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Welfare: Helping Those Who Help Themselves

June 01, 2002

I strongly agree with the welfare system enforcing time limits on welfare recipients, but I also feel that too much assistance is offered to them and is being taken advantage of ("Welfare Reform's Enforcers," May 28). Many welfare recipients have the opportunity to attend college while the government supplies the funding, not to mention free child care for their children and cash aid. Who wouldn't want to be on welfare?

I think Gov. Gray Davis needs to consider revamping the welfare system and trying to discourage people from falling into and becoming victims of the system. Why do we extend various forms of help to illegal immigrants? That could be money saved and put toward the education of our youth. As a working U.S. citizen and law-abiding taxpayer, I don't qualify for Medi-Cal because I have no dependents. Yes, I work 40 hours a week and I'm often on a tight budget; but who is to say I am ineligible for aid? Do I have to be living in poverty with more than one child in my care?

I applaud welfare caseworker Martha Soria for having patience and striving to meet the needs of every applicant. But in order for the applicants to be successful they must be diligent about attending their appointments and take advantage of what is being offered to them. I do have compassion, but often it is mixed with disgust because too many people are neglecting to utilize the help that is being offered to them and only want a monthly check. Unless the government and the city find a better way, more suitable to welfare reform, the cycle will continue to repeat itself in the years to come.

Crystal del Pozo

Los Angeles

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Your article reporting that it takes more than 2,500 social workers to administer Los Angeles County's welfare program shows how cost-ineffective the system is. It would be cheaper to just mail every needy person a monthly check.

We have to get rid of the myth that "welfare-to-work" will end poverty and homelessness. Even a full-time job at the minimum wage can't lift a family of three out of poverty. And the United States has never been able to provide enough jobs for everyone who wants to work.

At the very least, we should call California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and ask them to support a bill that includes caring for children, getting an education and job training in the definition of "work."

Al Sheahen

Sherman Oaks

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