What horse racing needs is a new track that's fun for...


June 22, 2000

What horse racing needs is a new track that's fun for all ages

Before we try slots, we should try a Camden Yards-style, "If you build it they will come" approach to horse racing ("High stakes between tracks," editorial, June 18).

When Camden Yards was being debated, naysayers said it wouldn't work. They said no one would come to downtown Baltimore to see a baseball game, but they come in droves, and tickets are still hard to come by.

The racing industry and the state of Maryland should follow this same path.

We should consider building a state-of-the-art track to replace both Pimlico and Laurel somewhere along Interstate 95. This facility should be easily accessible, designed to entertain people of all ages and built for night racing.

A racetrack in Maryland that promotes night racing and family entertainment could bring huge crowds to enjoy an evening out.

The track should include elegant restaurants and family restaurants along with other features to entertain children and parents - a Las Vegas-style approach without the slots.

The state's racing industry is very important to our economy. Slots will only save the facilities, not the industry.

And the best part of this approach is that Pimlico and Laurel are valuable pieces of property that could then spearhead urban revitalization in their communities.

Pimlico could be a model for revitalization in Baltimore. Well-planned development is needed in many areas of this city, and this property could be the model needed to propel Baltimore forward.

Robert N. Santoni Sr.


Eliminate subsidies and let racing live or die on its own

In continuing to support state subsidization of the horse racing industry, The Sun ignores the main point: There is no serious market for the product.

Indeed, The Sun's own editorial "High stakes between tracks" (June 18), which observes that slots and not racing are the focus at Delaware Park, supports this point.

Only 2,800 fans show up at Pimlico on an average day. Why continue to pour more tax money into the sport? Leave racing alone to live or die on its own merits.

Support slots or sports betting - for which a market exists from which profits will be earned and taxes collected.

Jeffrey S. Haugh


Ethics commission is right: Two jobs are one too many

City Council President Sheila Dixon is going to keep her second job, despite the fact that an ethics commission has said it's a conflict of interest.

And that's all right because her state boss, Richard C. Mike Lewin, says it's OK ("Dixon keeps city and state government jobs despite ruling that they are conflict of interest," June 15).

It just goes to show that the "good old boy system" in politics still exists - and it still stinks.

If Ms. Dixon doesn't like the single salary of a council president, then she should quit and keep her other job.

But shenanigans such as this will continue as long as our politicians know they can count on the apathy of the voter at the local and state levels.

D. Keith Henderson

Perry Hall

If City Council President Sheila Dixon is permitted to retain her state government job, the state ethics commission might just as well pack it in.

In supporting keeping Ms. Dixon in her state position, Richard C. Mike Lewin, secretary of the state's Department of Business and Economic Development, set forth certain ground rules he says will avoid any possibility of conflict of interest.

On paper they might seem reasonable. In practice, however, the likelihood of transgressions, even if unintentional, in borderline situations is real.

More important, granting an exception in this situation could well establish a precedent that would ill serve the needs and interests of Maryland's citizens.

The ethics commission needs to stand firm.

Abner Kaplan


The buck should stop with Bill Richardson

President Harry Truman said, "The buck stops here." That's something you will never hear President Clinton or Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson say.

Since day one of the scandal-ridden Clinton-Gore administration, the administration has thumbed its nose at the country's military and security departments.

No corporation or business would tolerate an executive such as Mr. Richardson. So why should American citizens put up with this incompetent man jeopardizing our national security?

Mr. Clinton should ask Mr. Richardson to resign or fire him.

Janet Witman


Sincere opponents of crime back measures that stop it

After the early morning shooting of a Sun carrier, publisher Michael Waller declared, "It is absolutely outrageous that a newspaper carrier can't deliver newspapers in this city without being wounded by gun-crazed thugs" ("Sun offers $5,000 reward in attack on carrier," June 17).

Yes, it is outrageous. It is also the entirely predictable consequence of social policies and laws The Sun strongly supports.

Unless we turn our society into a virtual police state, there are only two proven ways to deter "gun-crazed thugs" from attacking law-abiding citizens.

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