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Woman Praised for Responsibility in Rough Times

August 01, 1993

After reading "The Welfare Rut" (June 11), and listening to my 41-year-old brother not 24 hours ago with a smirk on his face bemoan his financial and totally self-induced life circumstances--how his plight of sporadic employment or unemployment has led to general relief and soon Supplemental Security Income benefits secondary to his drug and alcohol addiction--I was disheartened and disgusted.

I've heard the familiar sentiments that a minimum-wage job doesn't cover the cost of child care and you receive more money from AFDC, etc., over and over, yet they rarely mention responsibility for one's own actions.

Then I read "Starting Over" in the Voices section. It relates the story of Stephanie Jordan, a young mother who lost a decent-paying job as a legal secretary when the business closed.

Instead of lamenting her fate of lost income (from $15 an hour to $4.25 an hour) and prestigious career (legal secretary vs. counter work at Kentucky Fried Chicken), she chose to address these changes positively with additional education and training.

The self-respect and self-esteem she must feel is reflected in her smile. Yes, it is difficult to succeed many times given certain ethnic, racial, socioeconomic and political barriers, yet it can be done and has been demonstrated time and time again.

Many businesses and professions could use someone with her positive attitude, obvious intelligence and motivation. I know nursing could.

I applaud this young woman and wish her success.

L'TANYA D. ENGLISH

Inglewood

The Health Dangers of Street Vending

I was dismayed to discover in the article on street vending ("Pushcart Power," July 18), that no mention of the public health implications of selling food prepared on the streets was made and that no public health officials were interviewed for the article.

I have seen vendors scraping ice from blocks to make snow cones, peeling fruit and packing the cups with their hands, and cooking hot dogs with bacon over an open grill. I have seen condiments such as mayonnaise and margarine sitting out with no refrigeration. I have seen insects land on uncovered items waiting to be sold.

The vendors often do not have consistent access to a place to wash their hands and utensils, and the Health Department is stretched too thin to enforce the same sanitation regulations that restaurants must abide by.

I support street vending but please, no food prepared on the streets.

KATHLEEN SMITH

Leimert Park

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