The Baltimore Sun

Partisan politics has ruined racing

If I were a civics professor, I could not find a better example of partisan politics for my students than the slots/race track debacle ("Md. tracks on auction block," March 6).

In all four years of his one-term tenure, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican governor facing a Democratic-controlled legislature, fought to get a slots bill passed to help bail an anemic Maryland thoroughbred industry and to fund the Thornton education law.

In each legislative session he hit a Democratic leadership stonewall and slots went nowhere. Now that the Democrats are in full power, a slots bill has passed. But slots have gone nowhere and may never go anywhere, a victim of the economic tsunami that has swept our nation. And Maryland racing is no longer anemic; it is all but dead.

We will likely and deservedly lose our fabled Preakness to an out-of-town bidder when Magna Entertainment Corp.'s assets go to auction, costing Maryland significant jobs and revenue at a time we can least afford such losses.

All this is totally the result of Maryland partisan politics at its purest.

Gary Gamber, Reisterstown

Slots finally passed as a revenue stream

Was saving the Preakness Stakes really a "key reason for legalizing slots in Maryland," as the editorial "Preakness worries" (March 8) claimed?

I thought that we now have slots because state government outspent its receipts and needed revenue from other sources to close the gap.

Jim Astrachan, Baltimore

Nation can't afford billions in earmarks

After reading Paul West's article about earmarks for Maryland in the $410 billion spending measure now before Congress, I have to ask, "What is it about 'We don't have the money' that our representatives do not seem to understand" ("Earmarked for Maryland," March 5)?

Shame on all of them for spending our children's money in an effort to buy their own re-election.

I had hoped one of our senators or representatives would have the courage to lead in the effort to rein in spending.

But obviously that's not the case.

Larry Koch, Reisterstown

What was done in nation's name?

Efforts are under way in Congress to review Bush administration activities. The usual suspects are trading their usual buzzwords, characterizing any investigation as either a partisan witch hunt or a fearless search for personal accountability. Regrettably, I think both sides in this debate miss the point.

I do not care about former President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney personally - or about Donald H. Rumsfeld or Paul Wolfowitz or the actions of any other specific individual.

We, the people, demand to know what was done in our name - period.

Let the chips fall where they may.

John Kelly, Parkville

Settlement freeze is key to peace

I would like to thank The Baltimore Sun for the editorial "More of the same" (March 3).

Just as some people believe it is important for Hamas to recognize Israel and renounce violence, I think it is equally important that Israel cease expanding its settlements. In fact, I think freezing settlements is more important to a long-term, viable peace.

We all saw the chaotic and venomously emotional scenes that transpired a few years ago when the Israeli government ejected settlers from Gaza; the only way such scenes can be avoided in the future is to cease the construction of settlements.

I hope the Obama administration will press the Israelis on this issue.

Nonso Umunna, Baltimore

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