Letters To The Editor


December 01, 2003

New racetrack would boost revenue, city

The idea proposed by Carl A. J. Wright, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority is a sure thing for Baltimore and the people of Maryland ("Downtown track, slots idea floated," Nov. 26). The suggestion is so brilliant it may leave local officials scratching their heads and wondering why they didn't think of it (or trying to claim it as their own).

Building a "world-class" racetrack across from M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards would provide Maryland racing the showcase it deserves. It would also provide another reason for tourists and conventioneers to favor Baltimore over other cities.

When one considers the location in terms of access to highways, to rail and bus lines and to the Convention Center, hotels, restaurants and the Inner Harbor, it doesn't take much imagination to forecast a big win for the city, state and the citizens of Baltimore. Combine all this with a slots emporium and you have a proposal which may actually help reduce our state's serious budget deficit.

Would a new track be a loss for Pimlico? Why create more problems for this residential area by expanding a use which is out of character for the neighborhood? The site (and public dollars) could be better utilized if the track were razed and the site rebuilt for uses compatible with the residential neighborhood. And in its present location, that racetrack will never draw the way it could from the Washington and Northern Virginia area. Let's move the track and the Preakness Stakes.

Remember, it's about location, location, location.

Gerald Stank


Gambling's values a bad bet for state

The Sun's editorial "Don't worry, be happy" (Nov. 25) again raises the specter of "the social upheaval of gambling" if Maryland legalizes slots next year. But the statewide discussion of this issue during the past year has not been informed by the most important consideration -- the values that gambling involves.

Gambling values obtaining money without earning it, playing odds to get rich quickly rather than through steady work over time, relying principally upon chance rather than reason in life, living only for the moment rather than planning ahead.

While gambling can be done purely for fun, greed is often a motivating factor. And the addictive nature of gambling ensures that some in our community will spend too much of their time, talent and resources doing it. In short, gambling embraces bad life choices and life strategies which are not successful for most people.

I am not an anti-gambling purist of some sort, having gambled for fun in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Reno, around the kitchen table and every spring on college basketball's March Madness.

However, I think gambling is a shameful way to fund our commonweal. And how incredibly hypocritical it is for our traditional-values, Republican governor to be pushing this bad idea.

Michael Selmanoff


Medicare `reform' has failed before

History is repeating itself. Congress, with AARP support, has passed a historic Medicare bill, as Congress did under President Reagan, which provides prescription drug support for the elderly and incorporates income means-testing for Medicare premiums ("Sweeping Medicare bill passes," Nov. 26).

These were elements of the 1988 Catastrophic Health Care Act. Congress subsequently repealed it prior to implementation when AARP members rose up in protest over means-testing.

Only time will tell what happens to this legislation.

Frederick W. Derrick

Glen Arm

The writer is a professor of economics at Loyola College.

Reform bill benefits seniors and industry

I don't agree with the writers of the letters "Medicare reform bill won't help seniors" (Nov. 26) and "Bill goes too far and not far enough" (Nov. 26). I think they simply do not want to give the Republicans any credit for helping seniors and disabled people.

The Democrats think they own Medicare. That's why they were mainly excluded from the negotiations on the bill. Their arrogance stands in the way of compromise.

But I like this bill. Sure, it benefits drug companies because it will increase drug sales. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that this means that more people are getting the drugs they need to survive.

It's a win-win situation.

Tony DeStefano

Arlington, Va.

Moral laws promote proper behavior

I disagree with the letter "Let others live as they see fit" (Nov. 25). I think it is simplistic to argue that "such practices" [abortion and homosexuality] do not affect you and consequently are not your business.

Since I have not been directly affected by child abuse, robbery, arson, drug abuse or even telemarketing recently, does that mean I have no right to an opinion about how the law should regulate these behaviors? Laws encourage certain behavior: That is why we have laws in society.

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