Race tracks need more wagering, not more state...


June 12, 2000

Race tracks need more wagering, not more state assistance

Barry Rascovar's column "State must do more to help racing" (Opinion

Commentary, May 28) was contradictory.

He states that racing is the most lucrative sport in Maryland. If the racing industry is so lucrative, why does it need more help from the state? It now receives $10 million annually to boost purse money.

The proposal allowing Maryland tracks to sell $40 million in bonds to improve facilities includes an increase in the "take out" fee from wagers to pay off the bonds. Thus the facility improvements would be paid for by the betting public -- not the track owners.

The best way for growth to happen in this industry is by increasing the money wagered on races. To do this requires reducing the "take-out" fee, not increasing it.

Track management must put its minds to work to find ways and means to accomplish this.

Otherwise the industry's modest growth will become minus growth, and the racing industry in this state will face oblivion.

Neil W. Reid


`Community input' benefits Pimlico and its neighbors

As the chairman of the Pimlico Racetrack Neighborhood Taskforce (PRNT), I agree with the main points of Barry Rascovar's column ("State must do more to help racing," Opinion

Commentary, May 28).

However, I believe his contention that requiring "community input" imposes an unreasonable burden on the industry is misdirected.

Pimlico is located in a retail commercial district in need of revitalization and adjacent to some of the residential areas most impacted by vacancies in the city. The future of the track is therefore crucial to neighboring communities.

We believe that requiring community input is no more than requiring the Pimlico owners to be good neighbors. Improving the surrounding areas should also result in the track's success.

Operating under the auspices of the Northwest Baltimore Corporation, the PRNT has been working cooperatively with the Maryland Jockey Club in the recent past.

We think it is good public policy to continue to do so in the future.

William H. Engleman


Caption wrongly implied misconduct by the police

The caption on the picture with the article "Police kill knife-wielding man," (June 1) showed the brother of the man shot by police during a warrant service and referred to him as "Brother of victim. . ."

Terminology such as this gives fodder to those who lambaste the police. The caption should more correctly have read, "Brother of alleged assailant."

In the same article a neighbor said "they could have shot him in the legs..." and the man in the picture said his brother was "trying to turn his life around."

As a former cop, I can assure the neighbor that when someone comes at you with a knife, you shoot to kill -- just as that person is trying to kill you.

Also, if the man (age 39) was "trying to turn his life around," what took so long?

Baltimore police officers deserve a medal just for coming to work.

The Sun is a great paper but some things get a little slanted occasionally.

Albert F. Kwiatek Sr.

Palmyra, Pa.

Missile defense won't stop real threats to our security

Why would any country bent on attacking the United States invest in developing a defense-evading missile delivery system, when it could simply ship the elements of destruction in a batch on cocaine -- and activate them with the equivalent of a long-range garage-door opener?

George B. Wroe


Good news about schools comes as a welcome change

Congratulations to the Gilman School's class of 2000. Congratulations also to The Sun's for its positive article on the class ("Gilman Class of '00 `put it all together', " June 4).

I find it refreshing to read in-depth reporting on our successful schools, whether public or private.

We in Baltimore are fortunate to have so many excellent schools, but unfortunately they often go unrecognized.

The Gilman School has continued to raise the bar in its academic standards and the payoff is huge in its students' contributions to society.

Just imagine what this new class will offer the world in the future.

Patricia Carroll Kaestner


The Sun's latest "Reading by 9" series, "Schools That Work," provided impressive details of the methods that have caused some schools to become so successful.

Many thanks to The Sun, and to Geoffrey D. Borman and Howard Libit for an excellent series.

It's a great point of departure for efforts to improve other schools.

Shirley Heintz


PrimeHealth sale was a success, not a scandal

The Sun's article on the Maryland Insurance Administration's efforts to rehabilitate PrimeHealth ("State halts sale of HMO," June 2) was so riddled with inaccuracies that I thought The Sun had inadvertently printed an opinion column in the news section.

The decision to withdraw our preliminary recommendation to accept Universal Health Plan's bid for PrimeHealth was neither "abrupt," made under "mounting pressure," nor a "reversal."

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