Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 06, 2003

Race and class must play role in slots debate

It's outrageous that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. could accuse House Speaker Michael E. Busch of playing the race card ("Ehrlich makes appeal for Md. slots," Feb. 26).

Claiming the issues of income and race are inappropriate when discussing the locations of slots is a glaring fallacy. Race and income must be discussed, and Mr. Busch is right to bring those issues into the debate.

Mr. Ehrlich has not given us a clear rationale for the racetracks he has picked as slots sites. So we must draw our own conclusions. And there are obvious factors that we can point to.

Frankly, although the Timonium Fairgrounds track has the infrastructure to handle parking and is easily accessible from major interstates, it is located in a middle- to high-income white neighborhood. And no one there is inviting slots inside.

But the racetracks in Baltimore and Laurel are located in low-income, largely black neighborhoods. Why should these neighborhoods bear the brunt of the negative effects of slots? And how is Mr. Busch playing the "race card" by bringing up this valid issue?

These neighborhoods have already been devastated by drugs, unemployment and vacancies. Now Mr. Ehrlich wants to drop another devastating factor -- slots.

If anyone is playing a race card, it's Mr. Ehrlich.

Aimee Darrow

Baltimore

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s impassioned use of the race card to condemn House Speaker Michael E. Busch for addressing a gathering of African American ministers on the issue of expanded gambling is unconscionable. Hats off to Mr. Busch and others standing up against slots in Maryland.

The dramatic push for gambling in our state has not been the result of a popular movement. Rather, it is driven by a greedy gaming industry with its high-priced lobbyists and pie-in-the-sky promises.

Let Mr. Ehrlich clearly understand that the majority of Maryland ministers of all races are clearly opposed to an industry that will profit at the expense of many Maryland citizens and communities.

Expanding this demoralizing business is not the answer to our state's financial woes.

The Rev. Jeffrey A. Collins

Annapolis

Let state profit from the slots

I read with interest the article about the anti-gambling activist prepared to do battle against the governor's plan to approve slot machines in Maryland ("Roving anti-gambling leader doubles down in Maryland," Feb. 24).

And the Rev. Tom Grey is right that slots are a regressive tax on lower-income individuals. What he doesn't address, however, is that the gambling genie is out of the bottle. The state already provides scratch-off lottery tickets, daily numbers, Lotto games and Keno. And the state has sanctioned horse racing for years.

Add in Internet gambling and, more important, the slots offered by states contiguous to Maryland, and Maryland residents need not go far to feed their need to gamble.

If the state must provide support for these people when their need to gamble becomes addictive, shouldn't it reap some benefits by allowing slots within state borders?

Bill Tignanelli

Perry Hall

Can everyone get piece of slots pie?

The governor and legislators are beginning to resemble the protagonists of The Producers.

But can they really distribute 5,000 percent of the slots revenue?

Willie Wappel

Parkton

Nominee could let polluters run wild

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. sent a message when he nominated Lynn Y. Buhl to be secretary of the environment. This nomination stated loud and clear that corporate and not conservation interests would dictate the governor's environmental policy ("Buhl rallies after setback in bid to lead Md. agency," March 5).

Maryland has many sound environmental laws on the books, but those laws are meaningless if they are not enforced. The secretary of the environment is the person most responsible for enforcing our environmental regulations and must, therefore, be a person with strong environmental convictions and a willingness to fight for its protection.

Ms. Buhl is not the person to trust with that responsibility. Her record shows a trend of working with and for the regulated community.

We need a secretary of the environment who will act as a strong advocate for our precious and threatened ecosystems, not someone who will let polluters run wild.

Jennifer Svara

Annapolis

BACVA showcased city's art festival

As the Vivat! St. Petersburg festival comes to an end, I'd like to recognize the enormous contributions made by the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA).

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