Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 21, 2008

Franchot is right to reject slots

It is ridiculous for Gov. Martin O'Malley to say that Comptroller Peter Franchot's stance on slots is hypocritical ("Rhetoric heating in slots battle," April 17).

It's true that as a state delegate, Mr. Franchot did support slots. But then he studied the issue.

That's when he discovered that the gambling industry and slots proponents were not being truthful about the revenue and job figures.

He learned that the social costs from slot machine gambling would outweigh the revenues they would generate and that the sheer number of Marylanders who would be devastated by slots just wasn't worth the price.

So one wonders why the governor is trying to hurt the people of Maryland to pander to the gambling industry.

Three cheers for Mr. Franchot for researching the issue and changing his mind.

Barbara Knickelbein, Glen Burnie

The writer is co-chairwoman of NoCasiNo Maryland.

Slots wrong fix for budget woes

Reporters Laura Smitherman and Bradley Olson's article "Rhetoric heating in slots battle" (April 17) accurately described the political rhetoric concerning slots. And that's what it is - rhetoric.

Bringing slots to Maryland will not do much to improve Maryland's budget problems.

Gambling revenues are declining in Las Vegas casinos, in Atlantic City, N.J., and throughout the U.S.

At the same time, Maryland's economy is unstable, the 2007 special session imposed new taxes on us and Marylanders face foreclosures, escalating energy bills, rising food costs, etc.

The bottom line is: Maryland citizens' money is running out.

In the 2007 special session, the governor and Maryland legislature neglected their duty to be good stewards of our hard-earned money.

It's time for the governor and legislature to take seriously their responsibility to improve the fiscal performance of state agencies by addressing the state auditors' reports that document serious infractions of state laws and regulations governing state accounting practices and clearly show waste and misuse of millions of dollars of taxpayers money.

Dick Johnson, Catonsville

Banning cell phones makes schools safer

One way to ease the potential for school violence would be to prohibit cell phones on school grounds ("Attack highlights 'chronic problem,'" April 13).

That way, no one would be tempted to pull some foolish prank simply to get his or her cell phone video on YouTube.

Drug-dealing on school grounds might also be hampered by a ban on cell phones.

Ben Cohen, Owings Mills

Epidemic of STDs no laughing matter

Apparently, sending out hoax letters on city letterhead that say that the recipient has a sexually transmitted disease is someone's idea of a joke ("Police investigate false STD notification letters," April 17).

STDs are no laughing matter.

More than 70 million Americans are infected with some form of a sexually transmitted infection. These include diseases such as AIDS, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, HPV and more.

This "joke" has been covered widely by the local media, and Baltimore-area young people have heard about it.

Parents should use this situation as a teaching opportunity to talk to their kids about sex and STDs.

They need to know more about STDs, how they are contracted and how they can be avoided.

Teaching young people risk-avoidance offers a positive message that gives them hope and options for a healthy future.

Dr. Gary Rose, Austin, Texas

The writer is president and CEO of the Medical Institute.

Talking to Hamas is a positive step

Michael B. Kraft's criticism of former President Jimmy Carter's plans to meet with Hamas is founded on wishful thinking or worse ("Carter lifts terrorists, undercuts peace," Commentary, April 17).

I abhor Hamas' decision to target innocent civilians and fire rockets on Israeli towns.

However, pigeonholing Hamas will not undo the fact that its leaders were elected by a clear majority of Palestinians and that they have the resources to fight.

And if peace doesn't come through talks, how will it come about?

Evidently, the current Israeli strategy is to inflict pain on Palestinians - civilians and fighters alike - until they say "uncle."

While Hamas targets towns and kills a few civilians a year, Israel claims to target only "terrorists" with powerful rockets but kills hundreds of civilians annually.

Meanwhile, Israelis build illegal settlements on the Palestinians' land.

Peace must come through talks with the enemy and through compromise with the enemy.

Neither Israel nor Palestine is going away, no matter how much some people on both sides of the conflict fantasize that this could happen.

Charlie Cooper, Baltimore

Defying Israel lobby will promote peace

Former President Jimmy Carter should be applauded for meeting with the leader of Hamas ("Carter lifts terrorists, undercuts peace," Commentary, April 17).

Finally, an American president shows the strength and fortitude to break free from the iron grip the Israel lobby has on our government and make a real step toward an honest and fair dialogue about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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