Maryland's lottery should give players chance to dream...


February 20, 1999

Maryland's lottery should give players chance to dream big

I read Barry Rascovar's Opinion Commentary article ("Odds are lottery interest will continue to wane," Feb. 10) lamenting the decline of the lottery in Maryland. The column gave two reasons for the decline:

A desire among the public for larger jackpots.

A need for faster and quicker drawings.

While I agree with the first reason, I must disagree with the second.

I buy a lottery ticket essentially for one reason: I'm buying a dream, the dream of the big payoff and retirement to an oasis. I know I won't actually win, so in essence, as soon as the numbers are drawn, my dream ends.

And I can't get the dream for a $1 million or $2 million jackpot. I need $10 million, $20 million or $50 million to do it right. If the pot is small, I don't buy.

When the drawing was weekly, I was able to buy a ticket on Monday and live the dream for almost a week before reality came crashing down the following Saturday. With a twice-weekly drawing, I usually don't even read in the newspaper if there was a winner until two days later. That gives me only a day or two to buy a ticket before the next drawing -- not enough time to live the dream and sometimes not even enough time to get a ticket, considering my schedule. So, I don't buy.

I believe, from my personal experience, that the decline in lottery sales is not because payoffs are not often enough, but because they happen too often. I want to see a single, large winner not hundreds or thousands of people getting mere hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Dirk Nordling, Sykesville

Before changing its vote, Carroll showed arrogance

Having lived in Arizona when that state was the laughingstock of the nation for its governor's 1987 decision to rescind the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I am appalled at the insensitivity and shortsightedness of Carroll County officials who wanted to cancel the holiday for schoolchildren there.

Carroll officials were quoted in "Decision to drop holiday attacked" (Feb. 12) as saying that the children would learn more about King's life by being in school on that day (and on President's Day, which they also wanted to revoke) than hanging out at the mall and watching television. That statement adds incredible arrogance to the shortsightedness of the decision [which has been reversed].

According to that reasoning, parents are not to be trusted with passing on values to children. School should be required on all holidays, so that schools can indoctrinate children about their real meaning. Pretty soon, we can do away with parents altogether.

For my part, I take care on all holidays to explain to my children what we are honoring on that day. I also try to spend some quality time with my kids on those days, time that is not available to me on other days of the week, not even weekends, when the chores of the week must be done.

I believe that King would approve of those kinds of family values, and my kids are learning what those values are.

George Cathcart, Columbia

If virtually any other holiday had been eliminated from the school year, Carroll County would have been praised for putting education first.

Does more time spent in school benefit students? That is the question that needs to be answered.

It is clear that children could only benefit from more education, not less. Yet, we hear virtually no one defending the Carroll County decision. Why? Fear. Fear of being called a racist. Fear of not obeying the politically correct code.

What was once a noble and righteous struggle for the rights of all people in this country has degenerated into a contemporary form of McCarthyism. We can only guess what King would have thought.

Donald S. Smith, Baltimore

Smart Growth makes sense for dwindling open space

I feel better after reading Dan Rodricks' column ("Look inward, Baltimore, for open space," Feb. 5). Always do. So, who's paying attention?

"Gray spreads. Green dwindles," Mr. Rodricks says, pointing out the benefits of Smart Growth for Baltimore and surrounding areas. It makes such good sense to revive older urban and suburban areas and spare open green space.

Unfortunately, greedy developers and legislators out of touch with the pulse of our Mother Earth don't feel a thing. They gamble that the gray spreading from their projects will put green into their coffers. And the natural human impetus by consumers to want the new, the fresh, feeds that greed. Heck, why should a suburbanite care about fixing up city schools when he can send his kids to a new county one?

People must wake up. We're all in this together. We must all take an active interest in Smart Growth before we choke ourselves right off the face of the planet.

Stephanie Panos Link, Hampstead

Real targets exhausted, so Falwell attacks fiction

As a 26-year-old homosexual male, I find it hysterical that Jerry Falwell is so bored with his anti-homosexual crusade that he is attacking fictional characters from a children's television program ("Don't ask, don't teletubby," Feb. 12).

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