimore

Constant Care Cost

The Alzheimer's Association is a non-profit organization that serves families caring for loved ones who frequently require nursing home care. As co-chair of the public committee of the Alzheimer's Association, I would like to address issues raised in an article on Medicaid published on Feb. 17.

This article gave the impression that middle class elderly are "gobbling up" Medicaid dollars. While it may be true that a large percentage of elderly nursing home residents on Medicaid were not poor enough to use the program before they entered the nursing home, the following may give a better picture of what happens in most cases.

About half of nursing home residents have Alzheimer's disease or related dementia disorders. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disease which results in memory impairment and eventually leaves the victim totally dependent on others for care. The course of the disease can last from 3 to 15 years.

About two-thirds of persons with Alzheimer's are cared for at home by families. The care required is constant, takes 24 hours a day, and is often given by an elderly spouse. Most services which supply relief from this care, adult day care or in-home paid help, are not covered by Medicare or private insurance and are paid for out of pocket by the family or simply not used.

It costs approximately $18,000 a year to care for an Alzheimer's patient at home. Over the years, family care-givers become physically, emotionally and financially exhausted. Nursing home placement is decided on usually as a last resort, when the care-giver is no longer able to care for their loved one. When caring for someone with a chronic disabling disease, it does not take long for a "nest egg" of $60,000 to disappear.

Everyone will eventually be touched by the need for long-term care, whether it is for elderly parents, a disabled child, or a worker who has become disabled on the job. We are all now paying for the cost of providing this care in one way or another. Now more than ever, we need a long-term care plan which spreads these costs equitably.

Stephanie Lyon

Baltimore

Losing Weight

We are concerned by the omission of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center and other hospital-based programs from Daniel Amdur's article on area weight-loss plans (Feb. 16).

Confining the report to commercial centers fails to inform readers adequately about local options and does not guarantee that the person seeking help will in all cases be guided toward the most appropriately qualified professionals.

Lori Wiersema

Lawrence J. Cheskin, M.D.

Baltimore

The writers are clinical coordinator and director, respectively, of pTC the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center.

Responsibility

I applaud House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr. for his efforts to get a bill passed that would limit and then deny extra welfare benefits to women who keep having babies.

People have to begin to take responsibility for their actions and begin thinking of someone other than themselves -- namely, the children they already have, their unborn children and society forced to bear their financial burden.

How are we ever going to teach people to be responsible and dependent upon themselves when we make it so easy for them to continue to be dependent on others?

Kevin Appleby feels that this bill would put pressure on women to have abortions or take Norplant.

Well, if they took Norplant (or some other form of birth control) then they wouldn't have to resort to abortions. Since abstinence doesn't seem to work so well (Baltimore rates first in teen pregnancy), what's wrong with taking precautions?

Charles Forbes complains that this bill says. "If you're poor, don't have babies." I say,"That's right."

Why should I have to spend my hard-earned money so a welfare recipient can have as many children as she wants when I know that in order to give my own children the best quality of life, I should only have one or two?

Do I, as a member of the tax-paying society, owe more to these women and their children than I do to my own?

Some say that it's a bad bill because it's the children who will suffer.

Does the employer not fire the employee who is an irresponsible worker, just because he has four children to support? Or does he say he's really sorry but the choice was the employee's from the beginning?

The solution is called planning and being responsible. Basically, what the opponents to this bill are saying is that these women can't do either, so society should pick up the tab.

I don't buy that, but I will pay for it, won't I?

Raquel F. Maynes

Sparks

Who Profits from Charity Fund Raising?

In a Jan. 31 article and Feb. 13 editorial, The Sun addressed the issue of misleading fund-raising techniques by the law enforcement industry. I applaud the expose, yet it barely scratched the surface.

Many other non-profit industries employ these fund-raising techniques. One such industry is the non-profit used clothing industry.

Every day, thousands of Baltimore-area residents donate used clothing and household items to local charities. These items are sold for thousands of dollars. But how much of this money actually reaches the charities?

Some non-profit organizations like Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army and Disabled American Veterans manage the collection process and retail stores themselves.

Other non-profits contract with a for-profit business to manage the used goods operations. These businesses give a small commission fee to the charity.

Both non-profits and for-profits have a cost of doing business -- rent, salaries, utilities, etc. Unlike a for-profit company, a non-profit's expenses must significantly relate to the mission of the organization.

Baltimore Goodwill Industries, for example, utilizes the flow of used goods from contributor to store shopper to provide training and employment opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged individuals. More than 75 percent of Goodwill's employees have a disability or disadvantaging condition.

Non-profit organizations are allowed by law to engage in business and receive earnings from sales. However, any net margin received from business activities is required to be used to further its mission statement purpose.

For-profit businesses, on the other hand, seek to earn profit for investors or shareholders.

When for-profit companies manage a used-goods operation for a charity, the excess after expenses is considered profit and, with the exception of the commission fee, is retained by the business, not the charity

WRC-TV [channel 4, Washington] consumer reporter Lea Thompson reported in her series "Riches from Rags" that for-profit organizations collect millions of dollars' worth of used clothing and furniture every year in the Baltimore-Washington market on behalf of three major charities.

"Very little of the income actually goes to the charities represented," she concluded, citing one case in which thrift stores sold more than $3.2 million worth of goods in 1986, but the charity received only $35,000.

I encourage everyone to take the time to learn about the organizations you support. Finding out who benefits from your donations will give you full confidence that your contributions are being used to the greatest extent possible for the benefit of the charity to which they were donated.

Stephen Summers

Baltimore

The writer manages public relations for Baltimore Goodwill Industries Inc.

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