Jockey's plea for slots poignant but wrongThe April 12...

Letters

April 28, 1997

Jockey's plea for slots poignant but wrong

The April 12 letter by jockey Jeffrey Carle, while poignant, was seriously flawed. The racing industry should shed its blinders and view the big picture.

The boom Delaware Park is experiencing will likely fade quickly, as has happened in casinos and slot parlors throughout America. Station Casino in Kansas City recently laid off nearly 1,000 employees. Wall Street Journal articles show a decline in casino business throughout the country.

It is true Pennsylvania, New York and Kentucky have introduced similar bills, but they seem no closer to passing than Maryland's. The Feb. 23 Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader reported that tracks have trouble convincing the public of their plight, and those who are convinced are wary of the solution. Rep. Jack Coleman noted that tracks where slot machines have been added turn into casinos that just happen to have animals running around in a circle.

Kentucky fears this would open up the state to lawsuits by businesses citing an unfair monopoly. This would likely happen here, since a group of bar owners have already met to discuss this issue.

According to the Jan. 2 Herald-Leader, other states that have opened slot parlors and casinos have experienced a sudden drop in lottery revenue. Should we sacrifice those employees to satisfy an industry that year after year begs the General Assembly for tax breaks, OTB, simulcasting, etc.?

Think of the revenue generated by people running into their local store for lottery tickets and leaving with chips and salsa or ice cream and soda, or those who specifically dine at a restaurant to play keno. Can we afford to adversely affect thousands of Maryland businesses for the sake of an industry whose owners continue to draw huge salaries?

Mr. Carle claims slots would lower taxes and provide money for education and law enforcement. If that were so, property taxes in Las Vegas wouldn't continually rise, the local sales tax wouldn't be 7 percent, schools wouldn't beg for textbooks and police wouldn't ban taxis from entering certain areas of town. (While the murder rate fell in the rest of the country, it rose 23 percent in Nevada.)

Kimberly S. Roman

Glen Burnie

The writer is affiliated with NocasiNo, an advocacy group.

Have to pay BGE even if you don't buy

Recently I noticed that our BGE bill shows a $4.50 per month "customer charge" for electricity and a $10 a month "customer charge" for gas.

I wrote to the Public Service Commission and it explained that BGE changed its billing format so customer charges are no longer shown as part of the base charge. We are now able to see that every month a customer pays $14.50 for the availability of gas and electricity, even if none is actually used.

That's $174 per year for the privilege of being a BGE customer. Is there another choice?

Susan Lidard

Timonium

Homeless advocates' criticism called invalid

I was disturbed to read that advocates for the poor and homeless had targeted Del. Sandy Rosenberg for protest over the welfare reform bill that recently passed the General Assembly. Their criticism is severely misplaced.

Delegate Rosenberg has been one of the champions of the poor and underserved in the General Assembly for more than a decade, as evidenced by his sponsorship of legislation protecting children from lead poisoning to increasing legal services for the poor enhancing child support.

Delegate Rosenberg, co-sponsored by Sen. Martin Madden and committee chair Del. Howard "Pete" Rawlings, did a real service to welfare recipients and their children by fashioning a compromise that prevented harsh sanctions and mandatory blood tests of these women.

Not only will welfare recipients with a substance abuse problem be more readily identified, but welfare clients in Baltimore City will also have more substance abuse treatment services available to them than at any time in the past several years. By identifying and treating these women, the reform bill should help more substance-abusing women get clean and, most importantly, be better parents for their children.

Senator Madden and Delegates Rosenberg and Rawlings should be congratulated for their efforts.

Peter Beilenson, M.D.

Baltimore

The writer is Baltimore City health commissioner.

Olesker column demeans city of Aberdeen

I read with interest the April 3 column by Michael Olesker, "Scandal gives wild image to once-dull Aberdeen."

I must confess, although I believe Mr. Olesker has a sufficient amount of intelligence and probably an equal amount of logic, I do not understand how he deduces that the problems that occur at the Aberdeen Proving Ground have anything to do directly with the city of Aberdeen.

The tone of his column was very demeaning to the citizens of this small, safe and proud community.

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