Gambling flacks have lots of cash, but can't vote

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The last Governor's Gambling Task Force Hearing is over! When I got home, I made sure homework was done, loaded the dishwasher, ensured teeth were brushed, prayers said and watched the news. I'm exhausted.

As my boys headed to bed, my 12-year-old said, "Mom, I'm really proud of you. What you're doing is great!"

I fear I haven't done enough.

One of the proponents inferred that casinos would bring salvation to the single, black mother who would be on welfare without a job that only the casinos can provide. If only he'd stepped out into the hallway and met Sandra, the lady waiting for the hearing to conclude, so she could clean. Sandra is a single, black mom raising a 10-year-old son. At times she's needed public assistance, but this woman is a shining example of strength and courage.

She told me that she didn't want casinos in Maryland. She also said that there are plenty of jobs around, but some people are just too lazy to work, and the casinos can't fix that. God love her, she's right.

The casino interests brought a cavalcade of entertainment from New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Florida, Mississippi, Iowa, Indiana, etc. As I contemplate how much money it's costing the casinos to woo Maryland, I realize that I have something none of them have -- a Maryland voter registration card.

Kimberly S. Roman

Glen Burnie

Casinos would kill a grand sport

A report by a committee of five former chairmen of the Chamber of Commerce has recommended casino gambling for Maryland.

Acknowledging that such gambling might well deal a death blow to Maryland's horse racing industry, the report concludes that "the state has no obligation to save a dying industry." Here are men who have achieved stature working for monopolistic, competition-free businesses deciding that the racing industry is dying.

On the contrary, racing in Maryland is making a remarkable recovery from wounds inflicted by the state's multitude of quick-buck gaming ventures. It continues to generate more than a billion dollars annually to the economy. Its peripheral employment extends from breeding farms to admission gates, parking lots to tack shops, betting windows to hay and straw farms. And horse racing is the best policed sport in the world. It is entertainment where you can have a financial interest in the performance of the equine athlete of your choice.

Those who must roll the dice or pull the arm of a slot machine may do so in another state. Let's hope that Maryland is never so weak that it must turn to casino gam

bling as a salvation.

Lester

Round Bay

Crofton: Dumping ground of the county

Del. Marsha Perry is rightly "outraged" at the Maryland Department of Environment's withdrawal of its proposal to require liners for landfills.

Residents of Crofton-Odenton and neighboring environs, however, should understand that their basic problem goes much deeper (pardon the pun). The County Council member from West County has historically supported extension of the life of the Millersville landfill and his predecessor and their County Board of Appeals appointees have given us the new Crofton Rubble Landfill.

This latest move merely enhances West County's reputation as the dumping ground for Anne Arundel County.

Bill D. Burlison

Odenton

In and out of the barrel

I'm writing in reference to Gregory Kane's column in the Oct. 14 edition. The column was about affirmative action as discussed by students in Anne Arundel County.

NTC Mr. Kane stated that white males are against affirmative action because they "don't want to take their turn in the barrel."

Mr. Kane, I'm a 48-year-old white male and I have been in the "barrel" for the past 30 years to assure people like you an equal opportunity in the work force. I was more than willing to do my part to be sure that people of "our generation" competed in a field of fair play, but I will not be "tried" and "sentenced" for transgressions that my great-grandfather may have committed against your African-American grandfather.

You stated at the end of your piece that there was just "one problem:" black students were invited to the meeting "but opted not to show." Maybe it's this lack of initiative that will prevent them from succeeding in the working world and not whites holding them back.

-! By the way, I'm coming out of

the barrel.

Ray Finecey

Eldersburg

Cocaine vs. 'Queen Nicotina'

The news media recently featured articles that described how the United States is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in a losing battle to eliminate the cultivation of cocaine in Bolivia. It is ironic that we are wasting taxpayer's money to combat a product that kills approximately 560 Americans each year while we simultaneously spend taxpayer's money to support tobacco growth in this country, despite the fact that tobacco kills more than 400,000 Americans each year.

In the articles, the similarity of the Bolivian coca industry's actions and terminology with that of our U.S. tobacco industry was striking. For example, the Bolivians call coca a "vegetable," whereas we call tobacco an "agriculture crop." Bolivians refer to coca as "the sacred leaf," whereas tobacco is called "the golden leaf" in this country. Bolivians celebrate coca "at a concert in Cochabamba." We celebrate tobacco in Charles County by naming the fair queen, "Queen Nicotina."

OC Since we are dealing with deadly addictive drugs in both cases,

shouldn't both be treated the same way? Why attempt to eliminate one while supporting the other?

John H. O'Hara

Bowie

The writer is president of Maryland Group Against Smokers' Pollution.

Why support Farrakhan? A people's future at stake

Having the opportunity to give my reflection of the Million Man March, I feel it necessary to answer lingering questions relevant to the march.

Why now? Because the African-American community is in deep moral, economic and political malaise. Teen pregnancies and street-corner drug dealing are at all-time highs in cities across America. Both of these abnormalities are a direct reflection of the lack of a dominant and positive male presence.

Social Services reports and criminal records clearly indicate that when our youth come in contact with either agency, they often are from homes headed by a single female with income below the poverty level. It is past time for our delinquent brothers to return atoned and help our women carry the load.

African-Americans continue to spend 95 percent of their $440 million purchasing power with people outside their community. This is insane. No society can survive with this type of deficit.

Politically, African-Americans are not as sophisticated with their vote as we should be. One political party takes us for granted and the other could care less. Malcolm X stated in his "Ballot or the Bullet" speech in 1964, "that white voters are often split 50-50 and that we [African-Americans] can be the deciding factor in local, state and federal elections." We still have not heard his message. And many speakers at this march reminded us of this shortcoming.

Why men? Because no race can survive where men are neglectful of their duty to themselves, their family, their community and their God.

Why Farrakhan? Because he made the call. Most of our so-called political, spiritual and economic leaders are aware of the plight of the African-American male. But none of them made the call and some lack the credibility to request it.

Minister Louis Farrakhan, with his faults, has never been identified as a sell-out, a man who could be bought or as someone who would bow to forces outside the black community. Minister Farrakhan has been consistent in addressing the ills of the black community and has set examples for a cure.

We were given marching orders to return to our families and communities as full partners in the rebirth and renewal of our people.

With that call, I urge all black men of Anne Arundel County to join any organization dedicated to the uplifting of our people. We must heed the call of Martin, Malcolm, Mandela and Farrakhan because our time may be running out.

Lewis Bracy

Annapolis

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