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October 3, 2013

Comparing Costs and Values

Harry M. Covert

"Penny wise and pound foolish" and 'they know the cost of everything but not the value of anything." Sounds mighty familiar these days, not only in the nation's capital but in Frederick County, MD.


A longtime local political watcher said the first thing most politicians learn is don't hurt the elderly, the children, the sick and infirmed and the handicapped.


Sometimes scrimping, saving and purging finds the light of day and is good for taxpayers and those residents no matter their station in life who suffer and hurt.


Government purses should be carefully managed, but there is no need to deny services for seniors who need help with food, shelter and medical care. There is no reason or need to ignore public services for those men, women and children who find themselves homeless, out on the streets and without family or friends who can help.


Government at all levels has the responsibility to care for them.


For more than a quarter-century, international relief projects in Third World countries have been a part of this writer's work. Projects are still ongoing for food, education, orphans and medical supplies and equipment in Haiti, The Congo/Zaire, Sudan, Uganda, The Gambia and Somalia to name a few.


Some months ago, the director of a Haitian school called for help. He has been feeding over 250 children daily for at least five years with food supplied by caring Americans' financial support.


His verbatim question was: "I've got 2,000 people outside the gate, and they’re hungry and they haven't eaten for many days."


My response was "if you have the food, feed them." We keep the store house full.


The same holds true in Frederick where the county is attempting to sell the historic Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) and the Montevue Assisted Living Facility (MALF) located in a shared building at 1910 and 1920 Rosemont Avenue, Frederick.


Apparently the State of Maryland granted $200,000 to the county for the facilities. An attempt to return the money recently has been halted by the governor, the state's comptroller and state treasurer.


The fact of the matter is simple. The state will not permit the $30 million sale go through even though the buyers are on the site supposedly in a transition.


It does sound good that the county coffers will benefit. The needs of those who are serviced should come first and foremost. Those in assisted living, those in the Alzheimer unit and other areas must not be pawns in the struggle.


It is hopeful that every Frederick citizen can live to ripe old ages, that none will ever need assistance and help because of dementia, or hip replacements because of a fall, or simple medicines for headaches, earaches, backaches or prescription drugs.


Fiscal responsibility is certainly important.


Those who need the city and country services are not in the thousands. They are not bad citizens. They do need help. They deserve it. They're not political footballs.


Political meanness is out of place here. Partisanship in this matter is unkind and circumambiently wrong. Privatizing public services is not always in the public interest.



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