www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-racing-letter-20130905,0,2515715.story

baltimoresun.com

Stop catering to Grand Prix

3:45 PM EDT, September 5, 2013

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IndyCar racing reminds me of the prettiest girl in school. She's the one who set the standard for "cool" and the one who everyone dreamed of dating.

We want IndyCar in Charm City because we think it will put us in the cool group with the other popular cities ("Race to remove Grand Prix barriers," Sept. 3). In an attempt to win the prettiest girl's affection, I can remember carrying extra books, wearing ridiculous things like parachute pants and admitting to watching "Melrose Place," much like I put up with closed roads, barriers keeping me in my neighborhood, incredibly loud noises and extra traffic in the heart of downtown on a long weekend, all with the intention of grabbing her attention and hoping that maybe she'll love me back.

Having just had my 20-year school reunion, I have been in a reflective mood. I realized that my self-esteem was almost lost when I put myself out for the girl who saw me as a free dinner, a TV to watch shows that made me dumber, and a ride to wherever she wanted to go. My city is coming dangerously close to going "in the red" and losing its self-esteem, too. My wife and I were walking in the neighborhood during the race, but the fences made it impossible for us to watch the race from their own streets. Our leaders have given the prom queen free access to Baltimore, our resources and our cops, and instead of a thank-you, we have to pay to watch the inconvenience. That is the final straw. We have now reached the point where the prom queen is asking us to give her and her date a ride to make-out point.

With the sacrifices the citizens of this great city are making to accommodate this business (yes, it's a business), we do not have to add insult to injury. The cost of the ticket is not the issue. It's a moral issue, an issue of respect to the taxpayers. We are being treated as if IndyCar is doing us a favor instead of the other way around.

I understand we need to advertise our city. But as I walked the empty stores of the harbor and saw the empty seats to watch the race, it occurred to me that we need to ask the right date to the prom. Not just the prettiest one. Shame on our leaders for allowing us to get treated this way by an ungrateful guest.

Michael Melocowsky, Baltimore