Letters to the Editor - April 24

April 24, 2012

Too much change, not enough hope

To the editor:

It’s official; President Obama’s mantra and vision for “hope” and “change” is 50 percent accurate. Considering that meteorologists (previously known as weathermen) are generally thought of as being the only occupation where you can be less than 50 percent accurate and still keep your job, our hats are off to you, Mr. President!

Despite “hope” falling by the wayside, the amount of “change,” which has been drastic, should make up for the loss of hope.

 According to a new survey published by the Pew Research Center, the weak economy has made living with mom and dad a necessity. The survey indicates that 61 percent of young adults aged 25 to 34 say they know someone who has moved back in with their parents because of economic conditions.

 And from a pure fiscal standpoint, we recently learned from the U.S. Budget Office that Mr. Obama has now spent more of our money in his three years than George W. Bush did in his eight years!

Want to review more changes? How about the doubling of gasoline prices since Obama took office? And, have you noticed all the businesses in our area that have closed their doors, some having existed for decades — to include furniture stores, book chains, restaurants and on and on. The list seems endless.

Oh, and how about the shortage of crucial prescription drugs and anesthesia? That’s a good change, ay. But the most atrocious change has to be making sure that inexpensive birth control is covered by expensive health insurance — even if it means impinging on religious freedoms, while making our brave men and women in uniform pay much more for their health care during a time of war.

But, as we all know, at least we have been told repeatedly, “it is all Bush’s fault!” Wake up, America!

Jim Rosko

A historic stadium could be renovated

To the editor:

The two most revered stadiums in baseball are Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field, built in 1912 and 1914, respectively. Hagerstown’s 1930-vintage Municipal Stadium has some of the same historic charm, but we would first have to recognize it and build upon it, instead of trashing it.

Ripken Design’s predictable, made-to-order $25,000 study says historic Municipal Stadium isn’t worth saving. That’s nonsense, along with the fanciful economic impact projections of downtown riches from a proposed new $30 million ballpark sitting empty more than half the year.

The Washington Nationals say historic Municipal Stadium needs an upgraded field and clubhouse to meet major league affiliation standards, so let’s do it. But while we’re at it, let’s upgrade the grandstand and concession areas, add more parking and highlight the historic ambiance itself. Would $10 million do the job? $15 million?

Upgrading historic Municipal Stadium needs to be contingent on the Hagerstown Suns signing a long-term agreement and paying serious rent for our taxpayer-owned stadium.

At a time when tax funding for truly critical services is being cut, our elected officials should be especially prudent. Spending tens of millions on ballparks instead of bridges is questionable wisdom, at best.

Our mayor and economic development manager have become sales agents for a new stadium as a savior for a pretty healthy and attractive downtown that doesn’t need saving, beyond the return of a generally stronger economy. And they need to drop the comparisons to Greenville, S.C., a market three times the size of Hagerstown and community with far greater resources.

After spending the winter trying to leave town, it is no mystery why the Suns opened this season to the league’s smallest crowds. But it’s not too late to win us back. And we shouldn’t need to spend $30 million for the privilege. 

Mike McGough

Stop with the ballpark giveaways

To the editor:

I look at the Houston Astrodome, the eighth wonder of the world, sitting abandoned and so dilapidated that the owners require a visitor to sign a liability waiver before entering. I recall Shea Stadium overlooking the 1964 New York World’s Fair — both wonders of architecture delight. Shea, the stadium to end all stadiums, is now lost to history. I remember the Baltimore Colts sneaking out of town in the middle of the night.

Professional ball teams are private business with no allegiance to anyone but the holders of the cash. And the holders of the cash do not care about their fans or the impact on a community — only to their profit margin. I have always opposed public tax money paying for huge stadiums that are private property, and of late the playground for the rich. Anyone gone to a game in Baltimore or Washington lately? You better take your credit card because your wallet won’t hold enough cash. It is a travesty for community governments to make deals with ball club owners to spend millions on new stadiums at the expense of the taxpayer. They are private companies with private interests. If I wanted to open up a $100 million amusement park and subsequently charge admission would Hagerstown give me the money?

The beauty of the Suns stadium is the fact that it is community friendly — a small-town stadium for home-town fans. I don’t care what kind of bench I am sitting on, as I would rather sit on a wood or aluminum bench than pay $12 for a hotdog. I think the business of ball clubs’ blackmailing municipal governments into giving them something for nothing is a crying shame and this practice really needs to stop.

Christopher Breeze
Martinsburg, W.Va.

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