Friday, September 27, 2013

Attention For Baltimore

To my son Tommy,

Recently some big names have been weighing in on crime in Baltimore City.  You would think this is good and I suppose having a bit of the spotlight shining on our city's concerns is always welcome.  But it is also ironic and sad at the same time.  To some of these names, Baltimore is either a skeleton in the closet or a quick sounding board for more votes.

Our current Governor Martin O'Malley (and previous mayor of Baltimore City) has dreams of running for President of the United States in 2016.  The problem is his campaign crew most likely pointed out that he can't distance himself from the crime rate of one of the largest cities in his state.  It is like a boil on his bottom that any opponent can point out.  So he is pressuring the current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to "clean up this mess".  Just last year he penned an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun where he praised the current mayor (found here ) saying she did great following his Believe campaign.  Now in his lastest op-ed (found here oh my how much changes in a year) he says, and I of course paraphrase and put imaginary words in his mouth, "When I was mayor I just threw everyone in jail and crime went down" which is for the most part accurate but whether that made city life better or worse is certainly up for debate.  Usually people would pick sides on that debate depending on what side of the city line they lived in.  Mostly only those who lived outside the city with no real skin in the game were the ones applauding the effectiveness of these civil liberty abuses.  I am not sure I would lump myself in with the applauders because I have much more common sense, but being white and living in the county at the time I certainly didn't pay it much attention.  The whole concept sounds like a great idea in theory if you don't have to live it.  Either way the tactic was enough to lower crime rate (at least on the books) and make him look tough on crime and get him elected from mayor to governor.  Now he just wants to do it again long enough to get himself elected up the chain to POTUS.

To add to that, we are starting to gear up for another gubernatorial election with a couple declared candidates.  The current Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and the Attorney General of Maryland Doug Gansler both seem to say that if we elected them governor it would be better for Baltimore City.  I guess they think they can make some quick campaign promises and snag a few votes or preempt the current mayor from running for governor too.  I am not sure I buy it and think that once either got elected governor they would forget about the city until the next election.  To be honest though, I am only starting to look into who these people are and what they did so far.  I didn't even realize there was a third candidate declared, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Heather Mizeur.  But when it comes time to vote, rest assured, I will be better informed on any decision and not just base my vote on the media blitz that we are about to endure.

So all this renewed attention has once again focused on our lovely city.  Everyone has an idea of how to fix our crime rate.  There will be some grandstanding and maybe some big show and political arm bending and then everyone will get elected to wherever they are going to end up and we will see you all in four more years when we can yell and scream and point fingers for the same old problems that we won't solve andget re-elected.  I wish my letter to you could offer some real and concrete solutions for the city that you will most likely grow up in for the next 13 years till you head out to college.  All I can offer is some intuitive feeling that it somehow starts in the heart and soul of every citizen of Baltimore, be they cop or criminal or average joe, and that somehow starts with you and me.

 Of course, it also starts with me getting informed and realizing they redrew the legislative districts and figuring out just who I am anymore and who represents me.  We used to be Maryland Legislative District 41 but evidently now due to a redraw that took effect in 2012 because of the 2010 census are Maryland Legislative District  44-a, a fact that had eluded me until a recent (incorrect) twitter post of mine.  About 3 blocks down the street it is still district 41 if you are on the north east side of the street.  Sometimes they make it so hard.  I should have realized this change when I got my voting sticker last year but after waiting in line for so long I didn't give it much thought.  I guess that is the price we pay for living right on the border of the city and the county and some gerrymandering wasteland.  Oh well live and learn and learn again when they change it.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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