Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was sworn in on Tuesday for her first full term as mayor. It’s hardly surprising that the primary goal laid out in her inauguration speech was an economic one. “Our number-one goal in the next ten years must be to grow Baltimore—strengthen our neighborhoods, create new jobs, and attract new people,” she said.
Though certain themes came through loud and clear — sacrifice, the greater good, cooperation — the speech avoided defining those terms more specifically.
It did, however, contain at least one concrete objective: draw 10,000 new families to the city in the next ten years. Getting them here will require “a complex web of individual actions and collective sacrifice, a steely resolve to demand better, and a potent sense of urgency to act now.” But what individual actions? What collective sacrifice? And a resolve to demand what from whom? Alas, the most basic details are lacking.
Certainly, there is a point past which a harsh economy and high unemployment become an issue of, as the mayor says, “basic rights,” but at one point Rawlings-Blake goes so far as to compare troubleshooting the economy to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. “Unwilling to wait for government to give them the right to vote, to live where they wanted, or to receive an education, men and women took to the streets,” she said. “We must now draw on that example of collective action and individual determination as we fight for the fundamental rights of Baltimore’s future.”
“Took to the streets,” huh? I wonder if she’s heard of the Occupy movement.