Two weeks ago I noted that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's advocacy on behalf of the farm bill working its way through Congress proved that she was just more of the same of the failed leadership that Baltimore has been subjected to over the years.
The latest stunt, as reported by WBAL-TV, re-emphasizes that point:
"Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is looking for city residents to give input on how they think the city can best address its $20 million budget shortfall for the 2015 fiscal year.
"The mayor and several local businesses announced on Monday the launch of Balance Baltimore, an initiative that allows city dwellers to submit an online application with their ideas for balancing the city budget.
"Residents can go to BaltimoreCity.gov/balancedbudget to do so."
So instead of making the tough choices that their constituents elected them to make, Mayor Rawlings-Blake and the City Council have decided to punt the ball back to the citizens of Baltimore and try to get them to make the decisions for them from a menu of pre-determined choices made by the city. When you think of examples as to what leadership is, this is basically the opposite of that.
A cynical man would assume that the mayor and City Council were either trying to a) grease some skids and avoid some blame for necessary budgetary decisions, or b) begin to condition residents and business of the need for another tax hike in the near future.
If the mayor and City Council really wanted to show leadership, they would do the three basic things they need to do in order to close the gap: cut discretionary spending, eliminate waste and redundancy in government, and lower taxes to attract new residents and business development to the city. But, failing that, they decided to trot out a gimmicky website instead.
Stunts like this are further proof that Baltimore is in desperate need of adult leadership.
--Brian Griffiths is a co-founder and contributing editor for Red Maryland, which has strived to be the premier blog and radio network of conservative and Republican politics and ideas in the free state since 2007. He is chairman of the Maryland Young Republicans. and has worked on and advised numerous local, state and federal campaigns. His Red Maryland posts appear here regularly.