I am responding to the recent commentary, “What young professionals want from Baltimore’s next mayor” (Sept. 9). Although I am a product of a very different, much older generation, I find myself agreeing with much of what the authors say.
However, I take strong exception to the paragraph that starts with, “The next mayor should also conduct a needs assessment of Baltimore City,” and ends with “Just like a business, it is important to understand the needs of your customers, in this case the citizens.”
First, citizens are not customers and never should be treated that way. Citizens need to be engaged with our government and need a government that engages with us. We are not simply data points that need study.
Second, as citizens, we do not need a needs assessment. The needs are already obvious and were stated in the op-ed. Perhaps we need a strengths and opportunities assessment: We possess many of the solutions that government needs, but unless government engages with us, government will miss the strengths and opportunities that we offer.
As long as government is treated as a service, rather than a collaboration that depends on its citizens, we will never solve the problems that plague us.
Dick Cook, Baltimore
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