As a Baltimorean overburdened by local taxes, I'm angered the Baltimore City Council will afflict yet another upon us ("Bottle tax gains in council," June 12). It will take more than a bottle tax to fix the Baltimore schools, and I would suggest the council examine Raymond Daniel Burke's op-ed ("City or oasis on the water?" June 12) which succinctly describes the problems our city faces.

Although I'm not from the city, I know enough about Baltimore's past to understand everything changed in the mid 1960s, culminating with the 1968 riots. This was the watershed that "ultimately helped turn America's sixth-largest city into a shadow of itself," as Mr. Burke puts it. Today, any urban historian can see what remains of a once great metropolis.

Sure, we have a beautiful waterfront, and Sailabration will show the world what a fabulous place Baltimore is. However, the bottle tax will be meaningless unless the city addresses the core issues of its decline, namely pervasive racism, a failed war on drugs, an apathetic citizenry and Baltimore's public schools that most families reject if they can.

Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said, as she voted "yes" on the bottle tax, that "this is the first time in my entire time in the City Council … I've had a chance to be part of a big plan for our schools." That left me incredulous. Ms. Clarke has been on the council for a very long time, and if this was the "first time" she has been able to do something for Baltimore schools, something is dreadfully wrong.

Roz Heid, Baltimore