Face the facts on Medicare, MedicaidChristopher Boardman's...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Face the facts on Medicare, Medicaid

Christopher Boardman's letter of Nov. 9, in which he expressed criticism of Robert L. Ehrlich and the Republican congressional leaders, represents another example of those who ignore the facts and reality of the Medicare and Medicaid debate.

Currently the status of the Medicare-Medicaid programs is akin to that of a train traveling at a speed of 100 miles per hour, on the same track and following a train traveling at 60 mph. Unless the faster train reduces its speed to 60 mph a crash is inevitable. This is the status of the Medicare-Medicaid program unless annual growth is slowed.

Despite the impending crash unless reforms are instituted, the Democratic Party leaders have chosen to use deceptive political rhetoric, have offered nothing constructive and are committed to a policy of obstruction to reform. Their thin camouflage of compassion fails to hide their intent of achieving political gain from the debate, at the expense of Medicare-Medicaid recipients.

I am a retired Medicare recipient.

Kirk Adams

Bel Air

Set record straight on Asian Americans

The Nov. 1 Opinion*Commentary article by Frank Wu, "Asian Americans: the myth of the model minority," was thought-provoking. The author correctly pointed out the lies of the "model minority" myth about Asian Americans and their use for political purposes. However, a few important issues need to be clarified.

First, it is true that several Asian American groups have higher average levels of education and earnings than other ethnic groups.

On the other hand, detailed 1990 census data also show that when compared by levels of education, most Asian Americans earn significantly less than their white counterparts in similar jobs.

How is it then that we as a group have higher income levels? The answer lies in the fact that a larger proportion of Asian Americans are in professional and technical jobs that pay higher wages than the average of all other jobs. So, although we earn less than our white counterparts in each job, we as a community have higher than average income and buying power.

Are Asian Americans a model community in a nation of immigrants? Yes -- in their excellence in and emphasis on education, art and culture, family values and work ethic.

Is there a myth in the "model minority" label? Yes, and it is a big myth.

Even when they are equally qualified or equally endowed, they often do not get the opportunities they deserve, whether in business or in jobs.

Pradeep Ganguly

Rockville

The writer is president of the India Cultural Coordination Committee.

Strong firing is bad sign for city

The firing of Kenneth J. Strong, head of the Bureau of Solid Waste, is another step backward for the city. He was completely dedicated to making one of the essential functions of city government work more efficiently.

Mr. Strong reorganized a huge portion of the bureaucracy to make it more efficient and responsive to the people. He created the Clean Sweep program, the once-a-month bulk trash day, and made the recycling program actually work. He also authored the city's 10-year solid waste plan, a comprehensive and progressive management document.

He strove to make sure the public and important stakeholders were involved in the decision-making process, yet he was unswervingly loyal to the mayor when there were disagreements.

A Nov. 11 article, "Schmoke's ally forced from solid waste post," said the administration fired Mr. Strong because it wanted "someone to fill the position who had a technical background and field experience." So they replaced him with someone from the Parking Division. Excuse me? Am I missing something here?

Ken Strong's loyalty to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke over the past 12 years has been unimpeachable. He did not deserve this.

It is evident that the political machine keeping the mayor in power is more interested in people who won't challenge the status quo than in people who will work hard to do the right thing for Baltimore. And to think we have to put up with this for another four years.

Daniel L. Jerrems

Baltimore

Mean-spirited about Nordstrom

It seems a shame that Jean Marbella (Nov. 4) could not lament Saks' closing without making so many, or any, mean-spirited remarks about Nordstrom.

I have traveled to Baltimore to shop at Nordstrom since the store opened and have always appreciated not only the choice of clothing styles and prices, but also the policies of the management and helpfulness of the staff.

My experience has been that with the closing of stores such as Hutzler's, it is rare to find salespeople willing and able to serve the customer; and rather than belittle that service (one isn't shopping for "a relationship with the sales clerk"), I think it behooves us to value it, before it becomes extinct altogether.

Also, I have never had a salesperson forget to return my charge card.

Sue Pratt

York, Pa.

Democrats have nothing to offer

Democrats have not added one idea to the current debate about Medicare, welfare or the budget deficit. Your editorial of Nov. 9, "The revolution hits a speedbump," describes the current Democratic Party platform quite well -- "anti-Newt Gingrich."

The Democrats, with all the scare tactics and bogus name-calling about "right-wing extremism," barely managed to hold on to the governorship of Kentucky. If all they can promote is the status quo of continued high deficits and unlimited welfare funding, with no accountability, then the so-called speed bump is exactly as it appears -- nothing at all.

Richard Pais

Bel Air

We are our brother's keeper

It must be sad and frustrating to be out in the cold as so many have to live these days. Having recently been in an encounter with an aggressive panhandler, I know the fear it causes. But wouldn't it make more sense for our legislators to remedy the cause rather than trying to control the panhandlers?

They will not go away and will probably increase with the elimination of the Disability Assistance and Loan Program and other cuts. We seem to have enough millions to bring a football team here. Why not use some to help these desperate people? Panhandlers will disappear when their needs are met -- not before. Whether we like it or not, we are our brother's keeper.

Agnes McAvinue

Baltimore

County teachers' heavy burden

The news contained in your Nov. 6 article, "General pay raise unlikely in county," is another big disappointment for Baltimore County teachers.

As the years move on, the workload increases tremendously, demands to meet students' needs and to confront discipline problems escalate, new strategies come forward to raise test cores.

Just how is a teacher to feel motivated with these responsibilities when pay increases are so few and far between in Baltimore County?

Helen Zeitzoff

Baltimore

Perpetuating idea of city's problems

Instead of working to make all Baltimore City neighborhoods desirable, the Baltimore Housing Authority, by insisting on relocating the poor to the suburbs, just perpetuates the idea that the city is "no place to live".

Ruth Cullison

Towson

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