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Mayor Young must be held accountable for city murder rate

The fatal stabbing of a 27-year-old man in West Baltimore pushed the city's annual homicide count hit 300 for the first time since 1999. As recently as 2011, the murder rate for the city was below 200. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun video)

We have resided in Baltimore since the mid-1970s and remained loyal city dwellers through all the ups and downs. In recent years, as we have become disillusioned with the city’s incompetent management, lack of leadership, corruption and unsafe environment, we have seriously contemplated moving to one of the surrounding counties. We haven’t. We love our Mt. Washington neighborhood and keep hoping that with the next change of leadership things will get better. And all along we have wondered why Baltimore, with so many assets, just can’t seem to get it right. Ineffective education system, water department that can’t seem to do anything correctly, police department with employees as corrupt as the “bad guys” to cite a few of the issues.

Well, the answer arrived with the illuminating Baltimore Sun article by Talia Richman, “‘I’m not committing the murders’: As Baltimore nears 300 homicides, mayor says city leadership not to blame" (Nov. 13). Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young is asking the citizens of Baltimore to elect him to a full mayoral term when his comments in this article clearly demonstrates that he does not have the slightest understanding of the qualities it takes to be an effective leader and manager of a municipality.

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Mr. Young doesn’t seem to understand that the point isn’t about who is doing the murdering, it’s about being accountable for the results of his management and leadership of the city. An effective leader demonstrates certain characteristics — respect, honor, service to people, objectivity — and skills like the ability to inspire, the ability to create a vision and execute as well as the integrity to be accountable for the results.

The immaturity of Mr. Young’s comments, the shirking of his responsibility to be accountable for his actions and those of his staff are unconscionable. Mr. Young’s comments demonstrate a total lack of regard for the people and the city he swore an oath to serve. Like so many before him, he made promises on the campaign stump he had no capacity to execute. It is time the citizens of Baltimore demanded more of their political leaders than empty campaign rhetoric and no demonstrable ability to manage or lead.

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We are offended by your comments, Mr. Young, and the arrogance you exhibit by assuming that you could so flippantly abrogate your responsibility for Baltimore’s murder rate. And you expect us to blithely go to the polls and place the future of this city in your hands? We won’t, and we would urge other city residents to examine each mayoral candidate’s qualifications and skill sets very carefully with the hope that we choose a person able to be honest about the city’s issues and have the ability to develop a rational action plan that will purposefully turnaround the erosion of city life for many of its citizens.

Just as we are holding Mr. Young accountable for his irresponsible attitude toward his obligation to effectively lead this city, we are holding ourselves responsible for making sure we vote for a leader of Baltimore that takes his or her responsibilities seriously. It’s time each city resident says, “Enough.”

Salliann and William Alborn, Baltimore

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