Slot machines at track needed to resuscitate a slumping...


August 19, 1998

Slot machines at track needed to resuscitate a slumping industry

Regarding the letter to the editor ("No gambling expansion without statewide vote," Aug. 11) from Kay Dellinger, although I agree that any expansion of gambling in Maryland should be put to a referendum, I must disagree with everything else she had to say.

I am a member of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and am a Maryland thoroughbred horseman. We are totally opposed to any forms of casino gambling other than those outlined in the bill to save our industry.

I went to Delaware Park last week and can verify that one out of every five cars on its lot had a Maryland license plate and that after several years of operation, you still have to wait to find an available machine, even in the middle of the week.

There are no slot machines to be found in any gas station or grocery store, and Delaware taxpayers are getting great relief from money generated by Maryland gamblers.

I believe if the public is fully educated on the facts of our proposal to save Maryland horse racing, a referendum would pass without a doubt.

Steven E. Davidson

New Windsor

Special section on stadium was closest I'll get to it

Thank you for your recent special section introducing the new football stadium. I've watched the stadium go up, driving by each week, and it's amazing how quickly it has taken shape.

The pictures and descriptions you printed were greatly appreciated because they are the closest look I'll ever get to what my taxes paid for. I can't afford a ticket to a game.

Thaddeus Paulhamus


Fire department vehicles don't have to be so noisy

It was reassuring to read the assertion of Baltimore Fire Chief Herman Williams that his "primary focus is the well-being of our citizenry" and that he claims responsibility for managing his agency in a "fiscally responsible manner." One wishes that the fire department were operated in a more socially responsible manner, too.

Chief Williams notes that over 20 years the use of emergency vehicles has "increased dramatically." His figure of 170,500 responses to fire alarms and calls for medic units stated another way, means that on the average slightly more than 19 fire and rescue vehicles traverse the streets of Baltimore every hour of every day and night of the year.

Unfortunately, a side effect of this activity is that the sounds of sirens and air horns have become a constant, 24-hour-a-day feature of life in downtown Baltimore.

It is a rare night when slumbering downtown residents are not jolted awake by the sound of a passing ambulance or fire engine resulting in the many physical and social ills known to be caused by sleep deprivation.

It is too easy to ignore the problem generated by siren and air horn noise by asserting, accurately, that emergency services are humanitarian and essential to the functioning of the city.

I readily concede that one can only be grateful for their availability. But when the special privileges granted to emergency vehicles are used carelessly, or abused, it is time to examine the effects of the excesses. Ironically, a service designed to help, when used thoughtlessly, can hurt.

The noise generated by emergency vehicles in downtown Baltimore detracts hugely from the quality of life here. Fortunately, all that is necessary to minimize the problem is to devote the time and intention to doing it. If Chief Williams is truly concerned with the well-being of the Baltimore citizenry, as he states, he might work to reduce the negative side effects of the department's operations.

Other cities have done so. Vancouver, B.C., Canada, recently completed an extensive study of ways to reduce urban noise, including that generated by emergency vehicles. The Vancouver study, exceptional in its scope and detail, could be profitably emulated here.

Until that happens, it might be more accurate to characterize Baltimore not as the city that reads, but as the city that screams.

Harry Gehlert


Schools' reinvented wheel will roll like a cube

If the leaders in reading reform (Texas, California, New York and Illinois) have created a reading wheel that rolls, why has Maryland expended the time, effort and money to have 25 educators work for 16 months to design another one?

Ironically, the Maryland experts have created a cube but are calling it a wheel. Don't try to reshape the cube into a wheel. Use one of the four existing wheels.

Edmund C. Piercy


The writer is head of the social studies department at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.

Former county leaders wrongly labeled corrupt

In your editorial "Untying executives hands" (July 30), you state that the rules regarding merit system employment were enacted 42 years ago "in response to corrupt administrations." Use of the pejorative "corrupt" besmirches the reputations of both government officials and long-time employees.

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