Foster care system in urgent needAn Nov....


Foster care system in urgent need

An Nov. 10 editorial, "A home for every child," urged the foster care system to have a "greater sense of urgency" in resolving the cases of foster children. Certainly, the social service staff and the volunteers who serve on the review committees have this sense. They want to get every child out of the foster care system as quickly as possible, but certain problems get in their way.

There are not enough social workers hired to care for the rising number of cases. The court schedule is so crowded that it takes a long time for cases to be heard. Policies set by the government for the termination of parental rights are so restrictive that children are kept in limbo for too long. The public should know the extent of these problems and what is being done to cut down the time children must spend in foster care.

S. Savilla Teiger


What a way to reward Stallions

Last year, the Baltimore Stallions overcame the odds of an expansion team and finished the season in the playoff championship game for the Grey Cup, the World Series of the Canadian Football League. This year, they had unfinished business. They had to get into the playoffs and win it all. They did. They won it all. An expansion team, Baltimore's team, is a champion team.

It has been a while since Baltimore has had a championship to cheer about, and cheer we will. Those who are fans of the Stallions and those who are fans of Baltimore applaud the winning of the Grey Cup. And now for their reward -- kicked out of Memorial Stadium, possibly Baltimore and maybe even Maryland. Some in this town are so NFL hungry they will send a winner packing.

Fran Marinaro


The naked truth about Howard Stern

In his Nov. 19 review of Howard Stern's new book, "Miss America," Michael Pakenham makes valid arguments about Mr. Stern's offensiveness and the squalid prose of his book but completely misses the point about who listens to him and why and what he is really about.

Mr. Stern is the embodiment of the human male subconscious allowed to surface publicly in the un-demure tell-it-all '90s.

His audience of 15 million contains as many professional people as blue collars who are fascinated by his defiance of shame. He takes us to his bathroom and bedroom as well as to those of the people he interviews.

Unlike his daytime TV talk-show brothers and sisters, who play upon shame to titillate, Howard Stern defies it.

By plowing through secrets (oblivious to political correctness), he brilliantly mixes infantilism and honesty as an in-joke with his audience.

Mr. Stern's outrageousness in his daily four-hour radio ramble bumps up against the ladylike sanity of Baltimore-bred Robin Quivers.

Their shtick together is really about what appears in the daily newspapers, which she reads to him. Mr. Stern doesn't even try for satire. His success is due to irony.

The most ironic thing about Mr. Stern is that he has been contentedly married to the same woman for 20 years and doesn't cheat on her, even though he says he wants to. His sexual fantasies fuel his ratings, and he tells us this straight up.

Is it not ironic that this man, perceived as vile, lives the family values of the Christian right and allows his mother to tell him on the air how much his book hurts her?

If Swift and Voltaire were alive today, they would be listeners.

Shirley Landon Lupton


Gingrich showed how petty he can be

Reading about the childish and petty antics of House Speaker Newt Gingrich because he wasn't catered to aboard Air Force One emphasizes his essential arrogant and petty nature.

It was OK with him to deprive more than 800,000 people employed by the government, as well as those dependent on them for their livelihood, because he was ignored. It did not occur to him that there is a proper time and place for political discussion.

He also ignored the fact that an Air Force One photograph showed him and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole having some discussion with President Clinton. He's like the little boy at the baseball game who took his bat and ball home because he couldn't bat first.

Ernest M. Stolberg


Schmoke applauded for business boost

In reading your Nov. 12 editorial, "Pulling together for downtown," I appreciated the recognition that "Baltimore is lucky to have a group like Downtown Partnership." However, I found the editorial to contain contradictory information as well as undeserved criticism of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

First, your editorial raised the question of whether Mayor Schmoke was genuine during his campaign about establishing new bridges to the business community.

What could you call the naming of Roger Lipitz to chair a new Baltimore Development Corporation board? The naming of a working board for BDC, with nine private business people and only two city representatives? The commitment to create a new business liaison position in City Hall, as two business groups recommended? The initiation of regular and frank discussions with groups like a Business Advisory Council as well as with individual business leaders?

The mayor's efforts are not "potential," as the editorial stated, they are real.

Second, out of a 63-page report the editorial selected one sentence that was construed as faulting the mayor for missing a trend. In reality, Mayor Schmoke's support should be credited for putting Baltimore on the leading edge of new tourism trends.

Laurie B. Schwartz


The writer is president of the Downtown Partnership.

Ehrlich wants people to fear the poor

Congressman Bob Ehrlich's Nov. 19 guest column on the Moving to Opportunity program, "What do they need to hide?" clearly shows how well our young representative has learned his Washington lessons.

Mr. Ehrlich and all the little Gingrich-boys would much prefer that middle-class voters concentrate on their fear of poor people rather than on the rip-off Republican budget.

Poor people are not the threat. What's really scary is thinking about how I'll send my kid to college after the Republicans gut the college loan program. What's scary is how the Republicans want to suck more taxes from the poor while they give away billions of dollars to the already rich.

Chris Johnson

Bel Air

A few too many of us in Maryland?

In his Nov. 19 commentary, Peter Jay said since bears and deer are showing up in peoples' garbage cans and vegetable gardens, it is reasonable to conclude there may be "a few too many" of them in Maryland.

Is it not just as reasonable, perhaps even more so, to consider the possibility that there may be a few too many of us?

Joanne Backof


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