The head of the Fells Prospect Community Association, Victor Corbin, wrote me to add his voice to a chorus of complaints about St. Patrick's Daycelebrations. As we've reported, police wrongly allowed people to drink in O'Donnell Square in Canton, creating a mess akin to the Preakness infield.
That has sparked a debate of civic responsibility versus police enforcement. The cops have stepped up and taken blame for failing to shut down the outdoor party, but also warned that we don't live in a police state, and it shouldn't be a cop's job to ensure societal norms are upheld each time we leave our houses.
Here's Corbin's take:
St Patrick's Day was totally out of control this year. Fell's Point was a mess--lack of police, over-serving of customers, trash, public urination, public intoxication, and drunk driving.
Fells Prospect Community Association has received numerous complaints from area residents about St. Patrick's Day 2012. Where was enforcement? I myself witnessed numerous people walking in Upper Fell's Point drinking with open containers. People were clearly being over-served by area bartenders and taking to S. Broadway and surrounding streets thoroughly intoxicated.
The scariest part of this weekend was how many people were drinking and driving. Where were the inspectors? We were also told there were no police in Fell's Point on overtime, it was just a normal deployment. Where were they?
Knowing that the weather forecast for Saturday was to above normal and that the holiday was on a weekend, why wasn't there better planning? It was a perfect storm for larger then expected crowds. There is no excuse for people to publicly urinate and vomit along the homes of area residents. Bars were playing loud music both in Canton and Fell's Point that was heard for blocks. I also witness valet parking attendants parking cars in the community and at Perkins Homes instead of parking them in a rented lot or garage as regulated by Baltimore City.
Many of us have moved in the these communities to enjoy the local bars and restaurants yet still have the feeling of a residential community. We are happy to share our neighborhoods with others and support our local businesses; however we need balance and we need the city to enforce rules and regulations while keeping the peace. The city needs to meet with area communities and businesses to make sure this does not happen again. Maybe we need to have a special events fee on area bars and establishments to cover the cost that the city can clearly not afford.
As one of our residents stated on Facebook "Can someone please explain the logic that because you live in the city, you give up the right to not have your property vandalized or otherwise destroyed? If you live by a bar, anywhere, you need to expect a level of noise and stupid drunkards occasionally but that does not automatically negate your right to live peacefully. The attitude shown by some is just as disgusting as those vandalizing, defecating and urinating on our properties. "
" Part of the problem with Baltimore (and I can say this as a resident who has lived in this city since birth) is the ridiculous amount of entitlement some people have and total lack of respect. Few other cities in this country have a population with as much disrespect for people and the properties around them than this one. "
The holiday is over and we can easily point fingers at those who are to blame--Baltimore City, the Baltimore City Police Department, Baltimore City Liquor Board enforcement team and area Bars and establishments as well as some of their patrons. However, let's plan for next year. Let's Hope the city of Baltimore will do a better job since St. Patrick's Day again falls on a weekend in 2013.