LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

An apology extended

I have enjoyed spending time in Jefferson County, when possible, for well over two decades. Whether rafting at Blue River Outfitters, attending the Contemporary American Theater Festival, fishing in ponds or rivers, or just enjoying the majestic views of Harpers Ferry.

Some years ago (I believe it was right around Independence Day, which is a time of year I have often visited the area) — I believe it was in the late 1990s (probably 1997 or 1998) but I am uncertain of the exact date — I was driving from Harpers Ferry toward Charles Town and I heard a car honk behind me and then the sound of a crash. I did not pull over, but rather kept driving.

While it would be too much to say that my not pulling over has “haunted” me all of these years, I wish that I had pulled over to get the details of the accident and to assist if needed and possible. I wanted to publicly apologize for not doing that, in hopes that any reader who may have been involved in the mishap would read this apology.

Thomas Lizardo

Fairfax County, Va.

 

HBPA helps the horsemen

The article, “Commission denies backstretch funding request,” published on July 3 misattributes a remark made by Commissioner Dale Manuel to myself.

In referring to a 2009 report Manuel stated that the Charles Town Horsemen’s Benevolent Protective Association allocated 25 percent to medical and welfare expenses of horsemen and 75 percent to administrative expenses.

He then went on to say to me: “I’d like for you to take a hard look at that. I think that’s outrageous. We don’t need that kind of administrative cost. We need to do more for the backstretch folks.”

The HBPA and the Horsemen’s Assistance Fund administered by the HBPA are both nonprofit organizations and their records are public information. In reviewing the records for 2009 and 2011 (the latest filing published by the IRS),

I found the costs to be almost diametrically opposite to those cited in the 2009 report noted by Commissioner Manuel.

In both years, monies allocated by the HBPA and the Horsemen’s Assistance Fund for medical and welfare expenses were approximately two-thirds of the funds received. In addition, the HBPA made grants to the Free Clinic and to the Charles Town Race Track Chaplaincy, which provides a substance abuse and anger management counseling service as well as pastoral care to backstretch workers. The reported administrative costs of the HBPA for itself and the Horsemen’s Assistance Program were in the order of 30 percent.

This amount includes office space and salaries for three employees in Charles Town and professional services provided locally and in Charleston.

While IRS filings are not the balance sheets needed to make definitive assessments of disbursements of funds, they provide a ballpark picture of HBPA’s operations and expenses which are at odds with Commissioner Manuel’s citation from 2009.

Peter Fricke

-Charles Town Race

Track Chaplaincy

 

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