Sin cityAccording to the Nov. 8 issue of Forbes magazine...

the Forum

November 09, 1993

Sin city

According to the Nov. 8 issue of Forbes magazine, Philadelphia will have legalized working casinos by September 1995. The voters will approve the measure by a 4-to-1 margin as they think about the city's funds being siphoned off by Atlantic City.

The need to draw events to Philadelphia's new half-billion dollar convention center is also a prime consideration.

Where does that leave Baltimore? Nowhere good, unless . . . we can beat the competition. If we don't, the city stands to lose millions.

The gaming wildfire spreading over America isn't good morally. But to pass on it after our massive Inner Harbor investment would be fiscal suicide.

Envision an Inner Harbor with three or four gaming boats and two other casinos at the Power Plant and Rash Field costing operators a one- time fee of $300 million, as in Philadelphia, and annual taxes on earnings.

One casino could be city-owned and its profits directed to the upward mobility of the poor and homeless.

Then we have The Block, which Philadelphia does not have. Subsidize and expand it.

Since we already have massage parlors and prostitution rampant in Baltimore and the environs, redo the old Southern Hotel as the largest brothel in the U.S., run under the auspices of the city and Johns Hopkins Hospital. Make it a clean, classy bordello. Take the girls off the streets and call it the Fantasy Ritz.

What road salesman then wouldn't spend the night in Baltimore rather than Philadelphia?

Richard Frank

Cockeysville

Light rail's flaws

Recently the state transportation department announced it was going ahead with the planned expansion of the light rail line. The public would be better served if corrections were made to the existing system first.

The stations look nice but they are not practical. They provide some shelter from the elements, but hardly enough and many of them are in isolated areas where there should be more police protection. Where there are police, they usually are there only to check for people riding the line without a ticket.

Many of the stations have no lavatory facilities. Even a water fountain or soda machine would be nice for those who have to wait up to an hour for a bus. It is impractical to expect people to have to walk a half-mile or more in some cases without sidewalks to find a lavatory.

The drivers on the light rail are not as considerate as they should be. When there is a problem on the track, the train just stops and the driver does not attempt to inform the passengers what is causing the delay or how long it will last. Recently a train stopped below the Camden Yards station for a half hour with no explanation.

Passengers also have had problems because the light rail fails to run on time, causing missed bus connections.

If the planners and politicians had to use light rail on a daily basis as their only form of transportation, you can be sure these conditions would be rectified promptly.

Linda C. Gill

Baltimore

Big government

I think we are missing the point regarding the proposed ban on smoking in places of employment.

To have local, state or federal government dictate to business and industry that they forbid smoking in their buildings is taking rights away from the private sector. Employers should be allowed to decide policy regarding cigarette smoking on their premises, not the state of Maryland.

The 1990s are fast becoming an era of government control and intervention into the private sector.

As it stands now, the property rights of individuals are steadily being stripped away, and at every turn we are being regulated as to what can and cannot be done with our own real estate and in our own homes.

The Clinton administration epitomizes government regulation, as can be seen by its proposed health care plan.

This country has become a world leader due to its business and industry. Companies should be trusted to set their own rules regarding smoking, since the majority of businesses do care about the welfare of their employees.

Phyllis Ensor

Phoenix

School clinics shouldn't get special grant

The Schaefer administration is applying for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to create school-based health clinics in Maryland schools.

Later, additional funding for this project would be provided by Maryland taxpayers. We do not wish to help fund these clinics.

To qualify for foundation support, the Schaefer administration has had to agree to help remove certain "barriers" to school-based clinics -- among them parental consent.

We would ask that if the county school board has endorsed this plan the endorsement be formally withdrawn.

School-based health clinics deceive teens into believing there is such a thing as "safe sex." They undermine the ability of the public schools to form good character and fail to respect the dignity of young people.

Researchers at the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which supports family planning programs, admit that these services have not been proven to increase teen contraceptive use nor reduce teen pregnancy.

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