Mayor Rawlings-Blake should give back 'gifts' and perks

I am sick of hearing the excuses from the mayor's office when it comes to the inappropriate use of taxpayer money, taxpayer-owned sports boxes and tickets — graft — that come from places like First Mariner Arena ("Mayor's use of tickets examined," Aug. 15).

Stephanie Rawlings-Blakemade herself out as a highly ethical politician who would never be what Sheila Dixon had become during her term as mayor. But the reality is, Ms. Rawlings-Blake is about to spend $2,000 of the taxpayers' money for police protection in California while she and her family are on vacation.

She and her family have inappropriately used skybox tickets at Ravens and Orioles games, and now we find out that they have also been using tickets to high-value, sold-out shows at first Mariner. Her defense every time is that "my predecessors always did it."

Just because her predecessors did it doesn't make it right. It smells of corruption and influence buying, and if her predecessors did it they are just as guilty as she is.

It is time this mayor cleans up her act and gives these "gifts" back to the taxpayers. As far as the police security detail is concerned, while she is on vacation she should refuse to use it. In a city where taxes and fees are constantly being raised because of budgetary shortages, every dollar wasted could be used to benefit taxpayers.

Mike Brown, Owings Mills

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