Letters To The Editor


May 10, 2007

Lease at Pimlico saved state money

It is unbelievable what poppycock The Sun has written about the Maryland Racing Commission and its lease of space from Magna Entertainment Corp. ("Racing agency to leave Pimlico," May 5).

But as a former chairman and current member of the Maryland Racing Commission, I can say that it makes absolutely no difference to racing commission executive director Michael Hopkins or to anyone on the commission where the offices of the commission might be located.

And as Maryland Jockey Club president Lou Raffetto suggests, the stewards and veterinarians have occupied space at the track for years without a hint of conflict or impropriety.

The end result of terminating the commission's lease of office space at Pimlico Race Course will be that the people of Maryland will have to pay more money for space for the commission just because a couple of politicians wanted to take one parting shot at the Ehrlich administration.

What a joke.

Thomas F. McDonough


ICC busts the budget but won't cut carbon

It's astonishing that Gov. Martin O'Malley says he still plans to go ahead with construction of the Intercounty Connector ("ICC imperils green record," May 6).

This 18-mile highway would cost billions and provide very little congestion relief to commuters. And those who pay tolls on other Maryland highways and bridges would be helping to pay off the huge loans required for construction of this wasteful project.

Mr. O'Malley was quoted as saying that the ICC project was "in motion" when he took office.

But he has the power to cancel it, which he ought to do.

Otherwise, he cannot claim to be fiscally responsible or say with a straight face that he is doing everything possible to reduce Maryland's output of greenhouse gases.

Roger Plaut


Build better transit, not more highways

Let me get this straight: We're spending several billion taxpayer dollars to build yet another highway so we can sit in rush-hour gridlock burning what will likely be $5-a-gallon gas by the time the Intercounty Connector is built ("ICC imperils green record," May 6)?

Once again, our "leaders" in Annapolis are not leading us at all.

I recently worked on a project in which I had to gather information about German towns and landscapes in the mid-1970s.

Guess what? Their public transportation system was better 30 years ago than ours is today, and it's even better now.

What is wrong with the Maryland transportation team that its members can't wrap their brains around the fact that we need to pursue an effective public transportation system?

Steven Parke


Guard units needed to help here at home

I applaud Gov. Martin O'Malley's complaint about deployment of Maryland National Guardsmen to the Middle East ("Governor criticizes use of Maryland Guard," May 8).

State National Guard units can be federalized in times of national emergency, but the quagmire in Iraq is not a national emergency.

The deployment of guard units from around the country is serving as a kind of back-door draft, a means to get boots on the ground in Iraq without mobilizing the Selective Service and the dreaded draft boards.

We only need to look at the devastation in the wake of the tornado in Greensburg, Kan., to understand how Americans are being undermined by this deployment ("Kan. town's death toll rises to 9," May 8).

According to Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, rescue personnel and equipment were scarce as men and machines languished overseas.

It's time for Americans to demand that all guard units and equipment return home where they belong.

Rosalind Ellis


Spanish public TV an insult to majority

It was most disconcerting to learn that state-supported Maryland Public Television will soon be embarking on a new venture to implement a 24-hour Spanish-language television network ("MPT to add Spanish programs," May 2).

In a time when the state faces impending budget deficits and possible tax increases, the use of public funds to support what can only be described as exclusionary television programming is unconscionable and an insult to the vast majority of Marylanders.

In times of rising costs and structural deficits, it is incumbent on our elected officials to show fiscal restraint and thoroughly analyze how our tax dollars can be spent most cost-effectively to benefit the broadest segment of our citizenry.

We should also carefully evaluate whether the Spanish-only programming will promote the development of English-language skills and assimilation into our culture.

Could our tax dollars be better utilized for educational outreach programs that would appeal to a broader and more diverse audience?

Will other nationalities and ethnic groups feel slighted by the favoritism shown to the Hispanic community through state-sponsored Spanish-language public television?

These are questions to which we, as Maryland taxpayers, must demand answers from the General Assembly, the Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs and the management of Maryland Public Television.

Terry M. Klima

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