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Doomed to Repeat It
September 27, 2005
by Jack Lynch
There is hardly a Republican Delegate in Frederick County who is not a slots apologist. Even the so-called ‘good’ ones, who normally support progressive legislation for citizens like health insurance that is affordable and generally available, are beholden to this Governor’s dirty little secret. Having just blown a healthy surplus, it’s hard to understand the cry that slots are necessary so that no racehorse is left behind! But never fear, the good grace of public works have already moved forward with a plan to redevelop Pimlico into townhouses and condos, and I suppose that the poor folks around the place can move on out with housing vouchers.
Back when slots ruled Southern Maryland, and were ruled by a ‘syndicate’ of gun toting mobsters who bought politicians, and honest business folk were intimidated into hosting slot machines, or else offered a raw, violent education in mob power, the corruption extended to the level of County Commissioners in Anne Arundel. Fat and happy with the graft and electoral lock of a corrupt machine, they ignored the problems of growth and infrastructure: inadequate: zoning, water, sewage, school support, roads…and no long range planning.
But Frederick does not lack for Commissioner opposition to slots. Never a truer word has been spoken by Mr. Cady than when he related his own childhood miseries under the economic costs to his family because of slots. There was hardly a dry eye in jaded old Winchester Hall when he was done. Hats off to Cady on this issue!
Others are outraged that we should pay the price while suburban Washington counties would glean the larger profits.
Citizens are frosted that the moral decline should be so readily apparent and the ignorance of the past so brazen and proud. But like alcohol abuse and divorce, you’ve got to have lived through a couple of these things to understand them fully.
This is why liberals fear the pressed shirt and smooth certainty of Mr. Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court, his children probably wake up to plain Cheerios or oatmeal, never Cocca Puffs or Pop-tarts, or the common can of Coca Cola. Milton’s Satan was a fallen angel, and in the New Testament, man is corrupt. The road to Damascus cannot be skipped on the way to elite schools and appointments to judgeships.
Alas, those who would lead us are immune to the burden of history, by age or glint of politics. And while they may indeed be partly too young to recognize the dangers, others support slots because they see it as a personally non-threatening form of minor recreation. The aged see tax benefits, not selling the farm or eviscerating children and family to escape debts to gaming losses.
Our real problem in attempting to zone slots out of Frederick County, are the political tendencies to refer to a sort of noblesse oblige to their honorable compatriots in power in our local municipalities. As with failures bemoaned in planning and meeting Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance requirements, the status of slots could be sold off to those who’ve acquired public offices on a hundred votes.
Like Captain Renault in Casablanca, we’re shocked to see that gambling is going on here, and when we shut the place down, we hush as they bring us our winnings.
The politically correct are quick to call me on this one, purporting that calling those evacuated from Gulf Shores ‘refugees’ plays as if they were disenfranchised. But as a writer, I deal in metaphor, and truly, in that regards I find the evacuees to be refugees, long fled from the childless land, and clinging to that last desperate rock, their voice endlessly talking…
For left behind is a place and time that will never be the same, even if they escape the flooded homes and moments of doubt and uncertainty, the sense of hopelessness, they are forever marked and renewed in new refuges, and potentially given those American second acts and not just one Hamletesque soliloquy.
Those with exacting natures might do well to turn to the Dictionary definition of the word refugee, which quotes that while ‘especially’ those fleeing from oppression, invasion or persecution: that it also applies to those who flee to find protection, refuge or shelter in the first instance. Thus, I submit, hurricane refugees is correct, when we speak of victims of natural disaster who find themselves flung across our country today. Washington Post, take note. A call to Ben Bradley may be in order.
Farmers and the Bay
There is a renewed relationship of real importance between the folks that support the water quality efforts of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Farm Bureau, given a study that pinpoints the poor economic state of farming as a detriment to the further efforts to clean up the Bay. While nutrient reduction efforts have progressed, too many farms are dying out and being sold off due to land prices and development pressures.
You can read the Bay Foundation's recent report on the matter Here.
Our local leaders in citizen efforts, the Friends of Frederick County, have invited Will Baker, President and CEO of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to visit Frederick County and address these issues in an informal setting at historic Penterra Mansion, on the Monocacy River near Creagerstown, on Thursday, October 20th. For more info on attending this event, Email.