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Letters to the editor

October 25, 2008

League urges voters to vote 'no' on slots



To the editor:

The League of Women Voters of Washington County urges voters to vote no on the question of slots.

The league's local chapter opposes the current referendum on slot machines on two grounds. The league believes that the state constitution should be clear, concise and confined to fundamentals. This proposed constitutional amendment is not a fundamental aspect of governance and therefore should not be included in our state constitution.

Secondly we oppose slots gambling as a way to fund state programs, based on our fiscal policy positions. We believe that the following principles should govern our revenue practices:

1. Equity/ Fairness. We support the ability-to-pay principle defined as a progressive tax, meaning a graduated tax that will collect a greater percentage of money from those with higher incomes than from those with lower incomes.

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Research shows that gambling losses are often incurred by low- and middle- income individuals who can least afford this activity.

2. Compatibility with the state's social and environmental policies. The state's policies and tax structures should work toward the same end, not at cross purposes.

Promoting an activity that might lead to financial ruin, the destruction of families and addictive behavior is in conflict with other programs that promote financial well-being, strong families and healthy lifestyles.

With respect to the wording of the ballot question, we do indeed find it misleading to voters.

Technically, the Secretary of State used only the four page legislation requiring a constitutional amendment authorizing slots to write the question.

He did not include, nor was he required to include, any of the very pertinent information from the 141- page companion legislation which, among other things, details how slots revenue will be allocated. Voters are being asked to support or oppose a constitutional amendment to authorize a certain number of slot machines, without a full understanding of where the money will go.

In addition to the education fund, slots proceeds will go to minority business investment, lottery operating costs, racetrack renewal, local governments where slot machines are located and the racing purses.

We urge you to vote no to Question No. 2 on slot machines.

Monda Sagalkin
League of Women Voters of Washington County




It's time to retire Roscoe Bartlett



To the editor:

Washington County has a rare opportunity in the November election. By voting Democratic, we can rejoin the state of Maryland.

And by voting for Jennifer Dougherty for U.S. Congress and retiring Roscoe Bartlett, we have the chance to actually participate in the U.S. government instead of just opposing everything.

As a red county in a blue state, Washington County has no sway in Annapolis. Instead of universities, we get prisons. Instead of improved highways, we get a suggestion to put tollbooths on our section of Interstate 81. The blue counties get new roads and stadiums. Democrats control our state, so our continued Republican votes get us nowhere.

Rep. Bartlett, our millionaire congressman, laughs all the way to the bank as he continually votes against the services we value most, such as public schools, police protection and unemployment insurance, while he supports tax cuts for wealthy people such as himself.

It is another example of how we have consistently voted against our own best interests.

Despite the recent influx of upscale suburbanites, most Washington County families are not wealthy. We need to stop voting to help the rich and start helping ourselves.

A Washington County vote for McCain-Palin will not count nationally. Maryland's electoral votes will all go to Obama-Biden, regardless of how we vote.

And a vote for Bartlett will likewise go wasted if our congressman continues his 91 percent record of toeing the GOP line.

Democrats will likely control the House for the rest of Bartlett's life, so our choice is whether we want to keep sending him back to collect dust on the sidelines, or whether we'd like to have a voice in actually running the country. Jennifer Dougherty will be that voice for us.

Washington County has been in the shadows long enough. A Democratic vote on Nov. 4 will help put us back in the spotlight.

Mike McGough
Hagerstown




Time to retire those gas guzzlers for good



To the editor:

With the price of motor fuel dropping faster than a presidential approval rating, have you noticed all of the rather large, gas guzzling vehicles emerging out of the garages, parking lots, back yards and driveways to infest our roads once again?

Was the $4-a-gallon clue somehow misunderstood or overlooked? Is it back to the business of conspicuous consumption as usual?

Now would be a real good time to dump that pretty, but fuel-inefficient, thing back on the belchflame motor coach company from whence it came. Because the next time we get gouged by big "rip-off" oil, the price of fuel may not come back down.

Wouldn't it be a crying shame to get stuck with a quaint, car show relic or a once-a-month, downtown Friday night cruiser?

And whatcha gonna do if motor fuel becomes unavailable at any price? Use that thing as a lawn ornament, or maybe a seagull sanctuary? How about a detached, up-scale condo rental? Oh my! Good luck with that.

James Henry
Hagerstown

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