Mayor says citizens can be part of the solution or part of the problem in curbing violence

"If a crime happens in an area where property taxes are higher, we’re suppose to care more," the mayor asks.

srb discusses crime 2:10:14

“This isn’t about playing the blame game or giving excuses. It’s about what are you going to do,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said about violence in Baltimore.

Photo by: Mark Reutter

Saying she doesn’t have the luxury of debating the angst of people fearing violence in high-end communities, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said citizens either have to join her in her efforts to reduce crime or acknowledge that they’re “part of the problem.”

The mayor gave this blunt assessment today when asked whether she had a reaction to the spate of articles by local citizens, mostly on-line, about the rash of homicides and violence in the first month of 2014.

Saying she skimmed the article, “Baltimore, You’re Breaking my Heart,” that created waves on the Internet (“and I also skimmed the response,” she added), Rawlings-Blake said this:

“I certainly hear the frustration. . . If a crime happens in an area where property taxes are higher, we’re suppose to care more? That’s a debate that can happen on Twitter. I’m focused like [a] responder to action and finding partners who will do more than write a check to their property taxes.”

In response to another question about ways to curb crime, she said, “This isn’t about playing the blame game or giving excuses. It’s about what are you going to do? If you’re not going to be part of the solution, that’s fine. But then acknowledge it, you’re part of the problem, because we need everyone to be engaged in their own way in helping us reduce violence.”

Asked how citizens could cooperate, the mayor said they could join a neighborhood safety walk (or create one), attend community relations councils sponsored by the police  or – alluding to the stigma against “snitching” – don’t be silent if you witness a crime or suspicious activity.

In her “State of the City” address to the City Council today, Rawlings-Blake outlined steps to address crime issues, including the spike of homicides that began last spring, peaked over the summer and returned with a vengeance in January with 26 killings.

The mayor addressed the City Council and her cabinet this afternoon in the annual "State of the City" address. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

The mayor addressed the City Council this afternoon in the annual “State of the City” address. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

Anti-Crime Initiatives

She said she wanted to institute Operation Ceasefire, a program developed by criminologist David M. Kennedy that successfully reduced gang violence in Boston and other cities. She said she would continue to work in partnership with local, state and federal agencies to target violent repeat offenders and would modernize the police department with computerized devices to take and process crime reports remotely.

In addition, she announced that she would expand the use of crime cameras around the city and develop Youth Connection Centers to provide a safe haven for young people who violate the curfew law.

These measures, she later told reporters, were developed as part of the strategic plan announced by her office and Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts following a $285,000 consultant’s report.

“We have a strategy that we know works,” she said. “The same strategy that helped get us to a record low number [197] homicides [in 2011] . . . But we know that crime isn’t stagnant and criminals are always looking to stay ahead. And that’s why we are acting today to enhance that strategy.”

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  • Scott Meek

    I like her response. Hey, we’re doing everything we can, but all people do is bitch. Wanna help? Then show up and do something; don’t just jump on Facebook and Twitter and whine about it. I like it.

    • Tom Gregory

      Meeting at the Inner Harbor, holding hands and singing Kumbaya just doesn’t cut it any longer. Paying the highest property taxes in the state I think the homeowners in Baltimore have a right to bitch. Blake and O’Malley hid crime stats to get elected. Blood is on their hands. Their idea is to meet in Annapolis, pass idiotic feel good gun laws to placate the uninformed and, in turn, deflect the real issues of crime and its infestation. Blake and O’Malley are not leaders.

      I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account. Heck I don’t even have or use a cell phone, but I love whining on The Brew.

      • River Mud

        “This common sense gun law will begin saving lives on October 1st (2013)” – Vincent DeMarco, Marylanders against Gun Violence.

        Yup, now that legal citizens can’t get guns but criminals still can, things are going reeeeeeeeeeeeally well. Record-breakingly so!

    • River Mud

      A record breaking murder rate, 25% conviction rate, 50% dropout rate, nation-leading poverty indices (if you exclude Detroit), and one of the densest and largest police forces in the world, and we’re supposed to walk around the block once a month with a beat cop. Oh yeah. Big changes are a comin’. Here’s an honest challenge – find a positive change to make in your neighbhorhood, like planting a tree next to the street (the City has a right of way near the street). If you are able to get the City to allow you to plant the tree and promise not to cut it down in less than four years, you are working at a record breaking pace. Now that you have successfully planted One Tree, now simply solve the heroin-prostitution-poverty-recidivism complex by yourself, as a citizen. Should work out well. Community prayers and cop walks aside. ‘Cause you know who’s not at the communty prayer vigils and cop walks? Two groups: City employees and the city’s criminals. Namely, the two groups most empowered to effect change.

  • Gerald Neily

    The Mayor says rhetorically, “If a crime happens in an area where property taxes are higher, we’re suppose to care more?” That explains why she has cut property taxes for Harbor Point, where she plans to lure Baltimore’s future growth with a crime-fighting strategy based on being surrounded by water instead of the rest of the city.

  • Tom Gregory

    Excellent questions the sheeple in Mob town will fail to ponder and ask. Just what is $RB waiting for? She already knows Baltimore is ranked the 41st most violent city in the WORLD…or maybe not.

    • Susan Thompson

      Unfortunately I don’t live in Baltimore City anymore due to healt reasons,however I was a community leader-Remember Crime wave hit Canton.. few years back. People being hit by pipes etc, teens attacking adults…..It gets Quiet then bang starts back up….The only results we got was when press, tv stations were involved to shut you up….They’ll say or promise anything…What I suggest which will give you coverage,make you look good and defer criminals ……Start doing large groups of people marching around your neighborhood ie COP ask if you need help. Form a union between the community groups meet each other on the walks covering more terriitory the more people walking scares criminals..use vehicles also for cold weather set up a system but don’t let the criminals run your life …..Fight back and fight hard.
      Have walks planned before meeting to get more press for you, Work the press tonight while you have them.
      Good Luck with the meeting..

      • Tom Gregory

        Sue, with all due respect, I believe your comments were meant for someone else. I’m not scheduled to attend any meetings.

        I will respond to the COP walk idea. The walks are like chicken soup, that is, they are a cure all home remedy that is merely psychological and never really attacks the sickness.

        Marching around the neighborhood might cause the bad guys to hide that night, but like roaches they come back out as soon as it is dark and the marchers are gone.

  • Tom Gregory

    “Asked how citizens could cooperate, the mayor said they could join a
    neighborhood safety walk (or create one), attend community relations
    councils sponsored by the police or – alluding to the stigma against
    “snitching” – don’t be silent if you witness a crime or suspicious

    She forgot to mention a hot bowl of chicken soup every day also helps.

  • Matthew Riesner

    Isn’t it funny how the mayor is still so hung up with this idea that people are not snitching… it’s such a f*cking cop out. People snitch all of the time but the police often do not want to listen and the police give answers like “what do you want me to do about it.” Last year I had a neighbor on home detention due to his history with burgerlaries (including an attempted home invasion of my house which he at the time had not yet gone to court for), selling drugs several doors down from his house…at the same time a block away, there was a police officer in her car, filling out paperwork, listening to her iPod… When my wife went over the the police car and explained to the officier that the neighbor was on home arrest and walking the street on the block selling drugs (which he was doing at the time), she rolled her eyes and said “what do you expect me to do about it” which my wife replied “arrest him for violating a court order.” She rolled her eyes, but her earbuds back in and ignored my wife’s request.
    Miss Stephanie stop blaming poor police work on the citizens and start looking at the culture of not giving a damn by your police department (and some other city agencies as well).

  • BmoreFree

    The BPD had a $410.5 million dollar budget in 2013 with 2,962 officers as of 2012. Maybe the city should start figuring out where all the money and officer’s time is going as a first step.

    • axbca

      BmoreFree goes to a critical point in all of this discussion about crime in Baltimore: where does the money go that is spent within the police department to accomplish its mission, goals and objectives? And are the controls in place to insure accurate fund application and accounting of those funds once spent? NO.

      Would there be any other city than Baltimore that would turn its head away from the fundamental fact that the police department has not been audited for years. Would there be any other city than Baltimore that would accept a report from a consultant group—laying out a strategy for fighting crime—which does not first ask, “Jumpin J. Edgar Hoover, you mean you just spend all of this money and never know where it goes and for what?”

      Every elected official in Baltimore by now knows that pretty soon the discussion about crime can go no further than talking about community meetings and neighborhood watch, a new strategy by the Mayor, and the like, without hard facts about how the department’s resources are applied in the city.

      We could ask the Commissioner why he would not want to audit the police overtime account for starters? And if he is unwilling to do so, then how can he, as a professional, continue to posture as though that he is doing all he can do turn the crime situation around.

      We’ll see, the question will now get asked? He is writing a strategy with citizen input. Let’s see if he says the first thing the department must do is be financially accountable to the citizens?

      Chris T. Delaporte
      The Park Advocate

  • janjamm

    This debate has become so confused. Because we pay taxes does not mean we “deserve” protection. It means we deserve accountability when strategies devised to protect our neighborhoods, all our neighborhoods, fail. Everybody pays taxes. Neighborhoods filled with families that paid taxes have been decimated by drugs, gangs and crime. Children in poor neighborhoods breath crime, brutality and death everyday. Decades of crime have ravaged our communities, our schools, city tourism, city commerce and business investment and worst, community solidarity.

    Baltimore continues to suffer the consequences of entrenched poverty and segregation. Until these two issues change, all the snitching, COP-walks-at-7:00 pm-on-the-third-Wednesday-of-the month (Really?), and keeping our porch light on, will not reduce crime. The solutions require long-term, sophisticated, informed strategies. Devising and carrying out these solutions just doesn’t seem to be within the grasp of elected officials who come and go, mainly on the strength of their ability to discredit and slander their opponents, mostly, without accountability, with skills developed to “kill” opposition and “spin” issues, and with little knowledge of running a civil society.

    Maybe, solving our problems requires a commission of professionals appointed for, say, a ten-year period. Roughly, the commission would be empowered to devise and carry-out whole community solutions without the pressure to be elected or the need to ingratiate themselves to wealthy contributors. I’m sure there’s a JHU department that could identify the people in our community who are deeply informed on the issues that face us. The commission membership could change as various phases of solutions are acheived. The mayor and city council would still be elected, but their job would be to run the city services efficiently (Wouldn’t THAT be awesome?) The commission on the other hand, would manage, lets call it, the sociology of the city, the enrichment and empowerment of communities and citizens, block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood through informed strategic planning. Utopian? Maybe. But managing a city and managing the solutions for a civil society are such different issues. One wonders how we ever got into this idea that citys should be at the mercy of elected officials, alone.

    • River Mud

      Bravo. Wish someone was listening.

  • Bmoreskyandsea

    The Mayor says rhetorically, “If a crime happens in an area where property taxes are higher, we’re suppose to care more?”
    No – but they also shouldn’t be written off because the area is perceived as “good”. A sharp increase in crime anywhere in the city should be met with attention. Yet she denied additional police for Southeast, where violent crime rose 35% despite the fact that the city as a whole was down 30%.
    We need to stop focusing on what happens after a crime is committed and start looking at prevention. We need youth centers, mentoring programs, and crime deterrents.

  • Wally Pinkard

    If she has a strategy that she knows works, she should be using it. Clearly what she is doing is not working. So either her strategy no longer works or she is doing something different. My guess is that her strategy no longer works; past success does not ensure future success.

  • thatguysonheroin

    Perfect response (much better than mine, haha!). Money doesn’t buy security, tightly knit communities full of people who look out for each other buys security. I know a lot of readers will scoff that communities such as those are impossible in the city, but that will only go to show how little you know about a city you spend a LOT of time complaining about.

    A good measuring stick for where those communities are is the closure rate of crimes when they do happen. Crimes aren’t closed by police, they are closed by individuals who are willing to talk to the police and give them information to find criminals. People mistakenly feel that police spend more resources in these areas (which are generally the higher priced areas), but what’s actually happening is that are getting more use out of the same amount of resources because of community involvement.

    If you want to be safe in Baltimore, get to know your neighbors and go to police meetings (once a month in all districts) to talk to your police. If you do that, you’ll be bulletproof.

    • River Mud

      Exactly! Except when the daytime burglaries hit. Or the jogger muggings. Or the drunken in-street fights at 3am that the police will not respond to. Then, you’re SOL.

      • Tom Gregory

        When those new 4am bar closing times kick in things will get real ugly.

        • River Mud

          They might. We have a ton of Loyola / TU rentals in our neighborhood and between them and the regular drunks, it’s like DUI pinball at 2:15-2:45am these days.

      • ushanellore

        thatguysonheroin seems to me an appropriate moniker. My conclusion–whether you’re safe or not is a crap shoot in Baltimore, If your luck is out your time is up because crime travels.

  • Vic

    These are my thoughts and opinions, as someone who has dealt with city government over the past 6 years. I have seen the way this city is being run up close and personal. There is plenty of blame to go around. The Mayor says get involved, well I can tell you as someone who is very involved most of the time we as community leaders beat our head against the wall. Try dealing with city agencies. I am a big supporter of the police department and they have help me both as a community president and as a resident. My big problem with this debate is not one person wants to be held accountable or take responsibility for the problems.

    The mayor is right the internet is not the right place for this debate, this debate needs to be fought at city hall. This city has major problems, we also need to address the issues like the broken family, the broken court and school systems, juvenile justice, lack of jobs and substance abuse etc.,
    the list is endless.

    It seems like we in this country and more importantly Baltimore City have lost good values of self-reliance, good work ethic and selflessness. I am not sure the residents of the city are ever ready to deal with many of them.

    Yes more people can attend COP walks and community meetings but I
    thought those who run for office claim they can make our lives better so
    “vote for me”, then once in office they don’t want take responsibility for when things go wrong.

    As for being a part of the solution, I have for years suggested that we have more police on bikes in Fells Point and Patterson Park, even offered to purchase the bikes. I was told “we have the bike but not the man power”. We have blue light cameras throughout Upper Fells Point yet I see illegal activity just yards from them. The mayor says “If a crime happens in an area where
    property taxes are higher, we’re suppose to care more? “. I guess a good question for the mayor is what happens when there is no tax base, look at Detroit.

    Look how community leaders and activists, all who care deeply about their communities are treated by her office and staff. I remember asking for a meeting to mend fences with her office after the election since I personally voted and campaigned for her opponent. I was told “if you are not for us your against us”. I even said “think about it and get back to me, I am sure there things we can work on together”, I never heard back from the office.

    “Be part of the solution”, I’ve seen how city government reacts to constituents. most of the time our ideas are ignored. We take time to attend public hearings yet we are asked to wait until the very end to speak while city agencies who are on the payroll get to speak first or have nothing to add to the discussion. By the time we get the floor, most council members and staff have left. I watched when residents have been shut down even though they are very well educated on the issues. I have watch as staff are busy texting and not even listening to city residents. If you want people to be engaged in city government you have to listen as well and also be held accountable.

    Finally I would like to thank our first district representatives for fighting for our district and letting us be vocal when we need to be. I may not agree with them on many issues however they have always been respectful and open to listening to our ideas as well as our complaints and frustrations.

    If the mayor is serious then lets start the debate, get community leaders from across the city, Asian, Black, Latin and White. We all have a different point of view and lets start the discussion and really try to fix this city. Lets join forces.. Name a time and place. I will be there.

    • River Mud

      Ignored? No, usually the constituents’ ideas are panned as “impossible” and when told we are going to do the work anyway, the agencies threaten to investigate and fine us.

    • Susan Thompson

      I agree Vic see my comment below, wish I could help. Sue tell Deb I miss her.

  • Matthew Riesner

    It would help the mayor’s perpective if she would venture outside of her little, quiet, mini-Columbia, alcove off of Greenspring Avenue…if you have ever been there you will see it looks exactly like the Rouse development of Columbia, MD. As of now she can commute from her home to city hall via Tamarind Rd., Cold Spring lane and the JFX without seeing any of real Baltimore. I think this is why she feeds into media sensationalism (no snitching), McDevelopers, and cannot get her hands around a strategy that will actually move the city forward.

  • KC

    SRB keeping to her MO: deny responsibility and attack her criticizer

  • KC

    SRB simply keeping to her MO: deflect responsibility and attack her criticizer

  • VictoryG

    Shouldn’t the police be doing the “neighborhood safety walks” all day every day in our neighborhoods? Just saying. We’re all supposed to get to know our neighbors right, well why can’t we get to know the police who patrol our areas? The local cop should be part of our community just like the service workers, shop owners, the guy who rides the strange bike, the folks organizing the neighborhood activities, and that guy who seems to live on his porch.

  • asteroid_B612

    “If you’re not going to be part of the solution, that’s fine. But then
    acknowledge it, you’re part of the problem, because we need everyone to
    be engaged in their own way in helping us reduce violence.”

    I’ve come to the realization that people whose speech patterns are filled with cliches and platitudes are similarly handicapped when it comes to thinking and formulating ideas.

    What is the solution that I need to be part of so that I’m not part of the problem? How would 640,000 people “engaged in their own way” with an unspecified solution reduce violence? Aren’t those 640,000 already “engaged in their own way’?

    Never mind….

    • River Mud

      “Be part of the solution.” LOL. I tried for two years to get the City’s permission to clean up trash and exotic weeds out of our neighborhood park. I gave up, the permission never came. The agencies and their Supreme Leader are, and have been, out to lunch. Permanently.

  • green lisa

    No you are not supposed to “care more” if crime happens in an area with high property taxes. But if you are the mayor of a city, you might try to summon up some degree of caring. At least don’t antagonize those high property tax payers. The financial solvency of your city depends on them (and attracting more of them).

  • MC2012

    We have so many community minded volunteers in our neighborhood, yet time and time again, we’ll organize a clean-up, DPW won’t show with the dumpster, we organize RPP renewal, the Parking Authority finds some way to botch the preocess, we ‘adopt’ vacant lots and are burried in red tape and PR spin from housing, we have streetlights out since Thanksgiving, but can’t get a call returned. If it weren’t for Councilwoman Clarke, I doubt we’d ever get anything done. There are smart and determined people in City gov’t, who must certainly be frustrated by local government that is so ineffective, so completely unaccountable, it’s basicaly become our biggest roadblock to progress. The Mayor’s comments come across as aloof and offensive.

    • River Mud

      Yeah, sad to say that our councilman Bill Henry is also our only light in the dark when it comes to City responsiveness. I know he’s not perfect, but he’s responsive, and that’s why I pay my taxes – for responsive (but not perfect) government. Wish the attitude of him and his staff was more widespread among City leadership.

  • Smiley

    So now I am being BLAMED for JUST paying my property taxes? TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR? And it’s MY fault?? Are you kidding me?

    I have some words for the mayor at this point. They rhyme with DUCK WHO.

  • John

    And don’t even get me started with the courts, they have been backed up for months. This city is incompetent.

  • Rebecca Opfer

    “care more?” How about caring at all and doing something about it! As a victim to a recent crime in the “affluent” canton neighborhood, her statement appalls me. And I do help out in the community, Our Daily Bread, being on of the places I volunteer. So sorry mayor for having a day job, paying my taxes and being an upstanding citizen… I guess I was asking for it.

  • River Mud

    People like me! Well, I work 50-60 hours per week at a stream cleanup charity that receives $0 from the County or City. I also volunteer on nights and weekends for other environmental and urban ag organizations, bringing my family with me. Are you listening yet? I didn’t think so, so I won’t bother explaining the mechanics of how the City works, or the times that DPW has threatened to fine and/or call the police on activities they did not feel were “authorized.” Because you’re not listening, you’re just whining like all those you complain about – you are a Whiner among whiners. But I’ve found you out. My suggestion to you: don’t make dumb assumptions about other people you’ve never met or even heard of. You just might prove yourself to be a total jackass in a public forum. Cheers!

  • Jennifer T

    I live in Upper Fells and despite the seemingly never ending series of frustrating, disturbing and heartbreaking crimes lately… I never once considered up and leaving. Until right now.

    I too read the “Baltimore You’re Breaking my Heart” article and thought the author came off like she assumed a crime in her neighborhood was inherently more important than one in west Baltimore. She chose a few words poorly.
    However, that doesn’t even come close to how poorly our idiot Mayor chose the words above. Is she intentionally taunting the tiny remaining tax base we have? I’ve been house-hunting in the area for the last few months… now I’m over it. Not a chance in hell I’m tying myself to this area with morons like her running the show. I’ll keep renting… keep the $6k I would’ve wasted in property taxes… and I’ll keep the ability to get the hell out when she turns this place into the next Detroit.

    • Matthew Riesner

      You need to remember, you are still paying the property taxes…your landlord is passing along those taxes to you in your rent…if you are living somewhere with $6k property tax bill, without those taxes, your rent would most likely be $500 less per month. Landlords often raise rents as direct response to increasing tax bill and many are making little to no profit (especially the non-slumlord type) in the process.

      • Jennifer T

        Five people live in the building my apartment is in. By my math my share of the tax burden works out to about $700 over the course of the year. I save that much in gas money not commuting. But that was hardly my point.

  • Robert Ofcrosskeys

    It’s not just that crime is happening in affluent areas of the city; rather the crimes seem particularly barbaric.
    When someone in Canton is beaten with a brick after he has given up his property, there is no level of community involvement that could have turned that perpetrator around. There is no mentoring program that would have put him on the right path. No job training that would have mattered.
    When two teens, one of whom has a mom who works for the police department, inflict multiple stab wounds on both the chest and the back of the victim, the excuse for the crime can’t be the economy. These kids, at least one of them, came from a home where the mom had a good job with even better benefits. They weren’t breaking into homes because of unemployment or stagnant wage growth.
    These are just two examples, but there are many more, like Zach Sowers, where it seems crimes are being committed at least in part to make the victims suffer and to terrorize the community.

    • ushanellore

      One of those teens is fourteen years old and already a father. People, many, commit crimes for the fun of it. It empowers them in a world where they feel disempowered. It brings them attention. It brings them notoriety. If you can’t be notorious being lawful then be notorious being an outlaw.

      Look at Ndrangheta and the Gambino family. One ruled in Italy and the other in NY. Police claim they have been dismantled. Watch them come back. Crime pays and pays big in the drug business. Robbery pays if you are not fool enough to get caught. Crime on the street is no better, no worse than crime on Wall Street–it is in many an instance a get rich quick scheme. Unemployment and stagnant wage growth are two reasons for the crime sprees but neglect is another. Abuse is another and neglect as abuse is yet another.

      Most parents don’t know their own children. Very few have meaningful conversations with them. They bark commands at them, they indulge them with material goods and presents and watch them slip on banana peels, running to their rescue with lawyers and bail money. Children are angry, bored out of their wits and afraid. Fear is a big factor in crime. The man who kills, is often as scared and as confused as the man who is getting killed.

      The man who wants to kill his mother or his wife or his father may wind up killing a stranger instead to get rid of his overwhelming urge to “get someone, anyone.” These days the man who wants to kill does not hesitate to commit parricide, matricide or fratricide.

      Remember we have wars going on in many theaters. We are experts in legally sanctioned killings–in turning out killing machines and their subsequent PTSD. A lot of the kids on the streets suffer from PTSD–from their homes and from their street and jail mentors, they receive and bear the scars.

      Sadomasochism is alive, well and celebrated on TV, the cinema and in video games. Fifty shades of sadomasochism sold well among the homemakers of the world. It’s called art. Art is not imitating life. Life is imitating art.

      To reduce crime we have to improve the work place from one of tyranny and stifling competition to one of compassion and collaboration. Every work place seems to be run these days by dictators. We have to provide parents with reasonable vacation time, sick leave and job security to have a society where children are actually raised instead of being abandoned. We have to stop welfare for nothing. We have to institute work for welfare. We have to limit the number of children the taxpayers will support with welfare to two, if at all, and no more.

      Then as another article in the BREW talks about we have to fully fund preschool and also fully fund after school activities. Community gardens, the BSO’s music programs for underprivileged kids–all help. Music and gardening are antidotes to a potentially boring world. They keep mischief out and bring the right mentors in.

      Good things are already happening in the city. They should be publicly and privately funded. The BSO program could use more money. Underprivileged children should be mandated to join environmentalists in city clean up and stream clean up programs. They should be recruited out of schools and the city should provide vans for transporting these kids to and from these sites.

      There are wonderful folks in Baltimore doing wonderful things for poor kids. Never seems to be enough because there are too many children in need. That is why we must ensure that generational poverty does not continue. The city may be depopulating because the rich and middle class are fleeing but when those who cannot afford to have children or when unfit parents have numerous children, in a city like Baltimore, that is what shows up as murder and robbery. We need to incentivize the underprivileged to have fewer children and to take care of them.

      But criminals come from all the classes. Our white collar criminals are usually rich and privileged. They could use lessons in ethics and jail time too.

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  • KnowNothingParty

    In addition to the violent crimes occurring more frequently in Baltimore, Mayor Failings Blake needs to address the never ending “nuisance crimes” that plague this town and drive people out.

  • Sean Tully

    I know the Mayor isn’t a stupid woman, so I can’t figure her out. She has no fire in the belly. She never has. But I can’t believe she doesn’t understand the difference between crime happening in a less affluent area as compare to a more affluent area. Here is a hint, Rawlings-Blake – if Canton goes the way the rest of Baltimore is going, those people in Canton can afford to move out and they will! So goodbye tax dollars. As opposed to people in poorer areas. They can’t afford to move so they stay put. See the difference?

  • Matthew Riesner

    I am starting to think the mayor and the powers that be in this city are trying systematically drive out people with money/jobs/prospects/families that don’t need public assistance…first tax the hell out of them, then don’t have the police protect them, and then speak like they are the problem… I think she (and others) are trying to turn Baltimore into permanent haven for Maryland’s despondent underclasses that will sink so low it will be able to demand a state and federal bailout. It drove me out.

    • Sean Tully

      You have a point, and it isn’t just people with money, jobs, etc. Imagine this, with all the abandoned houses in Baltimore, what do you think they are planning to do? They want to build subsidized “grandparent housing” on the former Cardinal Gibbons property. Needless to say most of the people in Violetville, Morrell Park, and other surrounding areas are against this development, but I am pretty sure the city doesn’t care if they ruin these stable communities as long as the greater good (in their minds) is served.

      • ushanellore

        Subsidized grandparents? That’s new. I suppose the parents are in jail and the grandparents are subbing. The city arrests the parents, subsidizes the grandparents and social engineers the heck out of poor families. There is no end to the deliberate schemes to build the underclass. Pathetically this has nothing to do with humanity or compassion or filling a need. It has everything to do with inventing a need, then fulfilling it, in the only way the city knows possible, with handouts. Most grandmoms, I know, who have raised their grandchildren, are proud and brave people. I bet subsidies are not what they lobbied for with the city elders.

    • River Mud

      I so very much want none of that to be true.

    • petefrombaltimore

      Generally speaking, “Middle class” people tend to be more likely to complain about city problems, than “Poor” residents.And unlike many “poor ” residents, middle class voters arent usually satisfied with a politican, just because they got the voter’s cousin a job in the Public Works Dept,ect

      So many urban politicans tend to not really like middle class voters and residents. And it doesnt matter if the middle class voters are white or black So its defintly in SRB’s interest for them to move out of Baltimore

  • Clark Reynolds

    How about when you call the cops, they actually show up? I’ll snitch like a mo**erf***er when and if they do.

  • BaltimoreDave

    Our Mayor in her actions, (which do speak louder than words,) has proven she is in this business of civic duty for herself. To what ends she imagines she is worthy for,she can only say. When you look at her past record and responses questions, there is no other conclusion.

  • Mugsy_9mm

    REALLY?!?! Yeah you should care more when violence leaks out of these unstable violent areas and starts praying on people who work hard for what they have instead of standing on a street corner dealing or gunning down their competition. These criminals are now making our neighborhoods unsafe, the very neighborhoods that we have invested in with our much HIGHER tax money and our livelihoods. That’s not different than whats going on in those areas?! Are you kidding me!?!?! There is a big difference, they have decided to make that a lifestyle, you live by the trigger you die by the trigger, and now decent hard working people are becoming unnecessary victims! Its hard enough for the Police Dept to handle the crime in a few areas of the City, and once the criminal activity starts spreading City wide…good luck even trying to control it then!

    • AlexC

      You do realise that not everyone who lives in impoverished neighborhoods have decided to be surrounded by violence and despair as a ‘lifestyle choice’, right? And that in fact many people who live in impoverished neighborhoods are in act ‘decent hard working people’?

      • ushanellore

        Wealth is not an inoculation against crime, either committing it or becoming a victim of it. Ditto for poverty. The middle class is becoming poor in America.

        No use vilifying, cursing or stereotyping the poor. You are right. Among them are many sterling citizens but the odds are stacked against them in Baltimore. The manufacturing jobs are leaving, the service sector is languishing and the children of the poor are throwing in their lot, as a result, with despair and drugs.

        Hard working they may be but where are the jobs? Honest they may have started as, but no food on the table and what use honesty? The Darwinism in a city like Detroit or Baltimore brings the hard working poor to their knees. The subsidies for the rich supposedly will keep the jobs but the poor don’t get these subsidies, because they are deemed to be lazy and unmotivated and the rich who get the subsidies either don’t hire the poor because the poor are not qualified and they don’t want to train them or they run lean mean highly mechanized operations or they simply move after sweeping up the benefits from a city eager to lick their rich boots. It is a losing formula for a climb out of poverty.

        The poor are downwardly mobile in America today. This is no joke. They don’t have the wherewithal to pick up and move to another state for a job. No, violence is not a lifestyle choice for the poor but when they live with it long enough, because it was thrust upon them, they become inured to it and helpless in the face of their inability to solve their predicament.

        And the middle class and the rich do not want to be mired with the poor. Hence the poor bashing, the superiority complex and the blame game. When you identify one enemy–the poor–for the crime problem, then you imagine it is more easily solved.

        But the horrible crimes like murder, do seem on the face of it, to come from the dark underbelly of Baltimore and that dark underbelly geographically is in the poor neighborhoods. Questions remain for folks like mugsy–why are the poor having so many children? Are they raising them properly? If not why not? Is not being able to eradicate their own poverty their fault?

        How can the cycle of children having children, fatherless households, pride in jail time and calling academic success superfluous but embracing thuggism as a badge of honor–how can that change? The answer many poor are hardworking too, although true, is too glib, for folks like mugsy, I believe, to address what underlies poverty.

        The hardworking poor have a responsibility to raise their children better but in neighborhoods where they live, if the streets claim their children, they fail. Many poor folks have been relocated in better neighborhoods by govt, and the statistics show their children do better if raised in such neighborhoods.

        The current trend, though, is for such neighborhoods in the suburbs and the small towns, to also be infested with drugs. Then there is the belief that the poor bring their drugs and their crime with them causing a massive deterioration of the new places where they are placed.

        I have heard some poor blame the other poor, in their neighborhoods, for the crime and the grime in their areas. Not just mugsy, many poor accuse their neighbors of living and dying by the trigger. That is a lifestyle choice, as the poor themselves put it.

        In my opinion it is not just culture, it is also history and habits that form a people. America is not out of the long reach of civil war and slavery. It will take eons to obliterate the effects of those eras, like it or not. That the Blacks should be over it by now, that more than enough has been done to redress and address the problem is not proving true. The prosperous Whites and the upwardly mobile Blacks are impatient but the underclass is a prisoner of its past and its present. Impatience is not cutting it.

        Generations cannot come out of the slavery tunnel clean, unfettered and prosperous ready to assimilate and take on the world. Some will get there and others will fail, no matter the urgency of the middle and upper classes. That the middle and the upper classes don’t want to go down with the intransigent and criminal poor is understandable. But what the rich and upwardly mobile meritocracy forgets is that among its ranks there are many criminals, thugs and drug addicts. The crimes of the privileged have the privilege of playing out behind curtains and going unpunished.

  • Carol

    Excuse me: I did not vote for the present mayor. In the primaries, the field was so vast, no way she could lose. She has shown herself to be backward looking (Gran Prix), unresponsive (I got a response every time I sent an idea into Mayor Dixon; Stephie says basically don’t tell me), and politically unconcerned with Baltimore except when it furthers her national profile. She wants to be in the march to the O’Malley White House . . . there is a reason she has been called the worst mayor in America. And that’s saying something.

    • davethesuave

      my original comment: “The people on this forum, as passionate as you can be, are not the people who repeatedly vote these clowns into office”

  • Michelle Arencivia

    Why is the Baltimore Sun not providing any coverage on this? Her responses are an outrage!

    • Tom Gregory

      $RB’s comments are never deemed over the top by the Calvert St. Democratic Club. They don’t want to risk losing exclusive access to City Hall.

  • mttwls

    I went to Luke Clippinger’s town hall last night in Highlandtown, and came away really unimpressed with our mayor. A good politician would have done what Commissioner Batts did last night — throw her/his arms around the problem and lay out a plan to fix it. A bad politician deflects blame and argues testily with the people who dare question him/her. By that standard, SRB is very bad.

  • Andrew Bollard

    Hey Mayor – care to comment about those federal funds that aren’t being spent appropriately? How in the world can anyone paying property taxes in this city justify living here when there is zero reason to be confident leadership’s ability to do the most basic of government tasks?

  • February 10, 2016

  • February 9, 2016

    • Some political candidates use Apple products to write their position papers and email their staff. Northeast Baltimore’s Rodney C. Burris dangled a couple of the trendy devices in front of potential contributors as a way of raising cash. In return for a contribution of $10, contributors get a chance to win an Apple Watch or […]

  • February 6, 2016

    • Emergency repairs to a 20-inch main will result in temporary water shutoffs to about 450 houses in the Canton area on either Monday or Wednesday. Service will be interrupted at 165 houses on Monday starting at 8 a.m. and ending about 4 p.m. The affected properties will be on Montford between Foster and Fait, Fait […]

  • February 4, 2016

    • On the eve of a trial set in Baltimore Circuit Court, a technology firm has agreed to pay over $160,000 to the city for inflated and false billings. Washington, D.C.-based Investment Management Enterprise pleaded guilty to one count of theft before Circuit Court Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill yesterday. An investigation by the Baltimore Office of […]

  • February 1, 2016

More of the Daily Drip »

Below the Fold

  • December 15, 2014

    •   “Ha ha, so not a surprise.” “Shocking…not!!” We get applause but also the occasional eye-roll these days for our accountability reporting – like last week’s piece about how tax cuts promised by the mayor as a selling point for Horseshoe Baltimore probably won’t happen, thanks to the casino’s lower-than-expected revenues. We get where the […]