A new mayoral term, a new tagline for Baltimore?

a great place to grow

The new slogan and sunbeam graphic rising above the front portico of City Hall yesterday.

Photo by: Mark Reutter

Today, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake unveiled her administration’s new slogan for the city, “Baltimore: A Great Place to Grow,” coinciding with this morning’s swearing-in ceremony, as the 41-year-old mayor formally begins her first full four-year term.

(Rawlings-Blake, who inherited the job in February 2010 following Mayor Sheila Dixon’s corruption trial and resignation, won the general election for mayor last month.)

The new slogan, draped across the front of City Hall yesterday, features sun rays shining over a silhouetted downtown.

“Grow” will also be the theme of tonight’s Inaugural Ball at the Hilton Baltimore ($75 a pop if you’re interested) and the subject of the mayor’s swearing-in speech (the ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. at the War Memorial Plaza where city police recently evicted a homeless solidarity sleep-out).

Rawlings-Blake yesterday told The Baltimore Sun (whose venerable sunbeam masthead shares a lot in common with the new “Grow” graphic) that repopulating Baltimore is the overarching goal of her next term.

The city has lost more than 300,000 residents in the last 50 years, meaning there are only two Baltimoreans today where there were three in 1960. The mayor said her goal is to add 10,000 families to the city’s roster in the next decade.

She also said she’d like to serve another term, which would take her mayorship up to the cusp of year 2020. (So take that, Jack Young!)

Anyway, back to the new slogan: It made us recall the ones that used to be plastered on bus stop benches and bannered across schools. Each one seemed to reflect the personality of the mayor.

• For ultimate B-more booster William Donald Schaefer, it was “Baltimore Is Best” and, according to some accounts, “Charm City.”

• For cerebral Kurt Schmoke, it was “The City That Reads” (or “Bleeds” or “Breeds” after the parodists got through with it.)

• For ambitious Martin O’Malley,  it was “The Greatest City in America,” plus the biblical-sounding commandment, “Believe.”

So now it’s “A Great Place to Grow.” Hard to argue with the goal, though it does sound a bit like an exurban housing development struggling to attract buyers. What do you think, Brew readers?

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  • Mair

    Shoot,…I’m still working on “believe”.

  • robin baker

    Why would anyone bring their family into the city that has such poor public schools and little PUBLIC recreation facilities?

  • Jtripper419

    Don’t forget about, “Baltimore: Get In On It”

  • Marc

    What do I think? I think the mayor would make a great stand-up comedian. You can’t help but laugh at the “bring 10,000 new families to Baltimore in a decade” goal. Is it impossible? No, but it’s just another mayoral platitude. Right now there don’t seem to be any serious policy proposals behind that idle wish. I’ve read more ambitious and sensible policy proposals in the Brew comments section that I’ve ever read on the press releases from the mayor’s office.

    No postwar B’more mayor has attempted to rigorously address the three things that families care about – poor school quality, high property taxes and the mediocre city services you get in return, and high crime – and the current mayor is no exception.

    Most of the crime in the city is committed by repeat offenders – maybe fixing the catch-and-release justice system would be a good place to start? Unless you have enough profile to get a TIF, you will be punished for investing in home, business, or other property improvements. Maybe trying out a fairer, simpler taxation system (a single land tax) would be a good place to start? Save for a handful of magnet high schools, most of B’more’s public schools suck. Maybe putting even more focus on charters and setting up some kind of “Harlem Children’s Zone” would be a good place to start?

    None of these things are “quick fixes” and none of them will spur the overnight creation of a family-friendly utopia, but I do think concrete strategies like these are more useful than vague, empty “bring more families to B’more” rhetoric.

  • UpperFells

    I guess it depends on how she wants to define 10,000 new families. If she wants to add 10,000 new teenage girls who give birth before age 17, don’t graduate high school, and then live off of social services, then I think she’s on the right track!  Those count as families too, you know. 

    The city is morally broken. So much of the reason why people with kids don’t want to live here can be explained by the citizenry’s broken moral compass.  Perhaps the mayor would be better off spending less time serving as NARAL’s guinea pig in attacking crisis pregnancy centers and spending more time working with parents to instill a decent set of values in their kids.  This is the city where only 42% of high school students miss more than 20 days of school per year. Barely more than half of kids showed up at school on the first day of classes. Nobody is to blame for that but the parents. 

  • Art Cohen

    As pointed out in the Dec. 6 Baltimore Sun article on this same subject (and also with similar words on the late night news broadcast on WJZ_TV), Lester Spence, a political science professor at Johns Hopkins University, urged that “the mayor should push harder to improve the lives of poor people who live in the city now.” 

    It would be highly preferable, indeed,  to have the number “10,000″  (or even a larger number) applied to these current residents of Baltimore City, or to the tens of thousands of vacant houses, buildings, and lots pockmarking our city and representing at the present time little more than enduring moments to colossal waste.

  • Snovey

    Just thinking about the multiple meanings of “grow.”  Am I the only one who reads “Baltimore: A Great Place to Grow…Marijuana?”

  • James Hunt

    For a lot of us pushing-50-and-older types, Baltimore was a fantastic place to grow up in. When we were kids, most families still had a mother and father living together and socializing with neighbors. This meant a wide network of people who knew us kids even if we didn’t know them and who were more effective than the police ever could be in keeping trouble to a minimum. These were also the people who helped us get our first jobs. Pay was lousy, but it was a foot into the working world. After that, it was up to us to make what we could of it.

  • Ktrueheart

    “Baltimore: A Great Place to Grow” is NOT yet a fact!  Is it an aspiration or delusional dream?  Don’t know but I will surely be watching to see which it turns out to be. 

    Our Mayor needs a credible plan to make this slogan fact, which if she has already developed I hope she plans to share it with us really soon.  So far I’ve heard so many if’s and then’s (slots revenue?, bottle-tax revenue, better schools, etc) that my head is spinning.   
    Over-reliance on proposed revenue sources is questionable and forecasting outcomes in the public sector has historically been suspect at best.  The made for TV slogans and public pronouncements from this Mayor have been coming in a constant stream lately and so far it’s all talk … enough already … Do something! 

    There is nothing so constant in the universe as change … except BMore politricks! 

  • westside_resident

    Three things: schools, taxes, crime. Everything else is just fluff. 

    • Sludgefree

      You nailed it. Fix those three, add in a solution to the vast homelessness, and families will flock to this city.

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