City must do more to protect injured...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

City must do more to protect injured animals

One of the most neglected areas in the city is the animal control department. This was forcefully brought to my attention recently because of a tragic incident.

One evening at about 8:30 p.m., a neighbor informed me that an animal had been hit. When I asked how soon someone could be here, I was told it wouldn't be until the next afternoon -- more than 16 hours.

It was unthinkable to let the animal suffer for all that time. I had no way to get it to the emergency veterinarian, but I brought it into the house and started making calls.

Finally, about 10 p.m., a volunteer for Alley Animals got my message and picked it up.

I have since learned that there is no one on duty at the animal control department for the 11 p.m. shift. That means that animals injured during that time will be left to lie there and suffer, possibly for many hours.

This is an unacceptable situation in a city as large as Baltimore. If money were used efficiently, this problem could be remedied . . .

L. Wobbeking

Baltimore

Family court

The time has come to establish a family court in Maryland. Without it, children and families are at risk.

The present system falls morbidly short in providing adequate services to litigants in domestic cases.

The principles of a family court are to have carefully trained and experienced judges and staff, maximize less adversarial methods for dispute resolutions and utilize community services and public resources resulting in equal access to justice.

A family court will provide a more efficient delivery of services by mandating case conferencing, mediation, continuity of periodic case reviews and increased judicial and administrative expertise. Establishing a family court in Maryland will increase the quality of life in all our homes and communities.

After receiving a devastating result from my own encounter with the Carroll County court system, I formed a grass-roots organization (Green Flag) to get involved in family law improvements . . .

We will both be testifying in Annapolis for House Bill 644 and for Senate Bill 493 today and tomorrow to give an actual account of evidence as to why a family court is essential to everyone. We want to prevent another family tragedy.

I have faith that our legislators will not have any reason to delay the establishment of a family court in Maryland.

Kathleen M. Murphy

Westminster

No plan?

Am I reading too much into Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's statement defending the Special Vacancy Program of the city Housing Authority, published in The Sun Feb. 21?

The mayor states: "Only federal funds, not local tax dollars were used for this program." Does this mean that the mayor believes that there is a difference between funds received from the federal government and those raised by local taxes? (I think local residences, businesses and industry pay both.)

Does the mayor believe that it is less important to justify the expenditure of federal funds than local taxes?

The mayor states that "these funds would have gone back to Washington if they had not been used." I read this to mean that there was no plan to use these funds, so they had to be spent in whatever way possible within a deadline.

Given the condition of housing in this city, the number of persons living in inadequate shelter and the number of non-profit organizations concerned with housing issues, it would seem there might have been a plan in place to effectively invest these funds soon after their receipt.

Robert C. Speaker

Baltimore

Housing repairs

Thank you for revealing the way $25 million was misused.

My brother and I were in the business of renovating old rowhouses and making them available for Section 8 tenants.

The really sad part is that the original $5,000 figure was a reasonably accurate estimate to make most of these homes livable.

So, had this program been run honestly, Baltimore and its low income people would have had 5,500 homes made livable, instead of 1,100.

What's going to happen to the $100 million that Baltimore is about the receive?

No wonder the country is going broke.

William Voss

Columbia

Clean sweep

Mayor Kurt Schmoke's involvement and his undying support--for city Housing Authority chief Daniel Henson concerning the $25 million ripoff of taxpayers' dollars plus the $24,000 Baltimore Sun ad defending their actions, also paid for by taxpayers' dollars, makes him a liability the city can no longer afford.

The city comptroller steals $25,000, the city sheriff's office gets audited for a shortage of thousands of dollars. These are only the cases we know about. No wonder the state had to take over and pay the cost of some city functions that were going broke due to lack of audits and fiscal responsibilities by city officials.

I don't care who wins the next city election, but I do know it should not be Mr. Schmoke. He has lost the values and control needed for such a position.

With a new mayor, the city agencies could be restructured with new personnel. Perhaps the city will not wind up like Washington, D.C., completely bankrupt because of fiscal mismanagement.

The old saying that "a new broom sweeps clean" could not be truer concerning Baltimore. It is time for a change at all levels.

Bobby Thompson

Baltimore

Ethical lapse

The turmoil began with charges of election fraud involving Gov. Parris Glendening and continues with the revelation of questionable activities associated with his administration almost every day.

Mr. Glendening has become embroiled in controversy after controversy. The similarity between his administration and President Clinton's is remarkable though ominous.

Both seem to always be on the edge of ethical and legal behavior: never quite proven guilty of criminal acts but always leaving the impression that something unethical has taken place.

I personally believe we made a mistake in electing Bill Clinton and now feel that same way about Parris Glendening. The future of our state and our country appears to be in danger because of such morally irresponsible leadership.

The electorate must demand higher standards of our elected officials, and that includes scrutinizing both the public and private lives of the candidates for high leadership positions.

Ronald M. Parsons

Glen Burnie

Beliefs penalized

I am a Roman Catholic woman who has been banned by the Archdiocese of Baltimore from participating in any meaningful capacity in my church's activities. This has happened to me because I am openly pro-choice.

That many others in leadership capacities are also pro-choice is apparently of little concern or consequence. The fact remains that I have been singularly defined by what the local church hierarchy assumes to be my opinion on this one issue.

While I am pro-choice, I am not pro-abortion -- no, the terms are not synonymous.

I am deeply saddened that, according to recent statistics, 1.6 million abortions are performed each year. I hope and pray that women will choose to carry their unwanted pregnancies to term and offer their children for adoption if they feel they cannot properly care for them.

I also pray that both men and women will do everything possible -- including practicing birth control and abstinence -- to try to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

However, when a woman does get pregnant, it is her life and her body. It is her body that must carry the fetus to term, it is her body that must labor and deliver the baby into the world.

By and large, it is her responsibility to care for the child from birth onward; in essence, it is her life that will be forever changed. Consequently, it is her decision -- and hers alone -- to continue or to terminate the pregnancy.

Speaking as the joyful mother of two wonderful children, ages 5 and 7, my heart aches to think of all the women who make the decision to terminate their pregnancies by abortion. My personal faith tells me that abortion is wrong -- but I cannot in good conscience use the law to impose my faith and my religious beliefs on someone else.

I can pray that they give careful consideration to what they are doing, but I cannot presume to legislate what must be a personal dialog between a woman and her God.

pTC Susan Hughes Gray

Towson

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