The Baltimore Sun

What a waste we taxpaying Marylanders have endured over the past five years as so much time, energy and money has been wasted on slots - time that could have been spent studying and creating a more equitable tax structure and analyzing state spending and possible budget reductions so that the government could more efficiently provide the essential services the public requires ("Slots will go to voters," Oct. 19).

So the beat goes on but, thankfully, the drumbeat may finally stop when the slots issue goes to referendum.

I believe slots will be soundly defeated by Marylanders who care about everyone and recognize the fraud slots would perpetrate upon them as they enrich the rich at the expense of the poor without any net benefit to the average citizen.

Maybe then the politicians will listen to those of us constituents who say, "No slots, not now, not ever."

Gary Gamber


Views of the voters ignored on tax hike

During this wholly unnecessary special session, Gov. Martin O'Malley and his cronies decided that it is best to let the voters of Maryland decide the slots issue ("Slots will go to voters," Nov. 19).

However, when the calls to our delegates and senators overwhelmingly went against the governor's entire tax package, the voters' wishes were generally ignored.

As usual, it seems like most of the politicians involved were talking out of both sides of their mouths - again.

Clay Seeley


What's so unfair about flat tax rate?

Perhaps The Sun could give us a definition of what is "fair" when it comes to state income taxes ("What fairness requires," editorial, Nov. 16).

As it stands now, a taxpayer who has a taxable income 10 times that of another taxpayer pays 10 times more in state income tax.

What is unfair about that?

Barbara Gilmour


This year O'Malley plays part of Grinch

The unprecedented $1.3 billion tax increase so carelessly passed by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly in Annapolis has to be compared to the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas ("Slots will go to voters," Nov. 19).

To pass such uncalled-for legislation just before the holidays only proves that the tax-and-spend liberal Democrats in Annapolis do not care about the welfare and well-being of Maryland citizens.

There was absolutely no need for this tax increase. The Democrats could easily have cut some of the liberal giveaway welfare programs instead of burdening the citizens with these painful tax hikes.

A good response to this problem would be to sell one's home in Maryland and move out of this tax-unfriendly state to a neighboring state that cares about its citizens.

Al Eisner


Bromwell betrayed the public's trust

I hope Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is wrong.

In The Sun's article on the sentencing of former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, Mr. Miller is quoted as saying, "He never embarrassed the General Assembly" ("Bromwell sentenced to 7 years," Nov. 17).

If a powerful legislator enriching himself while betraying the public trust is not enough to embarrass the General Assembly, what would embarrass our lawmakers?

Janet Edelman


Limit the number of parents in prison

No child should have more than one parent in prison at a time.

So perhaps former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell can now work for the greater good by backing legislation that will ensure that only one parent of any Maryland child can be incarcerated at any time ("Bromwell sentenced to 7 years," Nov. 17).

A companion bill should provide better waiting and visiting areas in Maryland prisons for children with incarcerated parents.

Patricia Helfrich


Plug in to save gas, dollars at the pump

In his column "The irresistible mirage of energy independence" (Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 16), Steve Chapman suggested that the goal of energy independence is, at best, an illusion.

His focus was on the proposed use of alternative fuels such as ethanol and liquefied coal as replacements for the use of oil in our transportation fleet.

Instead of focusing on replacing one liquid fuel with another, a better approach would be to change the way we power our vehicles.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles, which run on dedicated electric charge for a distance of 20 miles to 40 miles before using their gasoline-powered engine, offer an alternative that can reduce the amount of imported oil we use for transportation.

Such cars, which can be charged from a home electricity socket, would enable a driver to make short commutes or trips around town using only electric power.

Instead of cursing the ever-rising price at the pump, let's plug in our cars at home.

Fred Hoover


The writer is a former director of the Maryland Energy Administration who is now an energy lobbyist.

Driver had decades to learn language

How can it be that, according to The Sun's article "10-year sentence in death of boy, 3" (Nov. 17), 41-year-old Lazara Arellano de Hogue has lived in this country for "about 25 years" and "had a valid driver's license and is a legal resident of the United States" yet had to use a translator for her dealings with the police, the court system and even to express an apology to the family of the child she horrifically dragged to its death?

Pardon me if I come off sounding like a xenophobe, but isn't a quarter-century in this country long enough to get a grip on the language here?

And don't honking horns, grinding metal, screeching wheels, and frantic screams from witnesses universally add up to the word "Stop"?

Courtney McGee


Licenses for illegals ignore other laws

I am at a loss as to why there is even a discussion over driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, let alone a continuing debate over that issue ("License plan for immigrants fails," Nov. 15).

Why would any rational, law-abiding politician propose issuing a driver's license to an illegal immigrant - a license that is essentially a permit to drive in a place where that person is not permitted to be?

This would give a whole new meaning to the term "looking the other way." And it would make a mockery of the justice system.

If legislators are sympathetic to the plight of illegal immigrants, then they should follow established procedures to implement a change in their legal status.

Disregarding our existing laws serves only to undermine the legal system and the order of our society.

Scott Richardson


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