Letters To The Editor


January 30, 2007

Subsidizing racing makes little sense

I shook my head in disbelief as I read The Sun's article regarding the cancellation of the Pimlico Special and the reaction of the Maryland Jockey Club, which places the blame squarely on the absence of slots ("Pimlico Special halted, raising stakes on slots," Jan. 26).

It seems obvious to me that the main reason behind the decreasing purse sizes for races such as this one is the inability of the industry to draw a substantial crowd to this increasingly irrelevant spectator sport.

This is Economics 101. Businesses of all shapes and sizes fail every day because they do not provide their patrons with a necessary, entertaining or useful product.

Should we install slots in these enterprises as well?

For years the horse racing industry has suffered because of a steadily declining fan base.

The fact that these few remaining enthusiasts seek to preserve their hobby with slots - which would add to the burdens of crime, addiction and poverty on those on the lower end of the economic scale - is utterly selfish and disgusting.

G. Dan Martin


Would profits enrich state or racetracks?

The Sun's article "Pimlico Special halted, raising stakes on slots" (Jan. 26) quotes state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller as saying, about gambling at racetracks, "The purses can benefit, but mostly the state benefits, because the profits don't go to the owners, the profits go to the state."

But later the article notes that William Rickman, a track operator pushing for slots in Maryland, told senators he is making millions in profits from his slots license in Delaware.

I know that the issues surrounding slots are confusing, but now I am more confused - trying to decipher the truth in this story.

David Gosey


Treat slots, subsidies as separate issues

The Sun's article "Pimlico Special halted, raising stakes on slots" (Jan. 26) suggested that the recent cancellation of a race at Pimlico Race Course increased pressure to grant slots legal status in Maryland.

I suggest that there are two questions that should be answered separately: Should Maryland subsidize horse racing? And should Maryland allow privately owned gambling?

If the legislature votes to subsidize horse racing from general state revenues, it could reconsider the question from year to year.

But if the legislature adopts privatized gambling as a revenue source to subsidize racing, it probably will be unable to reverse its decision in later years.

The expense of setting up gambling facilities would dictate that their substantial revenues go to ensure that a compliant and supportive legislature lets them continue.

Luke Marbury


Anti-war protest dangerous nostalgia

Saturday's protest was yet another failed attempt to resurrect the anti-war protests of the 1960s in an effort to equate the war in Iraq with the Vietnam War ("Baltimore voices join call to end war in Iraq," Jan. 28).

Despite the collaboration of accommodating national press coverage and celebrity anti-war activists, these demonstrations yield little more than comedic, nostalgic recreations of past protests and a pointless exercise in freedom of speech.

But our enemies seize upon such events to fuel their anti-American propaganda.

John W. Bordley


War foes belonged on the front page

I question the motive behind relegating The Sun's article on the anti-war demonstration in Washington to the Maryland section of the paper ("Baltimore voices join call to end war in Iraq," Jan. 28).

The event was clearly national in purpose and in make-up, with people from as far away as Illinois and Florida protesting, and it should have been reported on the front page.

The article also neglected to mention the broader scope of the protest.

Beyond the current war in Iraq, many protesters were sounding the alarm against what appear to be pending U.S. acts of war against Iran.

John Bailey


Wrong tactics doom our efforts in Iraq

We're fighting the war in Iraq the wrong way ("Case for Iraq conflict looms over Iran plan," Jan. 28).

The tactics we used in the Vietnam War failed, and in Iraq we are fighting the same way: Our troops are kept in enclaves and, when insurgents appear somewhere, go eliminate them and return, only to have the insurgents come back again.

This kind of warfare could go on for decades.

We won both world wars by occupying territory and disarming anyone found in the occupied zone.

Pouring more troops and money into Iraq will never solve the problem as long as we keep fighting the war the way we are.

Jerry Vragel

Glen Arm

Could white leaders push white mayor?

Watching the news recently, I chanced upon Warren A. Brown explaining his plan to make sure a white candidate does not become the next mayor of Baltimore ("For Brown, majority rule means a black mayor," Jan. 24).

If white people made comments like this, they would be eviscerated by the press, castigated by the NAACP and soundly criticized by clergy and politician alike.

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