Is Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Defense of the Inner Harbor Distorting Baltimore’s Violent Reality?

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On Tuesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake drew attention to the lack of violence at local summer events Sailabration, Artscape, and the Grand Prix to counter claims (such as Del. Patrick L. McDonough’s bigoted rant in May) that our tourist-attracting Inner Harbor is a dangerous place to be. She called out those who “wrongly bash” the city, and pointed to these events as “showcas[ing] the truth about Baltimore.”

As the Sun reports, for many residents those words rang false, even offensive. Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, activist and leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said he (and others “on the ground”) “completely disagree” with the mayor. Johns Hopkins political science professor Lester Spence compared the mayor’s effort to shift focus away from neighborhoods in which violence is a constant presence to Mitt Romney’s apparent write-off of 47 percent of the country. Greater Baltimore Committee president Donald Fry pointed out that in “at least five neighborhoods” murder is the “third leading cause of death.”

What do you think? Is the mayor right to defend Baltimore against what might be an exaggerated image of the city as a murder and crime capital? Or does it amount to a whitewashing of Baltimore’s chronic violence?



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4 COMMENTS

  1. The Mayor should do a better job at curbing the violence that is happening in many parts of the city, istead of pretending that it doesn’t exist. She doesn’t have the political or moral will to get the job done.

  2. Strange syntax. Completely confuses the Inner Harbor, which Rawlings-Blake is talking about, with the neighborhoods that Don Fry and others are talking about. They can both be right. Where were the editors.

    • Hi Martin: I edited the post and disagree. I thought Bob juxtaposed the two sides well.

      But the question remains: Where do you stand? Exaggeration or whitewashing?

  3. I remember when the inner harbor opened back in 1980 – or was it ’79. My family used to go to the black pearl for dinner and relish the view of Federal Hill and the general festive atmosphere. We’d enjoy a walk around the harbor, especially after the aquarium opened.

    Last May my family drove home from a fun dinner in Federal Hill. As we passed the corner of Light and Pratt, a huge group of teenagers (easily numbering in the hundreds) had gathered. Suddenly we saw an altercation develop. In the few minutes it took us to get through the lights and traffic it had become a brawl. Young men and women were pushing and punching each other to the ground. No doubt the police were on their way to break it up, but the days of going to dinner in the inner harbor and enjoying a walk along the waterside looked like a distant memory.

    If Baltimore doesn’t provide better options for its young people we can expect more of this. Ignoring it won’t help at all!

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