Letters To The Editor


November 06, 2003

Patrons of slots pose no threat to Timonium

Dan Rodricks' column "Slot machines would banish tradition from fairgrounds" (Nov. 2) is a study in how one man can not only insult entire segments of a population, but come to amazingly illogical conclusions.

Mr. Rodricks specifically calls those who would play slots "degenerate gamblers" -- as if the businessmen and women, husbands and wives, and retirees and tourists who would frequent slot machines at Timonium Fairgrounds would turn out to be the scum of the earth, or, as Mr. Rodricks stated, the kind of people who "will sit on stools in stretch pants, slip coins into slot machines all day, then panhandle for change on York Road."

Strange, but when I've seen busloads of Owings Mills residents boarding buses in a local parking lot headed for Dover Downs, I hardly see them as "pale, red-eyed losers," as Mr. Rodricks does. Instead, I see responsible and mature Marylanders pulling into the parking lot in Lexuses, Buicks and Mercedes-Benzes, taking their money out of this state and dropping it into the coffers of another.

And Mr. Rodricks apparently hasn't given much thought to the revenue opportunities for Baltimore if a slots operation opens at the fairgrounds.

Instead, he bemoans the fact that crafts shows, boat shows and fishing shows would no longer have a home. Why does he believe they will fold up shop? Why not simply move to another location?

Almost weekly, The Sun prints an article highlighting the increasing vacancy rate of the Baltimore Convention Center, and noting how a decline in bookings is hurting not only the center itself, but also surrounding businesses.

Could Mr. Rodricks encourage the "regional tradition, consumer entertainment and commercial expositions" to take up shop at the convention center, providing a new home for the venues and a shot in the arm for the Inner Harbor?

Delaware may be "puny and ugly," as Mr. Rodricks states, but it has found an attractive and legal way to pull potentially hundreds of millions of dollars out of Maryland's tax revenue.

As the owner of a small business just off York Road, I vote for slots at the fairgrounds.

Tony Ondrusek

Hunt Valley

Petulance won't stop move to Delaware

Dan Rodricks' column "Slot machines would banish tradition from fairgrounds" had to be the zenith of petulant name-calling.

To describe Delaware as "annoying" and "puny and ugly" only serves to display Mr. Rodricks' inability to see quality when he's falling over it.

If Delaware were truly the cesspool he describes, I doubt I would be running into more and more "exiles" from Maryland and New Jersey here.

Whether I go to the hardware store or the local cafe, more and more folks here are calling each other "Hon!" I love that. And I have been to a slots parlor only once in my 11 years of residence here.

Thomas M. Dwyer

Milton, Del.

No good can come from Timonium slots

Dan Rodricks hit the nail on the head ("Slot machines would banish tradition from fairgrounds," Nov. 2). There is not one good thing to be said for gambling in Timonium. It offers no social benefit to the community. What it does offer is more traffic, deadbeats and crime.

The fair's original purpose -- to educate and enlighten people to agricultural and farm animal management -- will be long gone after slots arrive. Money will take its place.

William Laudeman


All-day kindergarten makes big difference

Thank you for the editorial "Kindergarten blues" (Nov. 3). We cannot afford to keep putting the education of our youngest children on hold until the time and money are right.

As a kindergarten teacher in Baltimore County who is teaching all-day kindergarten for the first time this year, I see the difference it makes firsthand. Do we need to be hit over the head with the data to see that early learning is the key? Kindergarten is actually too late to teach some of skills children need to learn early.

We profess to put children first, but do we have the courage of our convictions?

It's time we stop talking about the importance of education and spend the time and money needed on what is really important for the future of our children and our society.

Abby Beytin


Tuition cap will push colleges to curb costs

A tuition cap is precisely what the University System of Maryland and other public university systems need to instill some long-overdue fiscal discipline ("Rising tuition has Ehrlich boxed in," Nov. 2).

According to a study released last month by the nonpartisan College Board, average tuition and fees rose a staggering 47 percent at four-year public colleges and universities in constant 2003 dollars over the 10-year period ending with the 2003-2004 school year.

Closer to home, state funding for the University System of Maryland increased by double-digit percentages from 1996 to 2001, which was well above the rate of inflation.

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