Foundations at UM have made mistakes, but have good 0) record
As The Sun continues to write about the foundations affiliated with the 13 institutions of the University System of Maryland, I feel compelled to share two important points that have been overlooked in your coverage.
First, where there have been management lapses at some of the affiliated foundations, they have been identified by the external and internal audits conducted under the policies of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. All of these audits were provided to the Maryland secretary of state and to reporters at The Sun. We found the problems, and we addressed them. The system works.
Second, we regret that management problems have arisen at a few of the foundations over the past decade, but they are the exception, not the rule.
Consider that during this period the foundations have received and managed some $600 million in private gifts. The questionable transactions identified in the audits total less than 0.05 percent of that amount. And most of those transactions resulted from poor judgment, not malfeasance.
Given the high level of scrutiny to which our affiliated foundations are routinely subjected, this is truly a remarkable track record. And yet the regents want to do even better.
Board Chairman Lance W. Billingsley has appointed a committee look at what we can do to improve our record from 0.05 percent to 0.00 percent.
I am proud of the overall performance of the affiliated foundations. Since 1988, our institutions have quadrupled the amount they receive from donors each year, thanks in great part to the role played by the affiliated foundations.
Wendell M. Holloway
The writer is chairman of the University of Maryland System Board of Regents' advancement committee.
Outdoors Woman program is for challenge-seekers
I read with interest the article on Becoming an Outdoors Woman, "Wild women," (Sept. 21). It reminded me of the old expression, "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder."
As a retired employee of the Department of Natural Resources, I know a fine group there is dedicated to making the outdoors of Maryland "user-friendly."
The Becoming an Outdoors Woman program, as an example, has a monthly staff critique, along with a continuous waiting list and graduates wanting to come again.
In this era of cell phones, VCRs and laptop computers, an outdoors weekend is not intended to be plush, but rather realistic -- nature comes with mosquitoes, cold water and other challenges. The success of the program is this hands-on experience. For those seeking the challenge of this experience, the adventure has few equals.
I commend The Sun staff for spreading awareness of this fine program and its dedicated staff. It is not for everybody. But those seeking the direction it offers have an avenue in which to pursue that creativity.
The Sun ran what was apparently intended to be a tongue-in-cheek article on the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program in Cecil County.
Because I believe that this program offers important opportunities for women who are interested in the outdoors but have not had a chance to learn the skills that will enhance their enjoyment of these activities, I appreciate this opportunity to offer a different view of this program.
For a variety of reasons, women are saying, "I really wish I knew how" to fish, hunt, canoe or participate in other outdoor activities.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman is designed for them, offering an inexpensive opportunity to learn in a comfortable, informal and noncompetitive environment. In the four years that this program has been offered, more than 650 women have participated, and more than 100 have been turned away because of lack of space.
The participants have told us they are seeking to broaden their horizons and increase their understanding of our natural resources. We are all stewards of these resources and have the responsibility of preserving them for future generations.
When Maryland citizens understand and appreciate our natural environment, the better their stewardship will be.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman is one of the many ways the Department of Natural Resources enables people to learn about and increase their appreciation of the state's living resources.
John R. Griffin
The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Olesker's double standard for Jews who disagree
Michael Olesker in his columns "Steinberg's move betrays Jewish Democrats" (Sept. 22) and "Glendening intrudes; Schaefer fumes" (Sept. 24) obviously does not believe that Jews are allowed to have different political opinions.
Mr. Olesker writes that William Donald Schaefer, John Paterakis and many other leaders of the Democrats ignored Gov. Parris N. Glendening at Mr. Schaefer's private victory celebration. He gives the impression that they even have the right to their opinions.
The day after former Lt. Gov. Melvin A. "Mickey" Steinberg announced his support for Ellen Sauerbrey, Mr. Olesker joined in with the so-called Jewish leaders of the Democratic Party to attack and ostracize Mr. Steinberg for having a different opinion than theirs. It seems that Mr. Schaefer, the former No. 1 Democrat, is allowed to support whomever he wants, but Mr. Steinberg, the former No. 2 Democrat, doesn't have that right.
Mr. Olesker writes that his grandmother would have said political kaddish for Mr. Steinberg's having this opinion, but the Democratic Party of the 1990s is nothing like the party she so fervently supported 50 years ago.
Senators Barbara Hoffman, Paula Hollinger, Del. Samuel Rosenberg and city Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector are speaking out more out of fear of losing their power because they are beginning to see the writing on the wall: while the Jewish people are monolithic in their belief in God, that is no longer the case when it comes to their politics.
Please inform Michael Olesker that the foundation of a free society is individual thought and action. It seems that Mr. Olesker wants to restrict this freedom of choice to include only the Democratic party line. The perception is that Jewish and African-American voters are traitors to their race and religion if they exercise the right of choice. Individual thought should be encouraged, not denounced.
Elderly casino patrons are nobody's pigeons
In answer to Froma Harrop's Opinion Commentary article "Elderly are pawns at casinos" (Sept. 23), I say humbug.
I'm one of those silver-haired seniors who play the slots once a month or so at Atlantic City's Trump Casino. We don't expect to win, but we enjoy trying. The trip is practically free after we use vouchers given to us on arrival. They give us cash back, with which we play the slot machines.
As for the cafeteria lunch, baloney. We enjoy a very nice buffet lunch, equal to a fine dinner, with at least 30 different kinds of desserts. What a great treat for me after 45 years of cooking. We have a late lunch so we don't have to eat again for the rest of the day.
Seniors who use their Social Security money (not all of it) probably allow themselves only so much for gambling, as we do. When it's gone, it's gone, no big loss. If we wait a month for the next check, it's because we don't want to dip into our CDs, stocks and bonds.
The casinos welcome us because we're decent, honest, law-abiding citizens who cause them no trouble, and they show proper respect for us.
We might be seniors, but we're not stupid.
More sensitive stories and less Lewinsky
As tough as it was to absorb the emotional context of it, please, more sensitive stories like Diana K. Sugg's "Seeking answers and miracles in autism times four," (Sept. 27) and a lot less Monica mania. Journalism should be black and white, not yellow.
Pub Date: 9/30/98