A warning look at gambling from Louisiana
According to your June 3 article, gambling lobbyists reported spending nearly $1 million trying to push their snake oil on the people of Maryland. One can only wonder how much went unreported. Why do they continue to spend so much after they've been told "no" by the people of Maryland and a courageous Gov. Parris Glendening? Attorney General Joseph Curran's 1995 report shows a clear link between gambling expansion and increased crime and social costs.
How much was paid by the racing industry indirectly? It hired buses to bring people with professionally made signs to the hearings where they showed professionally produced videos.
In a shameful display, they handed out professionally printed brochures to the 90,000 attendees of the Preakness.
Video poker machines were added to Louisiana racetracks because they were dying. The May 15 issue of the Advocate in Baton Rouge reported that legislators have introduced bills to make video poker machines (called the "crack cocaine of gambling") illegal because of the damage caused by them.
Since video poker has not been the racetracks' salvation, the racing industry now wants slot machines. Sen. John Hainkel argued that slot machines may be more addictive than video poker because patrons can work them faster. He reminded the Senate that previous efforts have been made to bail out the horse-racing industry with off-track betting parlors and video poker.
Sen. Tommy Casanova warned that if slot machines are allowed at tracks, bars and restaurants will want to trade video poker for slots. "This is not about horses," Mr. Casanova said. "This is about big-money people looking to have land-based casinos, and they are using the horse-racing industry as leverage."
Kimberly S. Roman
City should sell Fort Smallwood Park
I agree with the June 11 editorial, "Learning to live within our means," that says Baltimore must shrink its government. The city can start by unburdening its population of municipal facilities operated beyond the city proper.
Take Fort Smallwood Park. The 100-acre park, situated in Anne Arundel County, was municipalized by Baltimore in 1927. In its heyday, the waterfront enclave offered mostly white Baltimoreans relief from sun-baked, overcrowded, urban quarters. There was even a steamboat that delivered visitors.
But most of those city residents have moved to the suburbs. Yet they are the ones who still use the park.
Left in their wake are a large number of poor people, without the means to escape the sweltering city streets. Their only deliverance is found at neighborhood parks and recreation centers. If they do use Fort Smallwood Park, it is only occasionally.
The mayor and City Council ought to stop playing politics with the parks and rec-centers while money is spent on maintaining Fort Smallwood Park.
Baltimore should sell Fort Smallwood Park to either Anne Arundel County or the state of Maryland. The city would receive much-needed cash and the park would remain open to all citizens.
John P. Tully
Reviewers weren't fair to Mandarin House
We would like to express our opinion on a May 29 restaurant review that appeared in The Sun's "Arundel Live" section, entitled "Pigging out on buffet."
We feel that the authors' remarks on the Mandarin House were unjust. We could tell that David Michael Ettlin and Bonnie Schupp don't eat often at Mandarin House.
We can honestly say that we eat there at least once a week. The prices are reasonable (in fact, too reasonable), the management is great and friendly and the food presented in a great manner, tastes great and you always can get your full. The waiters are always at your table to take away your dirty plates, refill beverages and just to make sure that everything is all right with your meal.
We did not appreciate Mr. Ettlin's and Ms. Schupp's comment that the Mandarin House should be rated a culinary wasteland. A lot of people feel the same way we do.
John C. Combs Marie Combs Baltimore Here's a way to stop
illegal campaign gifts
Aren't we all getting tired of reading about illegal campaign donations; Brian Davis in Maryland, and the Lums on a national level? If we really wanted to stop it, just make the penalty the same for the person accepting the donation as it is for the person making the illegal donation.
No, we just let the politician give it back since they always claim "they weren't aware of it." Let them face jail time and then they may become "aware" of who gives them money.
John W. Keith
Travel section overlooked Annapolis
This relates to The Sun's Travel section of May 11, which carried an article on Maryland's multiple travel attractions.
While it is always gratifying to see our state promoted in this fashion, I was bemused by the scant attention the writer gave to our state capital, Annapolis, dismissing it with a mere six lines of type and a color photo.