Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 31, 2007

Siren song of slots is only too familiar

The slots debate reminds me of the way many people wanted to get lower mortgage payments using variable-rate and interest-only loans ("Slots referendum call renews debate," Oct. 28).

They liked the idea of more money in their pockets. Did they research the negatives? Did they read the fine print? Apparently not.

They listened to the slick advertising and fell for mortgage brokers' schemes. And we can all now clearly see the devastating effects of such ill-considered decisions.

So does it really matter if a majority of Marylanders want slots, feel they would be good for our economy or like the idea of an apparently painless revenue source?

Are those the criteria our legislators should use to make a decision on slots? Of course not.

Instead, they need to research the negative social costs (which will eventually outweigh the revenue slots generate), educate their constituents and do what's right for the long-term health of our state - regardless of any pressure they may feel from a misguided governor.

This truly is a case of caveat emptor - let the buyer beware.

Just as in the subprime mortgage debacle, with slots, a few people will get rich, many will have their lives destroyed and eventually the economy will suffer.

Kim Roman

Glen Burnie

The writer is a co-chairwoman of NoCasiNo Maryland.

Slots a sucker's bet over the long term

What do gambling centers such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, N.J., Dover Downs, Del., and Detroit have in common? They're nice places to visit, but as Maryland citizens, most of us wouldn't want to live there.

I assume the elected officials in those areas legalized various forms of gambling because they lacked other ways to generate revenue. And what a shame that is considering gambling's obvious negative long-term consequences.

Yet according to The Sun's article "Counties association favors slots" (Oct. 26), "The Maryland Association of Counties offered qualified backing yesterday for Gov. Martin O'Malley's call to legalize slot machine gambling, saying it `could be an acceptable long-term state revenue source, were such a program responsibly crafted.'"

Apparently, Mayor Sheila Dixon and the Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO agree.

But what could be "acceptable" or "responsible" about a program that would benefit so few at the cost of many families, employers, taxpayers and insurers?

Has Maryland really become so desperate that we have to approve additional legalized gambling during the special session of the General Assembly?

No, we have not.

Avery Wright

Severna Park

Leaders must take control of spending

A recent letter writer wondered why "the nation's wealthiest state" would have to balance "its budget through gambling revenues" ("A prosperous state needn't rely on slots," Oct. 28).

The writer then asks if we are "a grown-up people willing to shoulder our responsibilities through the necessary level of taxation."

But let us remember that:

Maryland may be the nation's wealthiest state, but that that doesn't mean that all Marylanders are wealthy.

We don't mind shouldering our responsibilities as long as the members of the General Assembly and the governor shoulder theirs.

And that is not happening with their current tax-and-spend mentality.

Susan O'Connell

Baltimore

No need to impose new taxes and fees

The new taxes proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley are unnecessary ("Stakes high at session eve," Oct. 29).

Maryland is one of the richest states in the union; it has high tax rates, and we pay extremely high fees on all kinds of services in this state.

The state has plenty of revenue. The problem is that the current state government wants to spend more - a lot more.

But we need to hold the line on spending, and cut wasteful spending and programs that don't work but drain money from the state.

All these new taxes will do is drive people and businesses out of the state.

People, wake up - we don't need any new taxes or fees.

Patrick W. Feuerhardt

Baltimore

Parents have power to improve schools

As a teacher in a Baltimore County Title I school, I read with great interest and sadness about the maintenance issues at Woodlawn High School ("Parent decries school neglect," Oct. 22).

And the first thing that jumped out at me was the headline about a "parent" (singular) not "parents" (plural) fighting neglect of the school.

I applaud Miko Baldwin for her courage and selflessness in taking a day off work to volunteer at her child's school. If only more parents would follow her example.

With one phone call, Ms. Baldwin was able to restore hot water to a school where it had been out for more than two years.

Imagine what 100 interested parents could accomplish at Woodlawn and other struggling schools in Baltimore County and the city.

In defense of Woodlawn Principal Edward D. Weglein and the Baltimore County schools, they can't solve a problem if they are unaware that there is one. And here again, parents are the key.

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