Horse racing coverage has been excellent, but industry is...

Letters to the Editor

February 15, 1999

Horse racing coverage has been excellent, but industry is hurting

If racing revenues are up for the year, a good part of the credit goes to the coverage by Tom Keyser and Kent Baker. Their stories have been excellent, and it is a treat to finally have horse pictures in the Sports section.

Although their efforts have had a positive effect, however, racing's problems need more attention.

According to a recent University of Maryland study, about 15,000 people are involved in the racing and horse-breeding industry in the state. This number is more than 1 1/2 times the number of people employed by the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and qualifies it as one of the state's largest employers.

Additionally, the industry provides for 6,500 acres of open space. According to the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Farm and Service Directory for 1998, Maryland had 22 breeding farms, standing more than 75 stallions. On the other hand, Delaware has no breeding farms or stallions, and West Virginia has only three listed breeding farms, standing nine stallions on 500 acres.

If Gov. Parris N. Glendening truly believes in Smart Growth, we and the legislature should support the survival of the racing and breeding industry in Maryland.

C. B. Whitescarver, Towson

Convert Pimlico for autos, consolidate horse racing

Why don't we consolidate the faltering sport of horse racing at the better facilities in Laurel and reconfigure Pimlico for the growing sport of auto racing?

It could be financed by a proceeds tax from placing slot machines at both venues. I'm sure the Maryland Stadium Authority would do a great job with the Pimlico site, and the area around the track would be revitalized in a big way.

Dan Harvey, Baltimore

Unitarians accept various lifestyles

Matthew Mosk's article ("Governor's gay rights bills raise hopes of Md. activist," Feb. 7)illustrates that a gay rights bill is badly needed because of the irrational hatred or fear of gays and lesbians expressed by some people.

While the religious right views homosexuality as a sin, the greater wrong is to deny equal rights and equal opportunities to thousands of hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Marylanders.

The First Unitarian Church of Baltimore proudly welcomes gay and lesbian members, consistent with the Unitarian Universalist covenant to "affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and justice, equity and compassion in human relations."

Carolyn C. Battle, Timonium

Smokers are responsible for their health problems

I would like to respond to the Opinion Commentary article by Ellen Goodman ("A tobacco settlement for health reasons," Feb. 7).

Ms. Goodman states in her article that we need to punish the companies if they keep addicting the young. Instead of making the companies a scapegoat, we need to understand that tobacco is a legal substance, and people need to take personal responsibility for their own actions.

No where else in America does a company get confined to such rigid standards for advertising a legal product. Everyone knows that tobacco is a terribly unhealthy product, but if a person consumes a steady diet of fast food for 10 or 20 years and has declining health because of it, can he sue the fast food company?

Herb Miller, Havre de Grace

NFL stadium's new name could spawn catch phrases

Like many people, I questioned the decision to name the new stadium PSINet Stadium.

However, as I've given it a chance to sink in, it's not really that bad. As a matter of fact, I'm sure we'll quickly take advantage of the opportunity to use the new high-tech name for the cutting edge stadium to our advantage.

For example, we can forge new colloquial ground and not languish with antiquated terminology. In short time, the stadium will probably be referred to as "The Net." Fans doing the wave in the stands will be "surfing The Net." Draft picks and free agents will be "downloads," while cut players will be "deleted." Taking a restroom break will be known as going "off-line."

We should use the new stadium name to look toward the future of football in Baltimore and not languish in the past. Maybe it will even help us to all get over it.

Keith Sopher, Baltimore

Sen. Sarbanes shows he cares about people

The gentleman who recently wrote to complain about Sen. Paul Sarbanes ("Pro and con on impeachment trial," Feb. 6) apparently has never had the opportunities I have had to get to know his work.

Years ago I met Senator Sarbanes and his wife at an art gallery. I asked the senator, "How can I get in touch with you?" He said, "You have me now. What do you need?"

I answered, "But you and your wife are out for an evening of relaxation, and I do not want to intrude." He repeated, "But you have me now. What do you need?" I told him, and he took care of it. He even gave me his home address in case I needed more help.

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