xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Batts is only a scapegoat

As Baltimore prepares to welcome its seventh police commissioner since the start of the 21st century, citizens remain on edge amid one of the most deadliest years in recent history. And while Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's abrupt decision to fire the man she hired only three years ago as the solution to Baltimore's crime problem and who was welcomed by her City Council colleagues with open arms, one would have to question what they believe will change with a new police commander and no detailed crime plan to get us out of the daily violence that we face today ("After Batts: Now what?" July 10)?

The decision to hire Anthony Batts as the city's police commissioner was one that was solely on the shoulders of Mayor Rawlings-Blake, as many local political and community leaders sought for the position to be awarded to the man who wrote the crime plan the led to the historic lows in homicides that we witnessed in 2011 — Deputy Commissioner Anthony Barksdale.

Advertisement

Instead, the mayor sidestepped the homegrown Mr. Barksdale for an outsider, and the city was stuck with a commander who couldn't tell the difference between North Avenue and Northern Parkway. However, Mr. Batts came in with a vision of community policing that left many community leaders such as myself impressed with his intellectual prowess and renewed commitment to working with them in order to quell the violence plaguing our neighborhoods once and for all.

The problem was that the mayor didn't get that memo! At every step, the mayor would get in the way of progress by blocking the things Commissioner Batts had drawn up in order to work with groups such as the NAACP Criminal Justice Committee. So while the "forward-thinking" members of the City Council now declare that they have no faith in Mr. Batts' leadership, it would seem that they should have considered all that just last year when they approved a six-year contract for the California native.

Advertisement

Now the citizens of Baltimore are left holding the purse strings of yet another boneheaded fiscal decision made by our so-called elected leaders while communities remain paralyzed with fear based on the escalating violence that, unfortunately, has this city living up to its horrible nicknames of "Harm City" and "Bodymore." It's time for others to follow Commissioner Batts to the unemployment line, and next year's elections are the perfect time to show the world that the citizens of Baltimore are ready for change.

Hassan Giordano, Baltimore

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement