The Baltimore Sun

Consider the impact of a mall-side casino

Whether or not one is a supporter of slots, there are a few very important issues that need to be addressed before the Anne Arundel County government paves the way for a new mega-casino complex near Arundel Mills mall ("A spin of the wheel," editorial, Feb. 8).

The mall is in a mixed-use neighborhood, and thousands of residents live adjacent to it. Area residents are working families who are concerned with the increase in both traffic and crime that would accompany the proposed $1 billion development.

Our region is already choking on traffic, and the relocation of 22,000 jobs to Fort Meade in the military base realignment and closure process will only exacerbate the problem. If the county changes zoning laws to allow the casino before evaluating its impact on traffic, it would be giving away its most important leverage with the developer and the state to try to mitigate such impacts.

When the mall was developed, agreements were made between the mall, local developers and the Anne Arundel County to ensure that quality-of-life and environmental concerns were addressed. One of them was a conservation easement on about 51 acres of open space owned by the mall and adjacent to its buildings. Before any casino is approved, I ask for a specific commitment from County Executive John R. Leopold that he will maintain the integrity of that agreement and not permit development of any property under the county's protection.

If our elected officials decide to give away this very valuable easement they acquired when they gave the mall's owner the right to build, then shame on them.

Robert Annicelli, Hanover

Extend the window for lawsuits over abuse

The entire Maryland legislature should get behind the bill sponsored by state Sen. Delores G. Kelley that would extend the state's statute of limitations for civil lawsuits for childhood sexual abuse. It is legislation whose time has come.

More than that, the three Catholic dioceses whose boundaries lie within Maryland should see beyond their narrow interest in protecting themselves and get behind this bill 100 percent.

They should be encouraging parishioners to send postcards to their legislators supporting this bill instead of twisting the arms of Catholic legislators and using the media to circulate disinformation against the proposed legislation.

Failing to do everything possible to give all childhood victims of sexual abuse full access to justice is not only a failure in justice and charity but also a sin against the Holy Spirit.

Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, New Castle, Del.

The writer is a member of Child Victims Voice and an advocate for abuse victims in the Catholic Church.

Use stimulus money to help unclog I-70

Please, please use some of Maryland's share of the stimulus bill to at least start to clear the constricted artery of Interstate 70 between Route 29 and the Route 40/Marriottsville Road interchange in Howard County ("Md. ready to use all stimulus aid," Feb. 12).

Going from three lanes of I-70 down to two in each direction causes major stop-and-go backups every morning and evening rush hours, especially for eastbound traffic in the morning.

Bill Butler, Sykesville

Floppy-eared spaniel clearly squeaky clean

What a great column by Jean Marbella ("You won't catch 4-legged jocks in drug lies," Feb. 12).

Had I been judging in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, I might have overlooked Stump. But now that I've learned more about this 10-year-old that came out of retirement to win the championship, I'm a big fan.

He's a sad-eyed, floppy-eared, laid-back spaniel who will never have to apologize for using steroids to achieve his "top dog" award.

Velva Grebe, Towson

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