Topgolf: We dare you.

A conscientious reader of our website has sent us the following article from the Wednesday, February 13, 2019 edition of the Baltimore Sun.  It’s by Daniel Parsons, an English teacher at Frederick Douglass High School and it is essential reading for anyone who cares about the City and its people.  If you have trouble reading the version that you can see below, even after clicking on it to make it larger, click here to go to the article on the Sun’s website.

Please read it.

Here’s the thing…  We dare you.  We dare you to read Mr. Parson’s column in

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No-brainer.

Some choices are difficult for our legislature to make. This one is a no-brainer.

On one hand we have two counties ¬– Prince George’s and Baltimore City – that are desperately short of the funding they need to give their children even a minimum quality education. Of the 24 counties in the state, including Baltimore City, their public education systems are ranked 23rd and 24th respectively.

These counties need money, but from where? Well, the voters of Maryland approved casinos to generate additional funding for education. See the pie chart below.

As you can see, in Fiscal 2018 alone, casino

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The pie chart.

Given a choice between investing in horse racing or our children’s education, which one do you pick?

I don’t know about you, but I like pie. Cherry pie, in particular, apple and key lime, but also pizza and charts.

Hey. As you may know, we did some work recently having to do with the MGM National Harbor casino.

“So what? …I’m hungry and I thought this post had something to do with pie.”

It does. …So we were responding to inquiries from good people who live in Prince George’s County who have some serious questions and, in the process

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The MGM National Harbor has withdrawn its application!

Hey, everybody.  Please click on the link below to see the letter from MGM attorneys Shipley & Horne that officially withdraws MGM’s application for a cigar lounge, that is, for an exemption to the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act.

We don’t know why, exactly, the application has been withdrawn and they can always re-apply.*  But for now, “Well done!” to everyone who had the common sense, good will and determination to oppose it.

MGM Application Withdrawn – Jan 28 2019

*According to Prince George’s County code, Section 27-300, MGM and its subsidiaries must wait two years before re-applying.

 

-Local

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Congratulations, MGM! It’s a bar. No smoking allowed.

This article discusses two arguments related to the licensed sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages that should cause the Prince George’s County Zoning Hearing Examiner to disapprove the application by MGM for an exemption to the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act. This article does not address additional, compelling arguments related to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke to MGM National Harbor employees and customers.

Prince George’s County zoning regulations do, in fact, permit the establishment of a Retail Tobacco Business where smoking is permitted. “The Devil,” as the old adage goes, “is in the details.” In this case, the application

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What’s wrong with this picture?

The picture we’re talking about is the floor plan you see below. It’s MGM’s plan for a tobacco store/cigar lounge to be opened inside the MGM National Harbor complex along the “Retail Promenade,” very near the main entrance to the casino.

This floor plan is important because MGM is asking Prince George’s County to approve what amounts to an exemption to the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act that prohibits smoking inside commercial facilities. Notice that MGM is asking a county to exempt it from a state law.

MGM tried to get approval for an exemption in early 2016 as part

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The Topgolf/Horseshoe Casino’s Homeless Family

As you may have heard, Horseshoe Casino revenues have been declining while revenues at Maryland’s other 5 casinos continue to grow.  This is not what former Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake and current Mayor Catherine Pugh had hoped and anticipated.

So why is the Horseshoe under-performing?  Why hasn’t it been the development magnet city residents were promised?  No doubt competition from Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County and even the MGM National Harbor in Prince George’s County is a factor.  But one of the other reasons is its location.  It’s in Baltimore City which is a problem in general

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MGM Cigar Lounge Site and Floor Plans

For those of you following the application that the MGM National Harbor has made for an exemption from the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act, here are a link to the full site plan – that is, to the interior location of the proposed MGM Retail Tobacco Store (the “Cigar Lounge”) – with two closeup screenshots…

MGM Retail Tobacco Store – Aug 16 2018 – Site Plan

First closeup from the site plan…

Second closeup…

And here is the floor plan for the cigar lounge…

The site plan is from the Prince George’s County Zoning Hearing Examiner’s file “SE 4807 ZHE

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Topgolf? Really?

Depending upon the source, approximately two-thirds of Baltimore’s families are struggling financially – in neighborhoods that need all the help they can get.

The last thing Baltimore needs is a high-end, expensive, glitzy combination of high-tech driving range and bar, most of whose customers and many of its employees will come from outside the city, just to save the Horseshoe Casino and make more money for a handful of developers – with the help of the Baltimore Development Corporation.  (“Baltimore Development Corporation.”  Now there’s an oxymoron if ever there was one.)

The Horseshoe was supposed to anchor a new

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Unfortunately, …

..the next time you go to the MGM National Harbor casino, your money won’t be the only thing you’ll be risking.

Sure, we all appreciate the taxes the MGM National Harbor casino is paying to help fund improvements to public education in Prince George’s County.  Why wouldn’t we?  But that money doesn’t give them the right or permission to do whatever they please, with reckless disregard for public safety.

There was the electrocution of a now “permanently and totally disabled” 6 year old Zynae Green.  How did that happen?  Apparently, because MGM may have pressured and/or paid an

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