Responding to the needy

James Cott is unarguably right that ``The poor have legal needs too'' (March 27), as his own experience demonstrates. But should the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) be funded by the federal taxpayers? Not as long as it violates its purpose by mixing political activism with serving the poor's need for legal counsel. Why should taxpayers finance political agendas with which they disagree? Surely there are enough citizens, church groups, legal professionals, and foundations that share this selfless concern for the poor to keep legal aid going. Then, if a private legal-aid group were to divert financial resources to unacceptable political usages, supporters would be free to withhold their contributions -- an option not currently open to those who bankroll the LSC. Dick Sloan Cleveland Thank you for R. Norman Matheny's photographs of the homeless in the United States, particularly the photograph of the man sleeping above the subway steps of New York City [March 14]. By capturing the homeless man, our American symbol the bald eagle, and the cosmopolitan woman [in the same photograph], Matheny creates a pictorial analogy similar to the awareness much of our country shares for its starving and homeless. His artwork is both commendable and appreciated. Michael J. Currinder Chapel Hill, N.C.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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