Citing the city’s “staggering eviction rate,” “horrid living conditions,” and “legacy of lead paint,” the Huffington Post dubbed Baltimore “the perfect place” for Sen. Bernie Sanders to speak on housing inequality as he campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The Freddie Gray case has thrust Baltimore toward the center of two related national conversations. Gray’s fatal injury in police custody and the ensuing unrest shined a light on Baltimore’s policing practices. The media’s research into Gray’s biography (his poverty-stricken neighborhood of Sandtown-Windchester, his exposure at a young age to lead paint) set Baltimore as the backdrop for a sobering look at economic and housing inequality.
When Sanders brought his campaign to Baltimore on Tuesday, he took what some media outlets called a “Freddie Gray tour,” walking around Sandtown-Winchester and meeting with pastors at the Freddie Gray Empowerment Center. He likened West Baltimore to a “third world country” and, noting the area’s lack of grocery stores, quipped, “It’s very expensive to be poor.”
In the eyes of Huffington Post reporter Julia Craven there was no better place than Baltimore for Sanders to raise these national issues.
“It’s not uncommon to walk down the streets in some parts of Baltimore and see piles of belongings left on the curb,” Craven writes, referring to Baltimore’s “staggering” eviction rates which are second only to Detroit.
Craven cites a report from the Public Justice Center released on Monday which says that the city’s rent court system frequently ignores the “deplorable conditions” renters face in Baltimore.
Also mentioned is Maryland’s largely unenforced lead-paint law, which leaves Baltimore’s childhood lead poisoning rate at nearly three times the national average.
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