12:30 PM EST, February 18, 2013
The recent article regarding city finances ("Trash fee, job cuts urged," Feb. 12) cited no evidence of the primary cause of the population loss of Baltimore City. The mayor assumes that high property taxes are the reason. I disagree. I believe drug-fed crime is the primary cause.
Can't someone do a simple poll to find out why people have left Baltimore? If I am right, the answer is not to cut city services to lower property taxes but to decriminalize drugs and establish more health clinics for drug rehabilitation.
A police crackdown on drug dealing is not the answer because as drugs are made scarce, the prices go up and junkies become strung out and more violent. I believe there is an inverse correlation between drug availability and drug-related homicides. As drug supply goes down, murders go up. Drugs don't scare people from the city, crime and murders do.
As a city homeowner, I would be glad to continue paying the current property tax if the money went to drug decriminalization and rehab clinics. I think that would make Baltimore much more attractive. But if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake assigns the wrong causes to the problems, she will only make the problems worse. The Sun editorial on the subject ("Mayor takes a risk," Feb. 12) hedged its bets.
Richard J. Ochs, Baltimore
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