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With Harbor Point, losing faith in Baltimore

ConservationStephanie Rawlings-BlakeGrand Prix of Baltimore

Nearly 13 years ago, I moved to Baltimore as a volunteer to work with the underserved population. At that time, I was idealistically dedicated to being part of the city and working with its neediest people. Since then, the city government has offered taxpayer-financed subsidies to a number of corporations from stadiums to hotels and casinos, Harbor East, the Baltimore Grand Prix, and now Harbor Point. All were done under the auspices of improving life for city residents, and some have proven more financially successful than others.

I join many of the wary and skeptical citizens in regard to the funding of the Harbor Point TIF. I am tired of the promise of jobs with such projects. Construction, of course, is only temporary work, and many of the white collar workers employed by Exelon Energy and other proposed corporations will live in the city probably only briefly — until they have families — and most will probably commute in from the suburbs. The working class employed by Harbor Point companies will get to work via shoddy and unreliable public transportation from low-income areas while the city boasts of its gleaming commuter buses to assist downtown workers.

No longer the hopeful visionary I was in my early 20s, I am now a mother of soon-to-be-three children in what feels like a crumbling city paying enormous property taxes for lagging services. I continue to believe in city life, but I feel that the Baltimore City Council and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have lost sight of those living here. Citizens have patiently had our tax dollars invested for decades now, and it is time for the city to invest back in its people — by putting more police officers on the beat so that people feel safer, repairing aging water mains and sewage lines to prevent more expensive damage, hiring more qualified teachers and providing better resources for city schools and restoring and promoting existing neighborhoods that make Baltimore "charming." Those are simply a few of the city's vast needs.

I once shuddered at the thought of moving to suburbia, but as I see Baltimore continuously misusing its citizens' hard-earned resources under the auspices of "job creation," I am slowly losing faith, along with many others, in a city that once expected us to "Believe."

Kate Berliner, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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