The MGM National Harbor has withdrawn its application!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We don’t know why, exactly, the application has been withdrawn and they can always re-apply.*  But for now, “Well done!”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MGM Application Withdrawn – Jan 28 2019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 Keep reading

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 Keep reading

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 Keep reading

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 Keep reading

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 Keep reading

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 Keep reading

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 Keep reading

Why shouldn’t we exempt MGM from the Clean Indoor Air Act?

At 9:30 AM on Wednesday, January 23, the Prince George’s County Zoning Hearing Examiner is having a hearing to determine whether or not the Zoning Examiner will recommend to the County Council that the MGM National Harbor should be allowed an exemption from state law that forbids smoking in casinos. Why should they be given an exemption?

MGM is going to argue that they qualify for the exemption because they’re going to carve out space in the casino – arguably some of the most value floor space in the state – for a “cigar lounge.” In the real world, a Keep reading

Speaking of Casinos

Speaking of casinos – referring to the previous post – we’ve been hearing from people in Prince George’s County for more than a year now about the MGM National Harbor.  And they aren’t contacting us to complain about the gambling.  Even people we’ve talked to who are opposed to legalized gambling in general are willing to consider it a necessary evil to help fund badly needed improvements to county schools.

While their specifics may vary, what the complaints we’ve been hearing have in common boils down to the extraordinarily and inappropriately special treatment the MGM has been getting, since its Keep reading

Pigtown’s Russell St. Homeless Shelter

A couple of months ago – before it occurred to us that we should have a website – one of us heard from a friend of his who knew somebody who lives in Baltimore in the neighborhood called “Pigtown” near the stadiums. We’ll call her “Mary,” because that’s actually her name.

Mary had heard about Local Initiatives and asked if we could do anything about the homeless people living under the Russell St. ramp.

Take a look at the Google Maps screenshot below. See Russell St.? There’s M&T Bank (Ravens) Stadium in the upper right corner. Note the Horseshoe Casino Keep reading