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Redefining Welfare

January 23, 1994

Thank you for the grim but all-too-accurate portrayal of the West L.A. welfare office ("Just Another Day in Paradise," by Michael J. Goodman, Dec. 19). The writer's next assignment should be to try to get through to a worker by telephone. You may only call your worker during a two-hour period each day, during which time the lines are constantly busy. Answering machines, where they exist, may not allow you to leave a message, may answer only in English and may not list your worker at that phone number, even if it is, in fact, your worker's number.

For applications for health-care coverage (Medi-Cal only), there is an alternative. Families in which there is a pregnant woman or in which there is a child born after Sept. 1, 1983, may apply at certain community for-profit and free clinics in California--if they go there for health care. It is a program that is underutilized in Los Angeles.

For a list of such clinics in Los Angeles County, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Children's Advocacy Institute, 1010 S. Flower St., No. 500, Los Angeles 90015

LYNN KERSEY, DIRECTOR

MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH ADVOCACY PROGRAM

Los Angeles

*

I was on welfare for almost three years and observed Officer David Gatlin once every month. I now have a job, for which I'm thankful. To people who behave properly, Gatlin is one of the kindest guys you'd ever meet. But big Dave knows how to quickly encourage those who act up to return to normality. This is a man who respects all who walk into that office--provided that they respect themselves. He's one of the best.

D. BOOKER

Los Angeles

*

Did Goodman have to give step-by-step instructions on how to cheat and lie and get on welfare? I just hope no would-be cheaters read the magazine.

PAM BARBER

Whittier

*

Where has our society taken us that we must lie and cheat at the welfare office to keep living at a substandard level of existence?

ARLENE BERNHOLTZ

West Hills

*

The tragic flaw in redistributing tax dollars is that it enervates welfare clients and mugs taxpayers. It's time to replace food stamps with food and to substitute vouchers for housing allowances.

JIM SKEESE

San Diego

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