Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 12, 2005

Don't use slots to revive ailing racing industry

While I am a strong supporter of legalized slot machines in Maryland, I continue to be mystified by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s persistent efforts to use their proceeds in a futile attempt to save a dying industry while lining the pockets of the Magna Entertainment Corp. and private citizens within the racing industry with millions of dollars of state-sponsored revenue ("House seeks plan to aid horse racing without slots," Sept. 9).

We live in a capitalist society, in which businesses should be allowed to rise and fall based on their ability to serve the consuming public, not based on their ability to extort government subsidies - which never successfully save employment opportunities in the long term anyway.

Slot-machine licenses should be awarded in an open bidding process that would maximize the state's return and be subject to re-bidding after a specified period of time.

The price that the governor is willing to pay to retain the Preakness Stakes is just too high.

And should the loss of this historic event ultimately become a reality, I think we'll find that the great state of Maryland will find a way to survive and prosper without it.

Robert West

Ellicott City

The taxpayers owe nothing to racing

I don't care what alternative plans horse racing industry lobbyists come up with, state taxpayers owe the industry nothing ("House seeks plan to aid horse racing without slots," Sept. 9).

As I see it, the choice for our state legislators is between providing slots for the benefit of this industry or subsidizing it directly.

If this or any other private industry cannot survive on its own, it is not the responsibility of the government or the state's taxpayers to bail them out.

We have legitimate needs for our state revenue, like public education and aid for the truly impoverished among us.

When anyone involved with the race track industry becomes truly impoverished, they too will deserve public assistance.

Until then, forget it.

Kenneth A. Stevens

Savage

SAT scores show schools still fail poor

The article on SAT scores in Baltimore was certainly an indictment of the city school board ("Average SAT scores drop slightly in city," Sept. 6).

Not one of the neighborhood high schools had average scores at 400 or above.

How can we ever expect these kids to be successful in our competitive world if they achieve at such low levels?

Furthermore, how can we believe claims from the city administration and the school board that progress is being made in these schools?

There is clearly a double standard in this city. The poor and mostly black kids who attend these neighborhood schools have been written off.

We wonder why so many of these kids drop out of school and drift into a world of anti- social behavior.

I think that the answer is clear.

Braxton Andrews

Baltimore

Repeal law limiting price-cutting on gas

I was shocked and appalled to learn of the so-called "Sam's Club Law" in Jay Hancock's column "Curran wants it both ways on gasoline prices" (Sept. 7).

Apparently, under this law, which was promoted by former Gov. Parris N. Glendening, the state comptroller is required to prevent gasoline station owners from competitively lowering gasoline prices. This is outrageous.

The governor and all legislators who wish to be re-elected should make repeal of this law a priority.

Frederick J. Koenig

Aberdeen

Nature now vents fossil-fuel fury

Here's an ironic feedback loop: Burning fossil fuels, particularly in our cars, adds to global warming, which raises ocean temperatures, which leads to more frequent and severe hurricanes, which wipe out coastal and off-shore refineries, which leads to scarcity of fuels, which leads to fuel conservation, which helps reduce global warming.

Too bad we didn't work on fuel conservation before Mother Nature vented her fury on the poor citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Elizabeth Fixsen

Savage

The buck must stop on president's desk

With all due respect to Steve Chapman, most Americans did not want to parachute "the president and his entourage" into New Orleans ("Finger-pointing should wait until the facts are in," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 7).

We simply wanted effective leadership to provide timely aid for fellow citizens who were suffering.

We did not want someone to stage a photo-op and deliver one-liners five days after the storm hit, all the while holding up relief efforts because of his presence.

I understand the need for conservatives to justify their support for the man they elected into office, partly on the basis of his ability to keep us safe.

But when gross mismanagement results in loss of life on this scale, officials need to be held accountable.

The president is the commander-in-chief of the military and the head of the federal bureaucracy.

Since both were mismanaged in the case of the Americans stranded in New Orleans, a great deal of accountability rests on his shoulders.

No amount of spin will change that fact.

James Fetters

Columbia

Shame on Democrats for misusing tragedy

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