Learn from past mistakes: Ditch the Grand Prix

City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke was right on the mark when, in reference to the city administration's search for a new Indy Race management team, she observed, "We lost a lot of taxpayers' money (and) we need to make sure it's secure if they move forward" ("Officials mum on Grand Prix selection process," Jan. 10).

I'm one of those taxpayers; one of the Baltimoreans burdened with a usurious property tax rate double the rate in any other Maryland jurisdiction, and concerned at the opaqueness of the search now underway. The 2011 Indy race was dumped in our laps so quickly we hardly had time to blink before traffic was being rerouted and downtown streets being resurfaced in anticipation of what we were told would be a can't-lose for Baltimore, a sure draw of tourist dollars, a way to enhance the city's image as the place to be for major sporting events.

After enduring months of snarled traffic and media hype, the can't-lose turned into a can't-win with millions of dollars still owed and unlikely to be paid and not nearly the audience that had been forecast. Now, the city seems inclined to do the same thing all over again.

Yes, we're told, the administration is courting potential successors and, yes, we're moving forward. But we'd rather not talk about it. There's even an indication that one suitor is talking about running the race as a non-profit enterprise, a non-polluting Green Grand Prix. What utter nonsense. The apparent deadline to begin organizing a new race is March. I hope it passes without having been met relieving the taxpayers of another burden about which they weren't even consulted.

Alan Walden, Baltimore

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