Baltimore has a high percentage of people living below the poverty line.
Baltimore has a high percentage of people living below the poverty line. (Michael Workman, The Baltimore Sun)

I am in full agreement that Charm City is in desperate need of a complete overhaul (“Baltimore deserved better than Mayor Pugh even before the indictment,” Nov. 20). Baltimore has been in crisis since at least the beginning of this millennium. I would also agree that the status quo simply won’t cut it anymore. Not ever.

I maintain that the leadership of Baltimore should be much more constituent-centered. However, whenever I turn on local television stations reporting on the efforts of the police or other public servants holding “town hall meetings” in neighborhood school auditoriums, the seats are almost devoid of the local citizens. It seems to me that a gigantic indifference exists in these local constituents eliminating their opportunity to show up and be heard. I wonder what’s up with that? Have those people given up? A lot of the urban squalor that seems to be progressively defining Baltimore is due to the basic indifference of the residents of these very same “blighted communities”


My first suggestion is, and has been, to scrap the Board of Estimates altogether. The mayor, City Council president and comptroller still make big decisions (mostly financial) shrouded in secrecy from the citizens of Baltimore. In other words, Baltimore has far too much executive branch and it has lost its balance and maybe even its way. My second and final thought would be to merge the city with Baltimore County. How many major cities have a Board of Estimates? After all, how many truly major U.S. cities are not in counties?

Like I said, Baltimore needs a major overhaul, not a tune up. It’s not strictly on the politicians or future leaders but with all city residents who decide to stay and tough it out. It’s time to think outside the box!

At the moment, Baltimore is more “Harm City” than “Charm City." Let’s have total transparency in city government and have all remaining Baltimore residents take a stake in the city’s future.

George Hammerbacher, Baltimore

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