Letters To The Editor


October 07, 2004

Supporting slots is wrong way to save open space

"Hoping to win environmentalists' support" for slots, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. suggested that expanded gambling is the way to preserve Maryland's horse farms as open spaces ("Harnessing ecology to slots," Oct. 2).

Well, this environmentalist is not swayed.

This sounds like a far-fetched response to a letter Mr. Ehrlich received in September from the Partners for Open Space Coalition, which is composed of 16 major environmental groups. The letter called for Mr. Ehrlich to restore Program Open Space funding for land conservation and park improvement.

For 20 years, a dedicated real estate transfer tax has funded parks, conservation easements and state forests and natural areas, making them available for hunting, fishing, biking, bird-watching and youth recreation such as baseball fields.

Under Mr. Ehrlich, Program Open Space land acquisition has ground to a halt. And in fiscal year 2005, fully 93 percent of the "dedicated" transfer tax will be diverted to general funds.

Private horse farms are not for public use. Funding Program Open Space and land acquisition, not horse farms, is the way to give citizens and wildlife access to a natural environment.

Carol Schreter


The writer is a member of the conservation committee of the Baltimore Bird Club.

Skewed priorities won't help the bay

It is astonishing that the governor has finally found the solution to the decline of the bay: "No slots means trouble for the Chesapeake Bay, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. claimed" ("Harnessing ecology to slots," Oct. 2).

And all this time we thought the pollution was caused by agricultural runoff, power plant emissions and sewage overflows.

It seems that our governor is so indebted to the casino and horse racing business that he cannot get his priorities straight.

Henry Seim


Why help racing but not watermen?

What a contrast between Tom Horton's beautiful piece about Maryland watermen ("Crabber's craft links art to commerce," Oct. 1) and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s hypocritical visit to a horse farm to tout his slots program ("Harnessing ecology to slots," Oct. 2).

It's true that the horse racing industry has deep roots in Maryland's economy and history. But so does the state's seafood industry.

Why all the concern about the future of horse breeding and racing and hardly any about the dying fisheries? Which industry contributes more to our environment? Which really means more to most Marylanders?

There are surely more watermen who vote than there are race track owners and their employees.

Can the difference be measured in campaign contributions?

James Keat


Upbeat Edwards promises real change

What a scowling, fear-mongering and inhospitable presentation by Vice President Dick Cheney, as compared with Sen. John Edwards' upbeat, honest and eager demeanor ("Cheney, Edwards clash on Iraq war," Oct. 6).

Mr. Edwards has a solid command of the facts and knows how he and Sen. John Kerry can begin to get the country back on track.

Why would anyone want to continue with more of the same failures when we have such a wonderful opportunity to move forward in a new direction?

Linda Smathers


Edwards was sharp, Cheney frightening

Sen. John Edwards clearly won Tuesday's debate, with his sincerity, truthfulness and humanity ("Cheney, Edwards clash on Iraq war," Oct. 6).

Mr. Edwards' arguments were highly persuasive.

By contrast, Vice President Dick Cheney creeped me out, with his polished lies, vicious sarcasm and distorted accusations.

No wonder America's reputation in the world suffers while Mr. Cheney is vice president. That man is frightening.

Rose Rosetree

Sterling, Va.

It's time to scrap Selective Service

I remember the Vietnam War and dread seeing our country torn apart as it was then. In that war, the rich and privileged were spared from military service, and those with neither pull nor money were sent to fight and die.

Today's young people have no recollection of this. But our troops are spread thin, and there's talk of escalation of war into Iran and Syria.

So Americans should take these rumors that the draft may be revived seriously despite Tuesday's vote in Congress ("House votes lopsidedly against draft," Oct. 6).

The draft is unconstitutional based on the 13th Amendment, which outlaws involuntarily servitude. It is a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, since only men are "employed" under the draft.

The whole Selective Service System should be scrapped.

Rosalind Nester Ellis


Spreading rumors to hurt the president

Cynthia Tucker's column "With military stretched thin, draft rumors persist" (Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 4) attempted to perpetuate the Democratic Party's latest scare tactic -- the idea that President Bush has a secret plan to reinstitute the military draft if he is re-elected.

Since this rumor is obviously aimed at harming the president's chances in November, The Sun printed the column with no rebuttal in sight.

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