Monday, June 16, 2008

Enough is Enough

Baltimore despite real estate booms in certain neighborhoods around the harbor is still suffering from decades of disinvestment, crime, blight, population loss, poor transit planning, a failing school system, drug addiction, and poor public health. Many people living in these conditions have lost all hope and have given up. I say it's time to get angry and demand better services from all sectors. Baltimore got angry when I-70 was going through Leakin Park and won and when I-83 was going through Fels Point and Canton and won. I say when it comes to "Human Redevelopment" or lack there of; Enough is Enough.
The City has been wasting money by having outside for profit organizations running public schools that have been failing but the schools run by "Edison Schools" (Gilmor, Furman L. Templeton, and Montebello Elementaries) are still scoring low. In Cherry Hill and Morrell Park schools are being run by Towson University and test scores are still disastrous. The city is failing to provide adequate education to an entire generation of students. The High School drop out rate is still among the highest in the nation despite breaking up traditional High Schools and making "Smaller Learning Communities" those same Smaller Learning Communities have gone on lockdown and teachers there have been physically assaulted on numerous occasions. Middle Schools are being shut down in favor of Elementary/Middles which fiscally make good sense but the real reason behind it was that they produced better test scores than traditional Middle Schools. This hasn't been the case in Baltimore but they are safer than traditional Middle Schools. The city is wasting money by keeping schools that are less than half full open and allowing them to rot. I have come up with a solution to build new schools while at the same time reducing the number "seats" and giving teachers, students, and parents the tools that much wealthier School Districts take for granted to assist in giving them the best education possible. Enough is Enough!
One big problem with the City's youth is the drug dealer's recruiting of them and addicts trying to score clean urine off of kids. It's time for City Police to get out of their cars and increase foot patrols before and after school where kids are most vulnerable for gangs and drug dealers to influence them. In a lot of neighborhoods Drug Dealers are the only male roll model for kids because there's a lack of Fathers and positive Male Roll Models. Also Drug Dealers make the most money and the drug trade looks like the most viable option for kids to "make it out" of their poor living conditions and make money. It's time to increase jail sentences for dealers who are convicted of recruiting minors. Enough is Enough!
Public Health has been a huge problem for Baltimore. It has become obvious that we won't have Nationwide Health Care in this lifetime but just because our Federal Government doesn't care about the health of those who can't afford insurance doesn't mean the Cities, Counties, and States have to have the same stance. By not providing health care to all its citizens Baltimore is saying that they don't care about the health of its most vulnerable citizens. In addition to health care access to fresh produce and healthy foods is not widely available. There are many corner stores that sell expired foods and make residents sick. Residents have no choice but to shop at these stores because they don't have cars to go to a better supermarket. It's time for the city to shut these businesses down and replace them with ones that provide good nutrition to the communities they serve. Enough is Enough!Another huge public health issue is drug addiction that can be blamed for a slew of community issues. The spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C can be traced back to dirty needles used for illegal drugs, mainly heroin. To curb these scary trend we need more needle exchange facilities to stop the spread of these health problems. I don't condone the use of illegal drugs and as more needle exchange facilities become available so should resources that and centers to get residents into recovery. Once clean and sober the lives they live can be much more fulfilling and rewarding than if they continued using. Drug addicts in need of a fix turn to crime to get said fix. They rob stores, homes, and people looking for money or possessions they can pawn for drugs. So much of the city's murder rate is drug related. It's time to put drug dealers out of business and have our residents clean and sober and bettering their lives and can be better parents. Enough is Enough!
Photo From the Sharp Leadenhall Master Plan
As Human Redevelopment occurs in Baltimore's poorest neighborhoods they will no longer be poor neighborhoods and the physical condition of the housing stock will improve and the population will grow as they become sought after and as the population grows so will the level of city services. So lets get angry and demand nothing less for every block, neighborhood, and corner of Baltimore! Enough is Enough!

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