Letters to the Editor

February 19, 2009

Bailout needs accountability

To the editor:

I recently watched the U.S. Senate C-SPAN coverage of the vote on the second $3.5 billion and came away somewhat pleased but also somewhat disappointed.

The congressional vote to release the additional $3.5 billion was probably the correct thing to do at this point. The commitments made by the incoming administration show a much more detailed and comprehensive methodology for handling the funds. There is little doubt that the current economic conditions of the country require bold stimulus action.

It was disappointing to hear some senators' comments regarding the apparent total mishandling of the first $3.5 billion several months ago. Are we to believe that initial amount was simply doled out with practically no accountability established by the Treasury Department or others involved?


Many news accounts indicate that queries made by the news media as to what happened to most of those funds yielded no response from the money's recipients. Nor was the so-called oversight panel any more successful when it lodged inquiries. Are they kidding us?

How could the Treasury Department dole out billions of dollars so haphazardly and sloppily that no accountability for the funds was required? Practices of this type are beyond belief or common sense. The Treasury Department has been known for its supposed thoroughness, exactitude and expertise in the handling of taxpayers' funds. What happened in this case?

What was even more frustrating, at least to me, was some senators' apparent belief that nothing can be done to trace this money and determine the facts and circumstances.

What are we being told here? That our government simply appropriated this very sizable sum of money ($350 billion), issued it to the Treasury Department, which in turn issued it to recipients (mostly banks) with no accountability for the funds? If so, this goes a bit over the top.

With the investigative and legal resources available to the government, surely someone can and hopefully will investigate this matter and determine exactly who received the funds, for what purpose(s) and the exact disposition of those funds. It would also seem that by now there would be efforts under way to recover any funds not used properly. Any recipient's response that they don't want to divulge what they did with the cash is simply not acceptable.

In the Senate discussions, it was mentioned that each day this country is losing 17,000 jobs and 9,000 homes are being foreclosed on each day. Well, the $350 billion could have gone a long way toward forestalling the home foreclosures and job losses. Instead, the money was apparently just given to recipients to use as they saw fit.

Hopefully, this second allocation of $350 billion will be handled in a much more efficient manner than the original $350 billion. We will judge that by their deeds, not by their promises.

The American people must demand answers to what happened to the first $350 billion and stop accepting flimsy excuses.

Bill Hahn

Help us give young people the gift of art

To the editor:

Contemporary School of the Arts & Gallery Inc., is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization. Our mission is to serve at-risk children and youth in Hagerstown, by providing summer, weekend and after-school art programs designed to engage young people in creative and meaningful endeavors.

Through our programs we aim to provide our students with positive alternatives to negative choices that surround them in their community.

To help us, we ask that you send your generous contribution to CSAGI, 4 W. Franklin St., Hagerstown, MD 21740. We are appealing to organizations, businesses, churches and individuals to help.

As an example of what we provide, the following events have been scheduled.

o On Saturday, Feb. 21, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., we are inviting adults and students to learn the basic techniques of painting with acrylics. The class will be held at the above address.

To pre-register, please call 301-791-6191, or e-mail

o Miranda Brown will do a story-telling session for 4- to 8-year-olds at the CSAGI gallery from 11 to 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb 28. Pre-registration is required. Thank you.

Ron Lytle
director, CSAGI

Many assisted with our work

To the editor:

As we begin a new year, we want to acknowledge those who helped us achieve in our many community projects and programs.

To Always Ron's owners, Mike and Jane Guessford and staff for putting up with us and serving us delicious meals.

Antrim House Restaurant, of Greencastle, Pa., which so graciously supplied the chicken to help make the picnic for Shining Tree and Big Pine a great success.

October brought about our Baby Safety month's partnering with Hagerstown Honda and Amanda and Jackie from Safe Kids - Safe Highways of the Health Department. Many baby car seat checks were done and installations corrected. It was determined that this would be an annual event for the community and our club.

Many thanks to all who donated to our Food Drive. We were able to take 1,700 pounds of food to the Community Food Bank.

Caf de Sol and First Look Photo put the icing on the cake to make the Family Center's holiday party one of the best.

Last but not least, our heartfelt gratitude to the Woodmen of the World for their generous donation of American flags and The American Patriots Handbook to St. Mary's School students grades kindergarten through eight. This was a great "Stand Up America" project that coincided with Martin Luther King's birthday and the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama.

A special special thanks to our new members who have joined us to make our club a most successful organization.

Mary Jo Ashburn (for)
Washington County Friends of Education Exchange Club

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