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Letters to the editor

November 14, 2003

Gambling is not the answer


To the editor:

Are there no limits to the exploits to which lawmakers will stoop in order to fill the treasury? The Maryland legislature is debating the possibility of filling the treasury through gambling. Do Marylanders really believe that this is honorable? Lawmakers are not talking about bingo. What they are discussing is much more serious and has long-lasting consequences.

Common sense tells me that where there is gambling on any grand scale there will be organized crime. Further, money will come from all directions to influence police, elected officials, and lawmakers, and it will also be used to influence the outcome of elections. Sleaze of the highest order will be commonplace.

My understanding is that compulsive gambling is a disease and therefore we can expect that there will be problems that arise that will need professional intervention. This will come at some expense.

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There is also a moral issue to gambling which many people don't care to discuss today. Folks, we are not speaking here about bingo at the church, or a tip jar at the local fire company, or even a raffle ticket at your service club, about which I have my own personal feelings. What we are addressing is full-fledged, out- and-out gambling and I for one think it abominable that government has regressed to such a low level.

This issue, being fueled by a Republican governor, is interesting. The Republican Party has smugly carried the banner of pro-family and pro-righteousness. I am reminded of the verse that tells us, "by their fruits, you shall know them."

Joan Powell
Hagerstown




Plan helps builders, not the people


To the editor:

The Jefferson County Public Service District has hired a company called Pentree Engineers to determine the potential needs for additional public sewer facilities to serve Jefferson County for the future.

Pentree is recommending a new, $25 million sewer plant on the Shenandoah River along with miles of sewer pipe in far-flung areas and green spaces. The Jefferson PSD says it will submit this plan to the state for approval, whether the public supports it or not.

This is the fourth Pentree attempt to push major infrastructure to serve sprawling new development at great expense to rate-paying households. Like the first three Pentree strikes, this Pentree sewer plan misses the ball completely.

The Journal recently reported that Pentree's president said publicly that the City of Charles Town supports this proposed sewer. Pentree's claims are unfounded and completely untrue. Charles Town's mayor, city manager, council president and other councilmembers (including me) have already voiced concern and opposition to the Pentree sewer plan.

The Charles Town utility board has raised concerns about the Pentree plan, and is now scrutinizing the plan for legal, financial, technical and policy issues. As the state has recognized, the Pentree plan could impact the Charles Town system and harm its citizens.

Public sewers can be a benefit to the community. But the Pentree plan puts the developers' interest ahead of the public interest, and asks the rate-payers to foot the bill for more sprawl. The Pentree plan has struck out. We need to field a new team.

Matt Ward
Charles Town, W.Va.

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