Fancy new track won't cure woes of Park Heights Michael...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 19, 2002

Fancy new track won't cure woes of Park Heights

Michael Olesker's column concerning the push to revamp the Pimlico Race Course was right on target ("Pimlico dream is worlds away from reality," Aug. 8).

We should be ashamed of even considering dumping money into things like horse racing, gourmet shopping, and music concerts -- which are ultimately so petty in comparison to the real issues faced by neighborhoods such as Park Heights -- without first pushing to provide this area the assistance it desperately needs.

Down on Pimlico Road and Oswego Avenue, the magnificent changes promised for Pimlico Race Course will not be felt. The glory of the track will not be recognized by those caught in the crossfire of heroin vials and crack cocaine baggies. They have other things to think about.

It's time that we all realize that the issues in communities such as Park Heights require work from within -- through increased city funding and community outreach, strengthened police-community relationships and a focus on community health -- not through the exploitation of disadvantaged neighborhoods in the name of the dollar.

Jason Zahn

Baltimore

Big dreams can alter urban nightmares

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Michael Olesker for pointing out what a hare-brained idea it is for Magna Entertainment Corp. to try to revitalize Pimlico Race Course ("Pimlico dream is worlds away from reality," Aug. 8).

That idea ranks right up there with the half-baked idea of turning that rotting collection of piers in the Inner Harbor into a shopping and entertainment destination for millions each year.

And pretty soon someone will try to turn an area of dilapidated factories and warehouses on Russell Street into trend-setting sports stadiums. That's almost as crazy as believing that Fells Point, Canton and South Baltimore can have some of the most trendy and expensive housing in the city.

It's wild-eyed ideas like these that provide the city with tax revenue to fund more drug treatment centers. It's such crazy schemes that get others to invest in lower Park Heights and the Pimlico area.

It's such dreams that can change the city's reality.

Earl Blake

Baltimore

Going to war in Iraq would be a quagmire

Steve Chapman's column "Bush administration lurches toward a big mess in Iraq" (Opinion Commentary, Aug. 13) should be required reading for every American supporting an early invasion of Iraq and the destruction of Saddam Hussein's government.

I grant that the Iraqi dictator's weapons of mass destruction pose a grave threat to the free world. But is now the appropriate time for the United States to strike unilaterally, with Great Britain as the only ally we can count on?

We have a military force in Afghanistan fighting an enemy that is still killing American soldiers while plotting mischief elsewhere. And who knows what additional terrorist acts Muslim fanatics are planning on American soil?

Should we launch a war on a new front while still fighting an old enemy?

And, as Mr. Chapman suggested, occupying Iraq and attempting to remake it into our image would be akin to jumping into a quagmire.

Albert E. Denny

Pikesville

Taking health pledge is right thing to do

Kudos to Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for signing the Declaration of Health Care Independence ("Townsend backs 36 cent increase in Md. cigarette tax," Aug. 7).

She will go down in history as one of the "founding mothers" and architects of our state's efforts to ensure access to quality, affordable health care for every Marylander.

Jayne Matthews

Baltimore

Regulations can curb progress on whiplash

I would like to correct the record on research into whiplash injury and head restraints ("Whiplash prevention is taking a front seat," July 30).

The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers believes head restraint research and medical research into the causes of whiplash injury are complementary activities that will help identify ways to reduce neck injuries in automobile crashes.

It was in reference to head restraint "regulation," not "research," that I expressed concern that restrictive rules should not be adopted that may preclude other, more effective solutions that might be identified in the future.

Michael Cammisa

Arlington, Va.

The writer is director of safety for the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers Inc.

Frivolous lawsuits make us all victims

I became increasingly angry as I read the recent letter defending lawsuits against fast-food businesses ("Scoffing at lawsuits ignores their effect," Aug. 13). And as I reached the end of the letter, what really amazed me was that the writer was a professor of law.

What can we expect from the legal profession when students are taught to be so irresponsible and disdainful of common sense and how to find another deep pocket from which to line their pockets?

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