Like Salliann and William Alborn, my wife and I have seriously contemplated moving out of Baltimore over the past few years due to the same problems cited in their commentary (“Mayor Young must be held accountable for city murder rate,” Nov. 20). But, like the Alborns, we love our home in the Mt. Vernon historical district, the abundance of cultural offerings and the friends and relationships we’ve built.
But we live with the never ending burden of the city’s incompetent management, lack of leadership and most of all not living up to their responsibility to listen to and address the concerns of all the citizens of Baltimore. It is clear that the most serious problem is public safety. As we are now on pace for yet another record year of more than 300 homicides, perhaps an all-time high, all we hear from the mayor and City Council is hand-wringing rhetoric, but little in the way of tangible actions. We have been strung along about development of a “crime reduction master plan” for the past year, but homicides and crime continue to grow, and there is a clear trend of these criminal activities extending into the heretofore “safer” areas of the city and into the county as well.
To put it bluntly, we live in a city under siege where it is clearly unsafe to go out at night and we have to always roll up our windows and lock our car doors when driving. We put up with street corner extortion by the squeegee kids, watch with horror as our beautiful Inner Harbor is taken over by roving teenagers and deal with other similar tangible threats to our lives and our well-being.
Whenever the mayor and City Council do talk about addressing these issues, all we hear is spending more money to “address the underlying systemic issues” year after year, which clearly has done nothing to reduce crime. With one of the highest number of city employees per capita of any city in the country, we spend more on studying the problem and rolling out plans than we do on imminent actions to resolve this horrible threat in our city. No one argues that our police department is woefully understaffed. Perhaps some of those millions put into “plan name inserted here” could be put to much better use in actually enlarging the first line of defense in making our city a safer place to live.
This laissez-faire approach to city leadership has to stop. We as citizens have to recognize that our current (and past) leadership does nothing but repeat the same tired rhetoric, which offers only hollow hope and no results. As we look forward to the next elections, we need to keep in mind that any candidate that does not offer tangible, detailed and trackable courses of actions for which they can be clearly held accountable is not worthy of our vote. If the city leadership can’t do it, then we as citizens can change that with our votes, and find those who can.