Racing leaders are unfair to minoritiesI find it...

the Forum

May 14, 1993

Racing leaders are unfair to minorities

I find it particularly appalling to see that the Maryland Jockey Club, whic owns Pimlico as well as Laurel Race Course, cannot come up with funding to support the "Preakness Parade."

It is rather ironic that the year after they attempted to dismiss black marching units, that money becomes the issue for cancellation. The community, state and particularly the black community should recognize the injustice that this industry is perpetrating on the community.

Reportedly, racing is the third largest industry in the state. And equally as important it receives more tax incentives and indirect financing than small businesses (particularly black businesses). This us due to the favorable handouts given by our elected officials in Annapolis.

While the track management continues to receive the largest salaries and hire additional vice presidents and other management personnel with large salaries, they are still howling about a depressed industry and losing money.

Further, the backstretch employees earn less than minimum wage for their labor and live in less than desirable conditions, with drug and alcohol abuse being rampant. And, again, the majority of these workers are minority individuals . . .

They are the same community which the Maryland Jockey Club and the Preakness Committee tried to exclude from last year's parade. And perhaps most important, the same community that pays the bills at Pimlico and Laurel, at the betting windows.

Wake up Baltimore and see the injustices practiced by those who are only interested in getting a dollar, no matter who it hurts.

Andre White


Wrong lending

Maryland's many banks tout their mortgage lending availability. Unfortunately, however, many of the loans for home purchases are going to finance acquisition of rental properties.

The banking industry is a powerful force in the development and progress of urban areas. They, alone, have total control over the future of the city of Baltimore.

It is no secret to those of us who still live in the city that renters, for the most part, practice a benign neglect of the properties they occupy. Some go so far as to outright abuse and destroy those properties.

Down the road, a few years later, the landlord recognizes the state of his mortgage-financed property is beyond salvation, so he lets the mortgage payment lapse and requires the lending institutions to foreclose.

The process is a loss for everyone (depositors and stockholders of the banks, creation of new ghetto areas, loss of tax base) except the landlord who has moved on the greener pastures with "newer" properties to rent and repeat the cycle.

Unless the banks begin a practice of monitoring closely who is asking for the mortgage and insisting that those mortgages go only to home buyers, the "inner city" now extending its borders will eventually reach the county edges and Baltimore City will go the way of Camden, N.J., and other cities like it.

The cities lose, the depositors lose, as do the stockholders of the banks.

The city bureaucracy, too, must do a better job of monitoring property conversions from single to multiple dwelling units.

If present laws are inadequate to cover the number of people living in a dwelling unit, then the City Council should look to new and tougher legislation.

Richard L. Lelonek



An April 28 article noted that Mayor Kurt Schmoke "pushed for legislation that would have permitted a needle-exchange program in Baltimore. He hoped the program might help Baltimore reduce the spread of AIDS -- as a similar program did in New Haven, Conn."

Yet, in that same issue of the paper it is noted that "city officials" have launched a legal challenge to try and close The Rubber Tree, a condom shop in Fells Point. And even though Circuit Court Judge Andre Davis called the zoning decision "irrational in the extreme," and overturned it, apparently these "city officials" have so much invested in this decision that they have appealed it to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

But would not promotion of condom use also help stem the spread of AIDS?

It would seem to be time for Mayor Schmoke to talk to his "city officials" and have them drop their short-sighted, asinine attempt to close The Rubber Tree.

Rai Douglas

Glen Burnie

By any other name

"Euphemism" is a smooth sort of word derived from two ancient Greek words meaning "good sounding."

"Ethnic cleansing" is a euphemism imported from Serbia and Bosnia suggesting scrubbing up some grubby foreign neighbors. What "ethnic cleansing" really means, of course, is killing a whole nation.

Writers, commentators, media people generally: I urge you to disavow the contemporary word doctors who foist such euphemisms on us. Let's start by scrapping "ethnic cleansing" and just call it murder.

Frederick C. Ruof



I can't help but wonder how the members of the grand jury who indicted Police Officer Edward Gorwell would have reacted, had they been confronted with a similar situation.

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