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DLA Piper move continues neglect of central business district | READER COMMENTARY

An aerial view of One Charles Center, the historic yet modern office tower in downtown Baltimore that the family of Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos has recently put up for sale. File. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun).

The Baltimore Sun reported the news that the DLA Piper law firm is moving to Harbor East after a 20-year escape to the suburbs. However, what The Sun did not say is that the firm is jumping over the central business district, like so many other recent companies have done, including: Constellation Energy, Legg Mason (now Franklin Templeton), T. Rowe Price, Transamerica, Ernst & Young, Gordon Feinblatt and Saul Ewing. To say that DLA Piper is moving back “downtown” ignores the reality that the large business community has abandoned our city in fact and in spirit (”DLA Piper will relocate Baltimore office back downtown after two decades,” Aug. 29).

Most of downtown’s “biggies” completely shut down their offices for two years to allow their employees to work from home while the small businesses that were dependent on them for survival were forced to close or sharply reduce their business. It has been a case of the haves and the have-nots. The biggies did not care. There was a time, now long past, when Baltimore corporate leaders were our city’s boosters. Through everything that Baltimore has endured — the relentless violence, the obsession with (but lack of action regarding) the squeegee kids (entirely at the expense of small downtown businesses), the loss of jobs, the decimation of the central business district, the closing of small businesses, the continuous population decline, uncompetitive real estate tax rates (while favored big developers and large companies are beneficiaries of huge special tax breaks at the expense of residents and small businesses), there has been utter and complete silence from our business and civic leaders.

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You cannot name the leader of any large company or nonprofit organization who has spoken publicly to raise the concerns that are on everybody’s mind. They are either afraid to do so or they do not care. They simply stand by while our city is dying. Doing nothing and saying nothing. It is tragic. It is morally reprehensible.

— David F. Tufaro, Baltimore

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