Preakness party: a shameful waste of public resources I...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 22, 2000

Preakness party: a shameful waste of public resources

I was shocked and disgusted reading that taxpayers spent $140,000 so Gov. Parris N. Glendening and legislators could eat like fat cats at the Preakness ("Legislators get free day at track," May 16).

At the same time, homeless people and drug addicts are being neglected, our streets are not safe or fit to drive on and we see boarded up houses all around us.

This is a very bitter pill to swallow.

When will the day come when we as taxpayers have a say about such waste?

Dolores Buckand Elaine Blackwell, Baltimore

Shame on Gov. Parris N. Glendening for hosting a Preakness party to the tune of a $140,000 expense to the taxpayers of Maryland. What a waste of money.

This money could be spent on such things as education, medicine or homeless shelters -- imagine how much food and clothing it could have bought.

I think that the guests of this party should be ashamed of themselves for accepting such a gift, which takes away from the people of Maryland.

Shirley V. Holgate, Baltimore

Expanded trade with China could help American farmers

Human rights advocates, religious leaders and reformers in China support permanent normal trade relations between the U.S. and China.

And family farms in Maryland and across the country continue to suffer economic losses because international trade markets are not open to our products.

Changes in China have caused a phase-out of price supports for their farmers. They are looking to outside suppliers.

Chinese officials have agreed to lower tariffs, increase imports and control their exports to the United States.

The question is, will we allow American farmers to sell their products to the Chinese or deny them that opportunity -- and force China to buy from the European and South American producers who are willing to take over that market.

American farmers stand to gain as much as $2 billion per year from trade with China. There is really no other untapped market that can provide as much return.

To improve conditions on our farms and in China, Congress must approve normal trade relations with China.

Stephen L. Weber, Randallstown

The writer is president of the Maryland Farm Bureau Inc.

Marching mom just wants guns kept away from kids

As one of the moms who walked in the May 14 "Million Mom March," I want to clarify that I am not trying to take away anyone's right to bear arms.

I merely want to be able to allow my child to visit a friend's home without fear the friend will show off a gun he found in his or her parents' night stand.

I want to know the friend's parents are practicing gun safety, using a gun lock or, in the future, have a smart gun that only the parents can operate.

I don't want the National Rifle Association to come to my child's school and show children responsible gun handling. The responsible way for children to handle guns is not to handle them at all.

I heard a passerby at the march say it was all about parenting. But, outside of locking them in the house and never letting them go to a friend's house, I can only do so much to protect my children .

All I can say to the parents with guns is please be sure your child understands that the gun is not a trophy to show his friends or to play with while your parents are out of the house. Don't think that they are old enough to know better.

Joyce C. Fairfield, Towson

More gun restrictions make us more vulnerable

I am not afraid of the legitimate hunters and shooters in my community, but I am afraid of the politics the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. revealed in his column "Mother of all mom marches can stifle gun lobby" (OpinionCommentary, May 14).

Reverend Jackson conveniently forgets the essential criminality of all the gun tragedies he mentions.

Did the shooters at the National Zoo care that Washington has banned handguns since the 1970s?

Lawbreakers will simply ignore more gun laws. One might as well wave a stop sign at a charging bull.

Until the criminal roots of violence are addressed there will be no safety for anyone. And, if Reverend Jackson and the million moms have their way, no means of defense from the predators in the world.

Erie Sundell, Reisterstown

Control city's dirt bikes before more tragedies ensue

Bravo to Baltimore City Councilwoman Catherine Pugh for her stand against dirt bikes ("Officials resisting fire station closings," May 16).

As any city resident knows, these dirt bikes and their reckless riders are like some lawless terror from the Wild West.

It is inevitable that we will witness more tragedies if these bikes are not reined in. Benjamin Feldman, Baltimore

Same-sex couples have right to legal recognition

Depriving same-sex commitments of legal recognition is unconstitutional.

Under the First Amendment, there can be no state church. Consequently, no religious body has the right to dictate any state law, including civil marriage laws.

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