Racing leaders are unfair to minoritiesI find...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Racing leaders are unfair to minorities

I find it particularly appalling to see that the Maryland Jockey Club, whic owns Pimlico as well as Laurel Race Course, cannot come up with funding to support the "Preakness Parade."

It is rather ironic that the year after they attempted to dismiss black marching units, that money becomes the issue for cancellation. The community, state and particularly the black community should recognize the injustice that this industry is perpetrating on the community.

Reportedly, racing is the third largest industry in the state. And equally as important it receives more tax incentives and indirect financing than small businesses (particularly black businesses). This us due to the favorable handouts given by our elected officials in Annapolis.

While the track management continues to receive the largest salaries and hire additional vice presidents and other management personnel with large salaries, they are still howling about a depressed industry and losing money.

Further, the backstretch employees earn less than minimum wage for their labor and live in less than desirable conditions, with drug and alcohol abuse being rampant. And, again, the majority of these workers are minority individuals . . .

They are the same community which the Maryland Jockey Club and the Preakness Committee tried to exclude from last year's parade. And perhaps most important, the same community that pays the bills at Pimlico and Laurel, at the betting windows.

Wake up Baltimore and see the injustices practiced by those who are only interested in getting a dollar, no matter who it hurts.

Andre White

Baltimore

Wrong lending

Maryland's many banks tout their mortgage lending availability. Unfortunately, however, many of the loans for home purchases are going to finance acquisition of rental properties.

The banking industry is a powerful force in the development and progress of urban areas. They, alone, have total control over the future of the city of Baltimore.

It is no secret to those of us who still live in the city that renters, for the most part, practice a benign neglect of the properties they occupy. Some go so far as to outright abuse and destroy those properties.

Down the road, a few years later, the landlord recognizes the state of his mortgage-financed property is beyond salvation, so he lets the mortgage payment lapse and requires the lending institutions to foreclose.

The process is a loss for everyone (depositors and stockholders of the banks, creation of new ghetto areas, loss of tax base) except the landlord who has moved on the greener pastures with "newer" properties to rent and repeat the cycle.

Unless the banks begin a practice of monitoring closely who is asking for the mortgage and insisting that those mortgages go only to home buyers, the "inner city" now extending its borders will eventually reach the county edges and Baltimore City will go the way of Camden, N.J., and other cities like it.

The cities lose, the depositors lose, as do the stockholders of the banks.

The city bureaucracy, too, must do a better job of monitoring property conversions from single to multiple dwelling units.

If present laws are inadequate to cover the number of people living in a dwelling unit, then the City Council should look to new and tougher legislation.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Asinine

An April 28 article noted that Mayor Kurt Schmoke "pushed for legislation that would have permitted a needle-exchange program in Baltimore. He hoped the program might help Baltimore reduce the spread of AIDS -- as a similar program did in New Haven, Conn."

Yet, in that same issue of the paper it is noted that "city officials" have launched a legal challenge to try and close The Rubber Tree, a condom shop in Fells Point. And even though Circuit Court Judge Andre Davis called the zoning decision "irrational in the extreme," and overturned it, apparently these "city officials" have so much invested in this decision that they have appealed it to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

But would not promotion of condom use also help stem the spread of AIDS?

It would seem to be time for Mayor Schmoke to talk to his "city officials" and have them drop their short-sighted, asinine attempt to close The Rubber Tree.

Rai Douglas

Glen Burnie

By any other name

"Euphemism" is a smooth sort of word derived from two ancient Greek words meaning "good sounding."

"Ethnic cleansing" is a euphemism imported from Serbia and Bosnia suggesting scrubbing up some grubby foreign neighbors. What "ethnic cleansing" really means, of course, is killing a whole nation.

Writers, commentators, media people generally: I urge you to disavow the contemporary word doctors who foist such euphemisms on us. Let's start by scrapping "ethnic cleansing" and just call it murder.

Frederick C. Ruof

Baltimore

Consequences

I can't help but wonder how the members of the grand jury who indicted Police Officer Edward Gorwell would have reacted, had they been confronted with a similar situation.

It is easy to second-guess someone else, but in a confrontation where a mistake could mean your life or that of the criminal, I, for one, would certainly opt for the mistake in favor of the criminal.

While I sympathize with any parent who has a child tragically taken from them, one must not lose sight of the fact that had Simmont Thomas not been riding in a stolen car, he would still be here today.

Would it be too much to hope for that this tragedy -- and other recent shootings by police officers in fulfilling their duties -- would make potential lawbreakers take heed and rethink the possible consequences of their deeds?

nne T. Freeman

Baltimore

Quality, not quantity

It saddens me to read such ignorance as the letter April 29 headlined "Cat breeders promote feline welfare" and highlighted with a drawing of a contented cat.

Apparently hobby breeders of cats, the Hawkinses complain that the Humane Society's request of a voluntary ban on pet breeding could endanger its receiving donations from cat breeders.

If the Humane Society takes an anti-breeding stand, the Hawkins claim, money from cat breeder clubs will no longer be offered for spay-neuter programs.

It seems to me that without people actively increasing the animal population, there would be no need for spay-neuter programs.

In addition, every cat bred deprives a shelter cat of a potential home. Perhaps breeders should spend a week working in the euthanasia room at a shelter. Perhaps then they would realize the full impact of their hobby.

To claim that a breeder could promote animal welfare is ridiculous.

Too many animals and too few good homes do not promote animal welfare.

Anyone wanting to buy a purebred (read in-bred) animal can adopt from a shelter or a specific breed rescue group. Approximately 25 percent of shelter animals are purebred.

Breeding any pure-breed animal, regardless of species -- cat, dog, ferret, pot-bellied pig -- further weakens that breed. An extremely dedicated and conscientious breeder may continue some positive traits, but the negative and recessive traits reproduce also, instead of dying out through natural selection.

If you really love animals, please show it with quality love, not quantity.

D. R. ProWom

Halethorpe

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