2004-09-03 / Letters

Reader: Politics interfering with women’s facility

A controversy has erupted which affects a combined addiction treatment facility and housing program exclusively for women, and located in Long Branch. Epiphany House is the facility, and has centers in both Asbury Park and Long Branch.

Epiphany House is managed by Sister Janet Christenson. The noble mission of Sister Christenson is to take women afflicted with the disease of addiction and turn them into normal people. It is an honorable mission that should be supported.

Two of her former wards are now employees of Epiphany House. The controversy is that because the employees have a records of child abuse, they are prohibited from employment where children are present. The government advised Epiphany House of the problem. Epiphany House responded by transferring the two employees from its Asbury Park facility, which has children, to its Long Branch facility, where no children are present. However, the controversy is not resolved. Factions are exploiting this mostly resolved situation.

A local daily newspaper is presiding over this entertainment for the public and has published a front-page article. That newspaper should be boycotted for inaccurately reporting the jobs of the two employees have been jeopardized, when in fact efforts have already been made to preserve the jobs they have. Steve Corodemus — the state assemblyman who represents Asbury Park and Long Branch — is exploiting this publicity by claiming that the law should be changed. I have but one question for him: Are you a man or a “Corodemouse” nibbling at the cheese of the sensationalist yellow press in an effort to gain votes? Finally, Cecilia Zalkind, of the Association for Children of New Jersey, a child advocacy group, is also calling for the law to be changed. How much money does she receive from the government of the state of New Jersey to criticize it? This whole situation smacks of the nauseating and self-serving politics that have affected our state for the past 20 years. To solve this situation, the following should be implemented: the money given to advocates who talk and do not directly help children should be diverted to Epiphany House and other programs like it.

I am sure Sister Janet Christenson will spend this money wisely. However, I think she should be authorized to exceed her normal cautious spending with the following: she should be authorized to give raises to the two employees to compensate them for their having to be relocated to Long Branch. A very small amount of the money should be dedicated for a macaroni-and-cheese dinner honoring Corodemus and Zalkind. If the good sister’s conscience bothers her too much, she can charge them money for their honorary dinner.

Stephen D. Calhoun


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