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The Baltimore Sun

Slots don't belong in state constitution

The discussion about slots in Maryland seems to focus only on whether one is for or against them. Little is being said about how the question is presented to voters - as a referendum on a constitutional amendment ("Slots ballot language ordered revised," Sept. 11).

A constitution is a sacred document and should be amended only for the most serious reasons. Is no one concerned that Maryland will have in its constitution wording specifying the number of slot machines and precise locations? If our state constitution is debased in this manner, what will the next amendment be?

The matter of slots is one for the legislature. If that august assembly wants a referendum, let it be one that simply asks the voters if they want a slots law passed.

I think people should be outraged that the legislature's inability to deal with this issue could result in the trivialization of our constitution over something such as slot machines.

Kathleen F. Randall, Sparks

Use of travel funds appears dishonest

There is a word for Gov. Sarah Palin's claiming a $60-a-day state travel allowance from the state of Alaska for more than 300 days while she was living at home ("Palin's expenses under scrutiny," Sept. 10). That word is "dishonest."

Robert A. Ritchie, Timonium

Caffeinated drinks proved to be safe

The recent article on energy drinks raised several points that should be clarified ("Energy-drink dangers," Sept. 8).

It is important to point out that most mainstream energy drinks contain less caffeine than coffee, and can be a part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle when consumed sensibly.

Caffeine is one of the most thoroughly tested ingredients in the food supply and has been deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and more than 140 countries. .

While all of our industry's beverages can be part of a healthy diet, we realize that schools are a unique environment in which parents want greater control. So our member companies have agreed not to sell beverages marketed as energy drinks in schools.

Ellen Valentino, Annapolis

The writer is executive vice president of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association.

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