A recent column written in part by the president of the Johns Hopkins University urged lawmakers to back a massive school renovation and repair program in Baltimore City ("New schools, new city," March 20). But given past history, it's fair to ask whether the kind of public-private partnerships cited in the commentary will truly benefit the most needy residents of the East Baltimore communities adjacent to this powerful institution.
The schools in East Baltimore lead the city in low educational performance. In 20 years, will the proposal for a public-private partnership to create a new school run by the Johns Hopkins University benefit local residents, or will it only benefit the growing community of Johns Hopkins employees there?
We would like to see how these partnerships have and will benefit the communities surrounding the institution because the data paint a disturbing picture.
Where are the 8,000 promised permanent jobs in this redevelopment project? What mechanisms are in place to prevent the original residents from being priced out of this new community? How has the displacement of former and remaining Middle East residents affected their health? Whose children will be allowed to attend the new school?
Those negotiating for public dollars have disregarded the community and evaded these questions for far too long. It is time for answers and for actions that bring equitable benefits to all of East Baltimore's residents.
Donald Gresham, Marisela Gomez, Lawrence Brown, Baltimore
The writers are affiliated with the Community Housing and Relocation Working Group in East Baltimore.