Grand Prix not a 'game-changer'

The Grand Prix of Baltimore, the race that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake promised would be a "game-changer" has come and gone ("Grand Prix of Baltimore canceled through 2015, and likely beyond," Sept. 13). Apparently, the game changed and we missed it

While I'm sure that the mayor's spokesman will put it in the best possible light, the citizens of Baltimore know that that this three-year experiment was a net loser. We spent public money, cut down public trees, disrupted public services and generally allowed ourselves to be inconvenienced to produce a race that ultimately reduced business for many downtown merchants and never made a ripple in Baltimore's image.

It's bad form to say "I told you so," but perhaps this could be a learning moment for our mayor. So many people told her so often that the Grand Prix was a bad idea that, had she only listened to her constituents, she could have been spared the embarrassment of announcing that this pet project failed miserably.

Sadly, the mayor's new pet project, Harbor Point, will not be so easy to erase. Once again the mayor has chosen to put her will above that of the people, and once again she has ignored the voices warning her of the consequences.

Like the Grand Prix, Harbor Point will go forward over the objection of most Baltimoreans. It will absorb city resources while benefiting few. It will depress the value of real estate in other parts of the city while further balkanizing our already unfair tax system. It risks traffic nightmares and a potential environmental disaster and will likely be a net negative to many current city merchants.

But, unlike the Grand Prix, Harbor Point will not be so easy to do away with, and the damage it does will last far longer.

Yet hope springs eternal. Maybe it's not too late. Maybe the mayor can learn to listen to her constituents instead of just her developer friends. It's not likely, but that would be a real game changer.

Mac Nachlas, Baltimore

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