Families of disabled face face many cost
Thank you for once again for letting us see into the lives of the Specht family ("The struggle to find care for the disabled," by Diana K. Sugg, Nov. 23). The family is to be commended, too, for giving up its privacy so others might learn. So many of us are "living lives of quiet desperation" when it comes to ourselves and our disabled loved ones.
Families of people with various disabilities turn to the Developmental Disabilities Administration for assistance. Our daughter's disability stems from a rare brain tumor. She takes six different prescription medicines daily and needs to be closely monitored. Daily seizures mean she has to be watched closely to prevent injury. She needs help to manage herself, her health and her finances (in perpetuity).
Many of the disabled are children who never grow up. The cost of their care is like a college bill that never goes away, e.g., the $14,000 annual fee paid by the parents referred to in the TARGET (Training And Research, Group Homes, Education with the Developmentally Disabled) program.
Our daughter lives at home, but, as senior citizens, my husband and I know we will need assistance soon.
I hope Gov. Parris Glendening reads The Sun so that he remembers the initiative to eliminate the waiting lists for our developmentally disabled citizens within the next four years. It will take $47.5 million in state funds to do this. I hope your readers will be moved to support these citizens by writing the governor as well as their state legislators to voice their support for an end to the waiting lists. I can think of no group more deserving.
Reaching out to AIDS patients
I was pleased to learn about World AIDS Day through Karen Jungerman's experience at the Don Miller House, a residential home for people with AIDS. The Dec. 2 article, "A tough job that many will do gladly," was both enlightening and inspiring.
But your writer, Rob Hiaasen, failed to mention that Karen serves this special population of people through Mercy Corps, a volunteer program sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.
Mercy Corps is a channel for volunteers to serve the most underprivileged and under-served people in large cities such as Baltimore.
Volunteers to Mercy Corps come in all ages and backgrounds.
The writer is coordinator of Mercy Corps at the Mercy Center.
Maryland gun law not cited correctly
In an effort to exploit a gun tragedy in Kentucky to further her agenda, Nancy Fenton's Dec. 4 letter incorrectly cites Maryland law.
Maryland law requires that "an individual may not store or leave a loaded firearm in any location where it may reasonably be expected that an unsupervised minor [defined as an individual under the age of 18]) may gain access to it."
John H. Josselyn
The writer represents the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore.
Hotel decision likened to 'runaway train'
When the proposal for the Wyndham Hotel was given the go- ahead by Baltimore Development Corp. last February, it was known that City Council legislation would be necessary to move the project forward.
I voted "No," on the land use bill brought out of committee on Dec. 4 and explained my opposition. I supported the amendments brought forth as an attempt to address some of the concerns of the public and to give credit to the hard work of my colleagues, who I feel have issues with the project as well. I believe we are moving forward too fast and not taking the time to make clearly thought-out and sound business decisions on a major project.
On Dec. 8, the Urban and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee brought the Inner Harbor East Urban Renewal Plan amendment bill to the floor for a vote. I did not voice my vote on the council floor as a "yes" or "no." The vote was ushered through by President Lawrence A. Bell III very swiftly to minimize controversy on the floor.
I am very clear in my position on this project. I have evaluated its pros and cons, conversed with citizens and concerned parties and performed analysis of the information available. Although my silence last Monday may have led some to believe my vote was "yes," it is not.
At this point I must focus on how to make the most of a situation that feels like a runaway train. I do not support the processes employed to bring this project along. I strongly feel the council should have been more involved much earlier than now.
Several of my colleagues have vowed not to allow any public subsidies for this project or any other hotel development in our city. I disagree with this.
I believe it is premature and anti-economic development to make such statements concerning projects that can produce much good for our city through new jobs, new tax revenue, and new business. Furthermore, the city has already committed public subsidies to the Wyndham project with a $5 million loan, and a $5 million grant, approved through the Board of Estimates.
We don't know what the financing package will look like and have already decided to reject it, if it proposes anything other than a payment in lieu of taxes known, or PILOT. Consider the many other projects that received public subsidy, like The Sun's Port Covington site, the Hyatt Hotel, Harborplace, Columbus Center and the Power Plant, to name just a few.
Where would we be as a city without these projects? Would these projects have been developed without public subsidy? Will the Wyndham be built without public subsidy?
Important questions like these should be addressed before we continue to pass legislation.
Helen L. Holton
The writer represents the 5th District in the City Council, where she chairs the Economic Development Committee.
Pub Date: 12/15/97