EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 18, 2013

Your view: Letters to the editor


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — State welfare is a poorly run charity

To the editor:

We are told that we should donate to charities to help those less fortunate than ourselves. I do that regularly, choosing those organizations that I feel make the most of my donations. There are various ways to research these charities. We can find out how much of each dollar actually goes to helping the needy. There are many charities and non-profits that have overpaid directors, no accountability for where the money actually goes, and no oversight making sure that the people who do get help are actually deserving of that help, and are virtually ineffective in helping the needy get back on their feet. Personally, I don’t choose to donate to ineffective organizations. It does not make sense to me to do so. Donating to these organizations is just like throwing money in the trash. It doesn’t help anybody but the administrators of the organizations.

The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance is a government-run charity organization. The government doesn’t call it a charity, but, that is exactly what it is. This charity is funded exclusively by taxpayers. The DTA has been found to be less than diligent in making sure the funds are distributed to needy and deserving people. The DTA pays benefits to dead people. The DTA pays benefits to people committing identity fraud. The DTA pays benefits to people who are in this country illegally. There is absolutely no accountability in that organization. The organization requires nothing from its “clients.” They do not have to work, perform community service, go to school for job training and are not required to pay the money back. It has been reported that one-third of its “clients” are not even eligible for the benefits they are receiving.

With the amount of mismanagement, abuse, fraud, ineffectiveness and the lack of accountability, this is not a charitable organization to which I would voluntarily contribute. I am sure that if this were a privately run charity, donors would run quickly in the opposite direction. I know that I would. However, you and I are being forced to fund this mismanaged organization. We have no choice. We have to pay our taxes and a portion of our taxes are then given to the DTA to waste.

I have to wonder at the legality of this. Is it legal for the federal government and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to force taxpayers to financially support a charity that is this mismanaged? Is it legal for them to require us to fund any charity? I was under the belief that charitable donations were voluntary and that we have the right to choose to which charities we contribute.

I want to donate to a charity that helps people that are willing to help themselves. A charity that helps people that want to support themselves but need some help getting to that point. I don’t want to fund a charity that gives money to criminals, gang members, and others who just want the freebies and don’t have any intention of trying to improve their situation.

The government is violating our rights by forcing us to fund charitable organizations that we would never agree to fund voluntarily. If this isn’t illegal, it should be.

Judy Berezansky

Haverhill

Forget term limits and vote them out

To the editor:

I think many people would agree with Harold Nelson’s call to limit terms for congressmen and senators. “Term limits would get legislators moving” (Aug. 9).

Term limits certainly have a place in American politics. Most states have term limits on their governors, some states limit terms to their legislators and some cities limit tenure on mayors. The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution limits the president of the United States to two terms. But even with that restriction, look at the problems second-term presidents have had. Richard Nixon resigned because of the Watergate scandal, Ronald Reagan’s Iran-Contra affair was a disgrace to his administration, Bill Clinton was impeached on perjury and obstruction of justice charges and with George W. Bush, unpopular wars contributed to an unproductive second term.

Power corrupts. Look at the last three speakers of the Massachusetts House of Representatives to resign. In 1996, Charles Flaherty, in office 24 years, resigned pleading guilty to tax evasion. In 2004, Thomas Finneran, in office 25 years, resigned due to allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice. In 2009, Sal DiMasi, in office 30 years, resigned and was convicted of conspiracy, honest services fraud, and extortion. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

At the core of our Constitution is the concept of limited powers. It would take a constitutional amendment to limit terms for U.S. representative and senators. But consider this: In the last 220 years, the Constitution has only been amended 17 times. It’s rare. And, to expect both the House of Representatives and the Senate, by two-thirds majority vote, to limit their own power? Fahgetaboutit. They’re dysfunctional but politically savvy.

It’s just not human nature to relinquish power, even if it is the right thing to do. Power is given up when forced out. So our only realistic option is to vote.

David Rousseau

Haverhill

School bus routes are ready

To the editor:

Believe it or not, but school opening is right around the corner. Last week, the Pelham School District released bus routes for the 2013-14 school year. You can access these routes by logging onto the district Web page at www.pelhamsd.org and choosing “2013-14 School Bus Information” from the quick links on the left-hand side of the page. Hard copies will also be posted at each school, Town Hall and the Town Library. If you have any questions concerning this year’s routes, please contact Student Transportation of America at (603) 589-9205.

We look forward to an exciting school year where we work to “Inspire Success One Mind at a Time.”

Amanda Lecaroz

Superintendent

Pelham School District