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?