The Baltimore Sun

Let off-duty police patrol near clubs

It is interesting that Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III was quoted as saying, "Issues of violence around the Club One establishment continue to be a concern for the Baltimore Police Department" ("Man, 29, charged after shooting outside Club One," Feb. 17).

One would think that the police commissioner would use all available tools and resources to stem these "issues of violence" not only in and around Club One but in the other areas of the city where there are clubs and establishments that serve liquor.

One of those tools is the use of uniformed police officers to patrol the areas around these clubs; however, the city's ability to do that is limited by the commissioner's orders.

It was the commissioner himself who, back in November, changed the policy that allowed Baltimore police officers to work in uniform during off-duty hours in and around such clubs ("Safety roles unclear at nightclub," Nov. 23). The money used to pay these officers came from the clubs themselves.

Given that the "issues of violence" and other nuisance problems such as traffic congestion, rowdy teenagers, loiterers, etc., appear to be growing at Club One as well as a few other establishments downtown, maybe it is time for the commissioner to rethink his policy change.

Robert F. Cherry Jr., Baltimore

The writer is president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3.

Snub of the mayor is a snub for city

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was disinvited from President Barack Obama's meeting with big-city mayors ("Dixon gets another slap," Feb. 20).

While one can appreciate Mr. Obama's sensitivity to Ms. Dixon's alleged legal violations, by excluding her, he excluded the voice of Baltimore.

Ms. Dixon has some remarkable accomplishments to her credit and ideas worthy of expansion. But she was not able to contribute to the discussion the president had with city mayors or to advocate for our needs.

I am very disappointed.

Benjamin Feldman, Baltimore

I am very disheartened that our mayor, Sheila Dixon, was disinvited from a White House meeting with President Barack Obama. After years of being investigated, Ms. Dixon has held to her convictions, been elected our mayor and continued to work hard and do an effective job for our city. She has never been convicted of a crime.

Now Ms. Dixon has been kept from airing Baltimore's problems to the president or lobbying for federal attention to Baltimore's needs.

We citizens, therefore, will also suffer from this obvious snub.

Jeri Delambo, Baltimore

New fee won't stop video gambling

How naive of The Baltimore Sun to suggest in its editorial "Ka-ching" (Feb. 22) that an annual $3,000 fee for each illegal video gambling machine would anger machine owners and even encourage them to go out of business.

The fee that City Councilman Robert W. Curran wants to charge is equal to just three weeks of average income for one such machine.

That's peanuts to some machine owners, many of whom are convicted felons and tax-evaders.

The editorial also failed to mention that the bill would allow an increase in the number of machines in bars and other businesses.

Why the City Council would want to encourage the growth of an illegal enterprise impervious to tax collectors is beyond me.

And while an increase in machines might allow the city to collect more fees, it would also increase competition with the legal slots parlor the city is so desperately trying to build downtown.

Joan Jacobson, Baltimore

The writer was the author of an Abell Foundation study on illegal video gambling.

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