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Readers react to last week’s news

Predicting Council “whitewash” on speed cameras, Stokes touches a nerve

“For once I have to hand it to Carl Stokes. Either way, he’s going to come out far ahead of the SRB apologists – the smarter city council members should start distancing themselves from the ‘Yes, Madam Mayor, anything you say, Madam Mayor’ crowd ASAP and start raising some hell.”
– Carol Ott

“‘Lies’ ‘cover-up’ ‘intentionally. . . stealing’ ‘something else is going on here’ ‘whitewash’ ‘bury the facts’ ‘corrupt, lying’ – looks like someone is running for mayor.”
– asteroid_B612

“Councilman Jim Kraft does not have any speed cameras in his district. why would he be given the privilege of the investigation?”
– Rhonda Wimbish, via Facebook

“‘We’ve got to get people to have trust in their city government. It does not help us when members of this body go on the radio and allege that members of this body are corrupt, not doing their duty or have knowledge they aren’t sharing,’ Kraft added.++  On the contrary, if council members actually are corrupt or not doing their duty, calling them out on it and exposing it would be the first step in getting people to trust in city government.”
– Zachary Holbrook, via Facebook

“I think – and I say this as a pretty consistent Democrat – the problem is with one-party rule. For a lot of reason, the Republican Party is a nonexistent farce in Baltimore City, but we need a second party to keep the Dems honest (and the Dems to keep the second party honest).”
– Barnadine_the_Pirate

“We all know that hearing was kept with Kraft because he would carry the Mayor’s water during the hearing. Rest assured that no one in the Mayor’s Office or at Department of Transportation will be held responsible for anything.”
– Lizzie 58

“I’m pretty sure that the Mayor and Kraft are not chummy. He’s gone to bat for a number of issues that the mayor likes to drop on E Baltimore.”
– GXWalsh

“They are in sync on anything that involves real money or real power. For example Harbor Point hundred million dollar TIF; writing checks to property owners who underpaid their real property taxes due to faulty historic tax credit calculations; pushing panhandlers and the homeless off city streets; and the continuing and never ending what to do about traffic on Boston Street.”
– Lizzie 58
Rawlings-Blake seeks another $160,000 for speed cameras

If SRB is serious about saving the children from speeding cars, then $160K could be spent building speed bumps in front of schools.”
– Tony Koenig, via Facebook

“What could go wrong?”
– @baltifishbowl, via Twitter

“Maybe you could use the money to conduct traffic engineering studies at all locations, and evaluate ALL Solutions to improve safety so the best ones can be selected? Permanent and natural compliance can usually be achieved, but of course, it won’t make the city any money, which is all this is about.”
– PhotoRadarscam

“Hiring another consultant to study cameras is just a complete waste of money until they figure out what they are going to do with the Brekford ones they already have.”
– Kathy Blue, via Facebook

“Walk down a block in Guilford. Count the houses as you walk by. Start at ‘one’ and count your way to ‘thirteen.’ When you get to that thirteenth house, turn and look back and try to see the first house you counted. Look at all of those big, historic, lovely homes in a row. Now, take all of the property taxes that those thirteen houses will pay in an entire year. THAT, my friends, is what $160,000.00 in consulting fees looks like.”
– Smiley

“Baltimore County simply refuses to let any independent authority or entity to even see if their speed cameras are working.”
– Scott Jay Regner, via Facebook
The Grand Prix may be over, but the bills keep coming

“The whole Baltimore City Hall has a consumerist mentality. They never seem to understand the nature of any given challenge. They just shop for something or somebody, usually a ‘consultant,’ and buy it. The Grand Prix, like the ridiculous Red Line, or their massively expensive phone system, are just shiny blingy things they buy instead of doing some hard work.”
– Andrew

“Why, or why, didn’t we put speed cameras along the track?”
– Robert Walshe, via Facebook

“To transfer scarce DOT funding from a West Baltimore neighborhood to Downtown solely to pay for road improvements for the BGP and to do so five months after the race is not transparent or good government. Even if the Uplands project is overfunded, there are many other unmet needs in the city.”
– Lizzie 58

“Though reckless as the wind
the spending and the speed–
the fleeting thrill was glorious,
it whistled through the town
its shrill crescendo reverberating
until months later
when the balance sheets were pulled
the citizens they were filled
with the apprehension of folks
who’d been taken for a ride–
the bills due staggering
rent the cold air surrounding–
the equivalent of a jewel heist
but not quite
the crime was swept under a rug–
and no one was arrested for that drag race…”
– Usha Nellore, from “The Drag Race – legal and illegal”
Carnage on the streets fuels soul-searching (and conflict) on the page

“40 years of 1 party rule and the welfare plantation.”

– Piquetour

“There’s a smug, selfish, and sanctimonious segment who snipe from the suburbs – I guess they represent the party that abandoned the city, leaving Baltimore with its “1 party rule.” Hmm. Let’s see. Which party is known as selfish and greedy? These parasites come to enjoy the concerts, museums, restaurants, art, music, history, entertainment, nightlife, performances, sporting events and, after they syphon their fill, they scurry back to their soul-sucking cultural wasteland outside the city. And what do they contribute in return? They only offer shallow, smarmy, self-righteous snark.”
– chriseverett01

“As you bemoan the Baltimore bashing from suburban residents try to remember two things. A. Most were city residents who left begrudgingly as Baltimore saw further and further decline WITHOUT any real solutions from its so called leaders. B. Most importantly remember that it is suburbanites funding everything, as most things in the city are propped up with state taxpayer subsidies.”
– KnowNothingParty

“It is frustrating to hear voices with no feet on the ground comment on the sad state of our City all the while JFXing and 395ing their way over its residence so they can recreate and escape. I would like to encourage the onlooker talking from a distance to at least be a cheering section and devoted fan for those who are actually participating in addressing the challenges of this City. Beyond that it would be extremely valuable if suburbanites honestly evaluated their impact on the City both positive and negative. The things demanded, the patronage of businesses the infrastructure used, the taxes not paid.”

– Jeffrey Carroll

“For what its worth, I grew up in Northern Anne Arundel County and my parents were mugged at gunpoint in Glen Burnie in 1997. We also had to deal with a home break-in a few years before that. In the 12 years I have lived in Baltimore City (mostly in the Northeast) I have never had to call the police once. No break-ins, no muggings, no nothing. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I learned to be careful from seeing what my parents had to deal with growing up. Regardless, it is perfectly possible to live in a neighborhood that isn’t Roland Park or Guilford and still be able to enjoy what this city has to offer without living in fear. For those who are primarily focused on lower taxes, then the County awaits. The City simply can’t compete on that issue. But a very fulfilling life can be had in this town without being a victim.”
– RickinBmore

“I bet when your parents were robbed in AA county, the police took a written report….and if those folks who robbed them were caught(especially if they were clearly identified), they would be looking at some jail time, not simply placed back out in the street.”

– Matthew Reisner

“After living in Baltimore most of my life, purchasing a home, paying taxes, being involved with my community, cleaning up garbage on my block, being one of the people the city should attract, I left to live in an older, inner Beltway, Baltimore County suburb. After having someone threatened my life and attempt to break into my house when my infant son was asleep when I told a bunch of youths to not fight in front of my house and it took 2 months of my wife meeting with community leaders, police sergeants, going to meetings, to get the police to finally take a report, acknowledging a crime had occurred and pursue the person who committed the crime (a youth who lived across the street…who by the way a court found him guilty but gave him no time or fine), I’m done. Where I moved my property taxes are about the same for a 4 bedroom 2000sq foot single family with a garage as what I was paying for a 2 bedroom rowhouse, the schools have a 90% rate of reading on grade leave or higher (vs 50% in the local elementary school I was zoned for in the city), I have good access to reasonably priced, decent quality shopping, all major crime levels are significantly lower, and my stress level has dropped.”
– Matthew Reisner

“I think the problem is less being too poor for pop culture than being too poor to protect one’s children from pop culture. When a kid spends all day playing violent video games and watching violent television without adult supervision because the parent has to work two jobs, what should we expect from that child other than violent behavior?”
– Green Lisa

“I’ll tell you what the ‘elephant in the room’ really is. and there is not a politician in the city or the state who will mention it. let’s just say it’s not politically expedient. the single biggest problem facing civilized society are the unfit parents, and trust me, i’m using the word “parent” advisedly. kids are NOT born nasty; they are raised that way.”

– davethesuave

“Does anyone really think that if these savages were handed huge piles of money, they would suddenly straighten up and become model citizens?”
– Andrew

“Why are you posting a false choice? Who said money instead of education was the answer? We need cops who walk a beat and know the kids before it’s too late.”

– Robyn Su Miller

“Sorry Lawrence. The reality is that the state of the City does discourage people from investing in the City. We pour money into education and it has accomplished very little. The problem is the families and there is nothing any of us can do about that.”
– Timmy Ruppersberger, via Facebook

“@timmy there is actually a lot that can be done to support family stability.”

– Christina Mercer Rigby

“This was my response to the first article: Not every neighborhood–each of which sometimes seem like its own village–has the problems the author’s neighborhood does, but that doesn’t matter.As David Simon has repeatedly said, Baltimore and the country at large seem to have decided that a large class of people are throwaways…See Chang-rae Lee’s new novel, On Such a Full Sea, for a not-so-unlikely idea of where Baltimore may end up if we continue down this path.”
— Barbara Morrison
 City Hall starts process to acquire private land and easements for Red Line

“The city desperately needs more public transit. With that said, from the very beginning, the Red Line has seemed almost as ill-conceived as the existing light rail line (which seems to go out of its way to miss every populated area north of Mt Royal). The biggest mistake is tunneling under downtown. An at-grade line would increase the visibility of public transit as a viable option for Baltimoreans, and would bring the costs down to a far more reasonable level”
– James McBee

“I have yet to hear any of the planners of this Red Line factor in the unpredictable costs of damage to water, sewer and gas lines during construction and after the system starts operating. By all appearances, there will be no predicting the eventual cost of this boondoggle. One need only look at the number of burst water mains that occur regularly in the city to see the potential for trouble.”
– Stan47

“I won’t wade into the pro/anti Red Line thing. But why the hell does it seem like more transit-oriented cities can move these projects along as a decent pace? In Baltimore it takes 5 years to BEGIN the transit discussion, 2 years of political wrangling, 5 years of research, 5 of design, and 10 years to build.”
– krempel

“The most serious Edmondson Ave. deterioration has occurred during the Red Line planning. It’s the same phenomenon as Howard St. and Westport. Investors sit and wait for some grandiose ‘game change’ that never happens. The properties then lose most of their value so that massive city intervention becomes the only possible course. . . That’s why so much of the city’s growth tends to occur where there’s the least transit – Locust Point, Canton, Hampden, out on the Harbor Point peninsula, and the most successful developers don’t hold their breath waiting for it – Paterakis, Beatty, Sapperstein.”
– Gerald Neily

“Red Line 2014 to 3014 – saga incomplete, width of train cars wrong, train tracks wrong, routes wrong, line gauge wrong, distance from bottom of each car to train track wrong, budget VERY WRONG, federal funds unavailable and wrong, street by street, bridge by bridge grading wrong, construction gargantuan and wrong, demolition of existing structures wrongheaded and wrong. Now that we’ve sung the wrong song, what’s right about this project, pray tell me before 3014.”
– ushanellore
Let’s do the small stuff right to turn Baltimore around

“A large concentration of small scale development….yes, that’s what makes cities interesting to people….just like Jane Jacobs said. And not having to use a car is an extra plus. Cars are burdensome, dehumanizing.”
– green lisa

“This article is a minefield of ill-considered references. For example, citing Corey Booker for his ‘leadership.’ Don’t we already have an abundance of people who don’t take care of their properties? Unfortunately, a lot of the misbegotten ideas he notes were begotten by city planners marinating in popular nostrums of their eras. Perhaps the solution is to cashier 90 percent of the planning apparatchiks (BDC and Dept. of Planning included) and pay the remaining 10 percent a lot more to focus on core issues like making sure our water and sewer systems are adequate well into the future rather than inflicting the latest planning theories on unsuspecting citizens.”
– James Hunt

“Yes focus on the smaller incremental projects. The message is overall good. I know that the Red Line is a hot topic, but the author of this article mentioned it 2 times in his article without actually promoting the idea, while promoting dozens of other things. Yet the Red Line sentence is what the commentators are focusing on.”
– Victory G
Seniors criticize poor upkeep of Waxter Center

“‘You know how much I care about the Waxter Center.’ Riiiiight. We can all see how much you care about the Waxter Center. Its demonstrated by the amount of money and time you spend there. But using that same measure, we can see where your care and attention actually resides, Madam Mayor. It’s in the Grand Prix. It’s in developing Harbor East. It’s in Police and Fire overtime.”
– Exoduster

“Great Schaefer’s ghost! Madame mayor sounds like King Louis in Mel Brooks’ ‘History of the World-Part 1’: ‘They are my people! I am their sovereign! I LOVE Them. Pull!’ (shoots peasant flung into air) Drifting to the left…”
– James Hunt

“The administration can pay Century Engineering $160,000 to scout locations for 50 speed cameras, but we cannot renovate and install new bathroom partitions in six bathrooms at the Waxter Center? My Lord! Can private contractors and Midtown non-profits, including GLCCB, not help out here and do this work, at cost, without markup and perhaps donated labor, over the next 60 days? If we can raise funds and bypass DGS, we can fix this problem. I will make a donation.”
– Lizzie 58

“Conceptually, the Waxter Center is a disaster. It’s a relic of the fortress era of urban design and presents a giant hole in the fabric of Mt. Vernon. There were plans to sell the land for redevelopment. Since there is very little evidence of a substantial population of users, hopefully that can still happen. The comment about teenagers and seniors not getting along was amazing though. That’s some serious analysis right there. Jeez.”
Prostitution and other allegations but no police officer to testify

“Prostitution on the Block!! Say it ain’t so!!”
George Lopez

“I’m wondering how one distinguished between a stripper “exposing herself” and a stripper, you know, doing her job.”

– Barnadine_the_Pirate

“she may have shared her most private thoughts.”

– davethesuave

“Which may just have been, ‘Hurry up and get me some clothes! I am cold.’”
– ushanellore

“If anyone notices that my vehicle is in the above picture of ‘The Block,’ I just want to say I only parked there when I went to visit Fudruckers Resturant down the street.”
– KnowNothingParty
Do Board of Estimates rules promote efficiency or abridge free speech?

“Just the latest in ‘knuckle under and shut up.’”
– Sheila Ebelein

“I’d be the last person to advocate for stifling public comment or free speech, but nothing would get done if anyone could comment on anything they wanted at any time they wanted in any manner they wanted. City government is slow enough. Make your speech known to media and in social media, the ballot box, and your councilman’s mail/email box, but getting in the way by being the loudest person in the room often hurts your cause more than helping it (and oftentimes is driven by the enjoyment of hearing one’s own voice rather than effecting real change or any other truly altruistic or civic purpose).”
– Dbaums

“It’s called speaking truth to power, and it’s our right to do so as free American citizens. the fact that it may hinder “the City’s business” is just too damn bad. This administration could use a LOT more hindering. Go On, Trueheart, with your disruptive self. Tip of my hat to you.”
– davethesuave

“I believe Kim Trueheart does a heck of a lot of altruistic things plus disrupting these so called orderly meetings that are no more than a bunch of quid pro quo. . .Thank God we like to hear our own voices–that type of vanity can be a force for change and it is no match for the vanity and the corruption that seem to drive global, national and local politics.”
– ushanellore
Water main breaks at all-time high in January

“Ummm – what happened to the ‘it’s going to last 50 years at least’ expensive pipe relining project where all of the water service pipes in the ‘old’ areas were re-lined because it was going to save us from all of these problems? Was it yet another boondoggle?”
– bmorepanic

“I think you’re thinking of the sewer relining project. These are water mains.”
– hamsnadwich

“No – they did the water mains too – lots of temporary pipe all over town, articles in the Baltimore Sun about how it would take 100 years at the rate they were going. It was done between 5-10 years ago in my neighborhood. I was thinking about what a boondoggle it was and after they finished (new valves, new hydrants, etc.) we were left with two issues – limescale where it never did it before, and 2-3 houses have their connection from the main to the meter break every year causing lots of road patch.”
– bmorepanic

“Just a correction, it’s just called Clarks Hill (not Clarks Hill Road). Otherwise thank you for running this story, the sinkhole on Clarks Hill almost ate my car the other day.”
– Claudlaw

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