Thoughts on State of the City

| February 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

So yesterday I watched the State of the City  Address on WBALTV.com and, before I get to the speech, I’d like to talk about how tough it was to even watch.  So I logged onto the link to find out as a Mac computer user that you either have to buy a $30 program to watch the Windows Media Player or use a PC.  First of all, as a veteran of the online video community, who uses Windows Media Video anymore?  Flash, Mpeg, Quicktime… anyone?  Also, there sure is a strong percentage of people using Macs and iPads these days, so in order to improve web traffic, you have to cater to all computers.  So I had to pull out my PC to watch the video and every ten minutes or so the server would log you off.  As TV stations used to be the leaders in technology, I find it interesting that a teenager with a flip camera and UStream could have produced a better stream than WBAL.  Anyway, rant over, moving on to the speech.

Here are the points I found interesting and my thoughts:

-Less than 200 murders for first since the 1980s, lower violent crime, lower crime.  Thanked the police.

If people want to say that having 194 murders in the year is nothing to celebrate, I get that, but in 2007 we had 282 homicides.  That is a 88 homicide drop and a 31% improvement.  Culture isn’t going to change over night and that is great progress.  I know these are bigger cities, but in 2011 Philly had 324 and Chicago had 435, so we are by no means alone in having this culture – it exists just about everywhere.  The Wire was a very entertaining show but unfortunately its message about Baltimore crushed us and is now syndicated all over the world.  Having these great drops in crime is huge for our image and a great step.  Great job Commissioner Bealfeld and your staff! And great job to every individual and company out there who reached out to help someone – you all deserve credit.

Mayor Rawlings Blake also mentioned that we need to focus on stopping the trafficking of guns into our city.  Yes, this is incredibly important.  Perhaps this always should have been a prime focus.

-Fewest fire related deaths since 1938

Great job Baltimore City Fire Department.  I also believe this is a credit to better building and renovation standards.

-High School dropout rate is half of 2007, school enrollment has seen a large increase and two new charter schools have opened.

These are all great signs. Mayor Rawlings Blake stated how lucky we are to have Andres Alonso, who is wanted by all city mayors, and I agree.  Once again we have to talk about progress and we are seeing that.  Charter schools are great for the city and should continue to grow. The increase in Baltimore young professionals with families, or who plan to have families in the future, is also certainly helping the schools and will continue to do so in the future.  I  know most accounts I’ve heard of the South Peninsula schools have been pretty positive.

-Back O’Bama’s plan to make students stay in school until age 18

No, no, no, no, no, no, no!  When politicians try to become educators, we get crap like this.  Sure it sounds great on paper, and will make it look like you care, but it will further crush our school systems just like “No Child Left Behind.”  In conversations with teachers, the students who drop out are typically a huge distraction and many times a dangerous influence.  They make the the classroom environment harder for fellow students, harder for teachers and preoccupy administrators’ time.  We need to focus on the students who are trying to better their life and not force those who cause distractions to stay in school. Talk to a teacher, they’ll probably tell you the same thing.

-Back the increased bottle tax to improve school conditions

Go down to Cross St. on a Friday night and see how a bottle of domestic beer is now $4 or more.  Well get prepared to pay closer to $5 soon.  Why? Because our government can’t stop spending money and they want the consumer and the small business owner to carry them through their reckless spending.  Yet our richest companies like Legg Mason and Exelon are getting enormous tax breaks that your average hardworking middle class family and individual doesn’t get – in fact we pay some of the highest taxes in the country.

As a SoBo resident, what am I getting in return?  I have the highest property taxes in the state, the highest personal property taxes in the state and now if I want to buy a beer to handle the stress of 2012 middle class living,  I have to pay for it and potentially $.18 more a gallon.  There isn’t a dollar our government makes that they can’t spend and then they ask for more.  So what are we getting in return?  In South Baltimore our roads have many potholes, our athletic facilities are renovated by Under Armour and Honeywell, our dog parks are built by sponsors and our extra police officers are paid for by bars that make this city millions.

Please, vote against this tax that once again hurts your everyday person and business owner.  If they want to spend more money, they should find it in the budget. We are pulling our weight down here and our leaders have hit the well one too many times!

-Extend the Circulator Purple Line up to 33rd Street

I agree this would be very cool, but based on our meeting with the Charm City Circulator last night, that’s not happening anytime soon.  If they don’t have the money to run half of the Banner Route down Fort Ave. towards the many residents and businesses of Riverside and SoBo, they aren’t extending the Purple Line to Charles Village in the near future.  And this announcement was certainly news to them!  If they want more money to fund this, please see the above topic.

 

Baltimore City has made terrific progress in the last 10 years and we need to continue to grow in every aspect in order to grow as a residential, business and recreational community.  Let’s hope for the best and to be the best we need our brightest and most passionate citizens to voice their opinions when they know things need improving.  Enough politics, let’s go O’s!

 

 

 

The South Baltimore Now Podcast Latest Episodes Produced by Nathan Carper: https://www.natecarpercreative.com

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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