April 12, 2009

State could scare private buyers away

Gov. Martin O'Malley upping the ante by introducing legislation that would grant the state the authority to acquire Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park under eminent domain could discourage private buyers concerned about the state's power to seize the properties ("A bid to save tracks, race," April 8).

For years, naysayers have been preaching pessimism and gloom about the horse racing industry, and Mr. O'Malley's actions only provide them with more ammunition.

Mr. O'Malley should focus on finding energetic and innovative private buyers dedicated to re-energizing the racetracks by offering financial incentives such as tax credits and grants.

David Placher, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Gaming Association.

Time to pull plug on racing industry

Adrift in a sea of seemingly insurmountable issues - health care, joblessness, murder, a crumbling infrastructure, education - what does Gov. Martin O'Malley see as the one issue requiring "emergency" legislation?

Well, of course, that would be asserting eminent domain to save a horse race ("Magna protests track bill," April 9).

Won't anyone take this dying industry off life support, let it die a natural death and rest in peace?

Where is Dr. Kevorkian when you need him?

Dave Reich, Perry Hall

State can't stop global warming

Once again The Baltimore Sun congratulates Gov. Martin O'Malley for supporting a bill that seeks to arbitrarily reduce Maryland greenhouse gases by 25 percent by the year 2020 ("Turning green," editorial, April 5).

I suppose that sounds like friendly legislation to anyone who believes emission limits on the people of Maryland will make any difference in the alleged climate change of planet Earth. But in fact, legislation like this simply asks the people of Maryland to take on all the pain for absolutely no gain.

Even if you believe in the idea of global warming, it is obviously a global issue, not a local issue.

What matters are not just the emissions from Maryland but emissions worldwide. And, according to data from the Global Carbon Project, from 2000 to 2007, total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide increased 26 percent.

During that period, China's carbon emissions increased 98 percent, India's 3 percent and Russia's 10 percent. U.S. emissions increased only 3 percent.

Because of such emission increases in the developing world, unilateral actions by the United States will have little or no affect on the global climate.

And actions taken by the state would have absolutely no affect.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the economic consequences of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which could be large and very negative.

My suggestion is that whenever someone claims that Maryland must take action with respect to climate change, the common sense questions that the people of Maryland should ask themselves are: "How much will these actions by Maryland change the temperature on the Earth?" and "What cost, in treasure and jobs, would be acceptable for that achievement - and who, exactly, is being asked to pay?"

Joel Rosenberg, Ellicott City

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