Lottery needs bigger prizes, not different adsI quit the...


November 09, 1997

Lottery needs bigger prizes, not different ads

I quit the Maryland Lottery recently after more than 15 years of buying tickets. Over those years, I spent well over $1,600 and once won $28, a pretty good return for the state.

My decision had nothing to do with the vague "research" cited in The Sun's article about the new ad agency working for the lottery (article, Oct. 3). For me, that money purchased the right to indulge in some pleasant dreaming. Also, Maryland seemed a small enough state that I'd have a chance.

The lottery has a problem and all its recent tinkering (changing ad agencies, managers, contractors and the color of the computers) did not address it.

The problem is simply that the basic prize has been so eroded by inflation that you can't build much of a dream upon it.

If I win a million, I get a check for $25,000 for that year, only I don't gain even that much. The income tax on my salary will go up and my net gain would be perhaps $18,500. Of course, I'd be glad to get that, but these days it's not much of a foundation for glamorous dreaming.

Retirement? Such a sum is only a little over the federal poverty line for a family of four. A new Lexus? That'll barely get a Ford Escort. Send my grandchildren to Johns Hopkins? That will just cover expenses at a local college in Texas where they live.

No, I'm not getting into the "Big Game." It's spread over so many states that you can't even dream about it. If the lottery were to start with a $2 million prize and half-million increments again, I'd be back in a heartbeat. Otherwise, it's been fun, no regrets, and thanks for the memory of dreams gone by.

Leo Weigant

Severna Park

All must help fight Pfiesteria

As the Pfiesteria problem reaches epidemic proportions, our state and federal officials, environmental experts and appointed committees are frantically working together to "save the bay."

Many state and federal researchers believe nutrient pollution of the Chesapeake Bay from farms is somehow contributing to toxic outbreaks of Pfiesteria, which is normally a harmless, one-celled algae eater. In its toxic state, Pfiesteria has been blamed for making fish and people ill in three lower Eastern Shore waterways. However, further research shows that farmers spread the manure fertilizer on less than half of their cropland and use chemical fertilizer on the rest.

As a concerned citizen, a long-time community and environmental activist and a seafood lover, I anxiously await the results from the recently appointed Citizens Pfiesteria Action Committee.

In the meantime, since agriculture is the only area contributing to pollution of the bay that is not regulated, steps should be taken to regulate the use of fertilizer and poisonous chemicals and encourage our farmers to use techniques that limit soil erosion. The state can regulate farmers in a way that will minimize the impact on them.

The threat to our seafood industry is immense. I encourage all concerned citizens to support your elected officials on legislation concerning this critical issue and send a check to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which needs our support now more than ever.

A. Shirley Murphy


Why landfill problem when no one wants it?

I am unalterably opposed to the Odenton-Crofton rubble landfill. Everybody in the communities and West Anne Arundel County is opposed, except developer Warren E. Halle.

Since virtually no one is for it, a logical question is "why are we in this chaotic and expensive mess?" Few citizens seem to know the answer. In short, the administrative hearing officer rejected the landfill. The county Board of Appeals overruled the hearing officer and approved the project. The county Circuit Court overruled the county Board of Appeals and reinstated the decision of the hearing officer. Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals, overruled the Circuit Court judge and reinstated the decision of the county Board of Appeals. A county Circuit Court judge is now in the process of trying to enforce the order of the Court of Appeals.

The only entity in favor of the landfill was the county Board of Appeals. It is not an arm of the executive or judicial branches of government. It is an extension of the County Council itself. The board consists of seven members. Each member of the council selects a constituent. It is the only patronage the council has. It is a paying job. We may rest assured that this alter ego makes pTC no decision on an issue of the magnitude of a landfill without his or her consultation with his or her council member. To add insult to injury and remove all doubt as to culpability, the vote of the board was unanimous.

A reasonable and fair observer must conclude that we had and have a naive county council vulnerable to the pleasure of the special interests.

Bill D. Burlison


Suing thy neighbor leaves everyone loser

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