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The Trouble with Baltimore

April 30, 2015
A Baltimore protester tosses a gas canister back at the police. Source:

A Baltimore protester tosses a gas canister back at the police. Source:

Baltimore, that vintage mini-metropolis on the Chesapeake, is a 17th-century city with serious 21st-century issues. The death of Freddie Gray in police custody on April 19, tragic as it was, is just the dot on the “i” in issues. But it was enough to trigger a one-night outburst that some observers described as an uprising.

You probably know the backstory, but here it is again, briefly: Gray, a 25-year-old black Baltimorean with a lengthy arrest record for mostly drug-related crimes, was arrested yet again under mysterious circumstances on April 12. (He was carrying a concealed switchblade, which the police had no way of knowing at the time, and he bolted to avoid arrest). Shackled and thrown into the back of a police van without a seat belt, he died just as mysteriously a week later from a nearly severed spinal cord and a crushed larynx.

Another son of the ghetto had met his doom at the hands of the police, and the news swept into the national headlines like so many other similar fatal encounters.

But here’s where the story took a disturbing twist. What started as a peaceful protest on the day of Gray’s funeral had, by nightfall, escalated into mayhem. Rampaging mobs in Gray’s mostly-black West Baltimore neighborhood ransacked a mall, looted and burned a CVS Pharmacy along with several mom-and-pop stores, and set multiple cars on fire. Across town, a nearly-completed senior housing center lovingly built by a black church erupted in flames and was reduced to smoking ruins.

The destruction seemed so wanton, random and irrational that it struck me as urban suicide — the final, desperate gesture of a community with nothing left to lose. These people were burning the last vestiges of enterprise from their own blighted neighborhoods. In a matter of hours, they were destroying what had taken generations to build — and to maintain against the deadly encroachment of urban decay.

Where would the local folk go to buy necessities and have their prescriptions filled? Who in their right mind would launch new businesses there now? The rioters had signed the death warrant for their community, and — consciously or not — maybe that’s exactly what they wanted.

Meanwhile, the police simply stood guard while the fires and the people raged. No warning shots fired, no tear gas, no tanks, no army of occupation.

Just as the cops had overreacted to the demonstrators in Ferguson last summer, they seemed to be consciously underreacting here. Even black-friendly CNN was browbeating them for being too passive in the face of chaos.

I could see the oblique wisdom of their reticence: they didn’t want to come across as enemies of the people — even at the cost of lost property. Baltimore was suffering enough without adding police brutality to the mix.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who took heat for a misinterpreted statement about giving “space to those who wished to destroy,” refused to impose a curfew until the next evening. So the city burned for one night, and the neighborhoods would be more desolate than ever. But nobody else would die.

Are there any lessons to be learned from the Baltimore riot that we haven’t already learned? Was the night of fire and rage a template for race wars to come?

This much is clear: what happened in Baltimore could have happened — could still happen — in Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles or any other American city with a significant population of impoverished black people. Police brutality is just the match that lights the powder keg. And let’s face it: our inner cities have turned into powder kegs.

Why are so many black neighborhoods so poor, so troubled, so violent, so devoid of hope? Racism? A legacy of slavery and institutionalized oppression? The demoralizing effect of white privilege? These left-wing pieties, based on half-truths taught in collegiate seminars, fail to explain the day-to-day realities behind the decay of black communities.

We could round up the usual suspects noted by conservative pundits: laziness, unfettered reproduction, dependence on government handouts. These unkind stereotypes don’t cut it, either.

Finally, we could cite the depressing preponderance of absentee fathers, substance abuse, academic underachievement, sky-high dropout rates, and — based on all of the above — a swaggering male street culture that glorifies gangsterism and crime.

The crime. There’s simply no denying the crime. When only white-on-black violence makes national news, we tend to forget that nearly 95% of black crime victims are victimized by blacks in black neighborhoods. Excessive crime naturally leads to excessive police surveillance, which creates a war-zone atmosphere and ships alarming numbers of black men off to prison or premature death.

Crime also drives out businesses, which eventually tire of the robberies and perpetual vigilance. When businesses disappear, so do local jobs. When jobs disappear, unemployment obviously soars. Unemployed and underemployed people have trouble securing mortgages and other loans, not to mention paying their bills. Homes are abandoned. Property values drop. Healthcare suffers. People languish in joblessness and poverty.

The predictable result: more crime… which sends more people to prison and drives out more businesses… which eliminates more jobs… and on and on until there’s virtually nothing left except a lot of hopeless, angry, alienated black people. It’s a brutal cycle with no visible means of escape.

So what can we do to break the cycle and improve the lot of black communities? For one, stop incarcerating young blacks — or anyone else, for that matter — based on petty drug offenses like possession of pot. We can’t keep shuffling these otherwise blameless men in and out of the prison system and expect black neighborhoods to prosper. (Ex-convicts have a funny way of being denied employment when they’re released.)

Police urgently need to establish better relations with the community, and the community needs to reciprocate by trusting the police. We should all look forward to the day when black people can honestly view their local cops as protectors rather than oppressors.

We need to be fearless in smashing taboos that keep us from uncovering the sometimes unpalatable truths behind black poverty. We might have to conclude, for example, that ordinary garden-variety capitalism doesn’t work in poor black neighborhoods. Or that traditional teaching methods don’t reach the majority of kids in those neighborhoods. Or even that race isn’t an artificial construct after all, but a genetic heritage that — at least to some extent — colors the way we interact with the world.

I was impressed by the character of the ordinary citizens interviewed on TV during the crisis in Baltimore. The gallant minister whose senior housing project burned to the ground — still hopeful, intelligently reflective and free of bitterness. The grizzled veteran who stood with the young demonstrators at night to keep them in line. The famously irate mom who slapped her wayward son upside the head (a little too hard, perhaps, but with the fierce devotion of a parent who cares).

It was reassuring to see that kind of inspiring, dogma-free moral leadership at the grassroots level. Maybe character can prevail over despair and aimlessness. Maybe it can break the insidious cycle of poverty, crime and decay. And then — just maybe — the future of black America won’t seem so bleak after all.


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.



89 Comments leave one →
  1. Bruce R. Gilson permalink
    April 30, 2015 7:28 am

    Unlike Ferguson, where a mostly-black city is run by a white power structure (though they just elected two black city councilmen), in Baltimore the important positions (mayor, police chief, city council president) are all held by black men/women. So that cannot be part of the problem there. It’s not just that blacks feel powerless; it is something that has developed in the Baltimore (and other places) local population. And what will work there I cannot tell. There are obviously in Baltimore many good black law-abiding citizens. But there are enough who are not that it endangers everyone, white and black, in Baltimore.

    • May 1, 2015 12:21 pm

      Bruce: I live in an integrated neighborhood, mostly middle class but covering pretty much the whole spectrum of classes and incomes. We have plenty of wealthy, educated blacks and others who fit the ghetto mentality. Among the latter are some hardworking, good-natured people (mostly women) who try to do the right thing despite their struggles… and others, mostly male, who will never assimilate and will always be a drag on the community. They’re essentially Third-Worlders. They seem to be impervious to education, they get into trouble, and they beget the most children. (One of my neighbors, a middle-aged man who lives with his niece, told me he has 13 kids.) They’ll always be outsiders, and yet their numbers are legion.

  2. April 30, 2015 7:36 am

    This shit has become boring. I, for one, have ceased to care. How many billions have been dumped into the “problem” of black crime, black poverty and dysfunctional black young men? It has become a business and gamesters will keep the game going. How long can this all be chalked up to racism?

    We have a black POTUS, AG, UN Ambassador, Director of Homeland Security. Baltimore has a black mayor and police chief. Can’t get a fair investigation of possible police brutality? Right.

    Racism? I am not seeing it and I am no longer wiling to have a finger pointed my way.

    My message to Baltimore? You broke it, you fix it.

    The funny thing is, as the majority population becomes Hispanic, who will the blacks turn to? Do you thing President Gonzales will give a rats ass about the problems of poor black men?

    • May 1, 2015 12:26 pm

      Right… we can’t just keep throwing money into this money pit. We have to start thinking outside the box and face some uncomfortable truths (and so do blacks): why are most black people still poor after 50 years of government programs and affirmative action? Why are they poor even in countries that they govern? (The legacy of colonialism, no doubt.) Reform has to start within the black community… but I think the police also need to reform the way they conduct their business in inner-city neighborhoods. It might be a brutal environment, but they don’t have to act brutally. As for collective guilt… like you, I’m not buying it.

    • asmith permalink
      May 26, 2015 1:25 am

      A theme you echo is being picked up.

      Rick may not be able to decipher the of black poverty, but one thing is clear – some of the worst places in the country to be poor and black are liberal urban regions that have been the political domain of the left for half a century or more.

  3. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2015 8:07 am

    I think you got it just right for the most part, especially the last paragraphs.

    Too many people are going to blame blacks as an entire group. The burning was done by probably less than 1%. Why didn’t the other 99% just somehow stop them? Not so simple to stop violent crazy people once their fuse has been lit, the police with all of their resources have a devil of a time doing it and don’t always manage. The cases you mention of community members trying to prevent this tragedy are beautiful but it is not surprising that it was not sufficient.

    You may remember my own Baltimore story of getting a lost in the Baltimore inner city, “the Ghetto”, as the black cop called it before he raced off with his siren screaming. A nice black lady led me out of it, she knew I should not be there and helped me out. Like anywhere, there are many, many decent people in the inner city, the vast majority in fact. How they keep their humanity is a wonder under such circumstances, but they do.

    That bit about “black friendly CNN” is a give in to the idea that that media caused of helped to cause this, which is absurd. Nobody should die of a severed spinal cord and a crushed larynx in police custody, the idea that the media should ignore that or that if they cover it and people’s reaction to it they are fanning the flames or behaving like shameless left wing activists does not pass the laugh test. This is a conservative riff, an ineffective one. The mainstream media are not left-wing activists, there is no left wing audience that can pay for the advertising that is their life blood. They are geared to the sensibilities of the average American. I’ll say it again, the media Do cover sensational crimes committed by black thugs. I can list them easily and I do not go looking for them. But crimes committed by criminals are not going to generate the same heat as crimes committed by the Police. For obvious reasons white people are not going to riot over black crimes, so there will be little coverage of the rage of white victims of black crimes.

    I certainly do not damn the Police as a whole, but there is clearly a subset who have more power than the wisdom to use it and they seem to be brought to justice by the inner mechanisms of the police force very incompletely. It may well have been a black cop who crushed Grey’s windpipe, the story is not racism as such, its police brutality by a small subset of cops. I know the cops are fighting a war, a very necessary war, but just like in an overseas battlefield war crimes do not help the cause.

    As to how fix this, you have some very sensible ideas. Here is another one: Inner city Baltimore is a wasteland infrastructure wise, it has decayed, I mean the buildings, to the point where it should be obvious to anyone driving through that a tragedy has occurred here, New Orleans after the Hurricane could hardly have looked worse. It has to be rebuilt, people have to get together and figure out how to fund and manage the complete rebuild of the falling down buildings in Baltimore. This is not going to happen without government being involved, the private sector is obviously not going to rush in to inner city Baltimore and start making loans. Its a cancer waiting to metastasize, its a defeat for America to let that sit.

    • May 1, 2015 12:40 pm

      Roby: Collective guilt is such a primitive Old Testament notion that I find it hard to believe how long a shadow it has cast over us. Both the right and the left still use it as political currency. I like to make generalizations, of course, but I try never to judge individuals based on my opinion of the class they belong to.

      As for my reference to “black-friendly” CNN — well, every time an “unarmed black man” gets killed by police, it automatically becomes a cause celebre on CNN (and other news outlets as well). Yes, I’ve seen news stories about white people murdered by blacks, but they never become front-page headlines and — more often than not — we have to deduce the race of the murderers by their names.

      As for white people being killed by cops (almost a two-to-one ratio over blacks killed by cops), I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these incidents make the headlines. There was one case in Utah last year of a white kid who was shot by a cop because he was wearing headphones and didn’t hear the order to stop. Did it generate week-long coverage on CNN? Of course not, because it wasn’t part of the “black lives matter” narrative. This kind of imbalance in coverage just perpetuates an inflammatory false narrative — that cops have it out for young black men. I think it’s a more general cop problem; they really need to use more restraint in rounding up suspects, white or black.

      • Roby permalink
        May 1, 2015 7:36 pm

        Of course the cops have it out for black young men, or at least a subset of them, and those black young men have it out for the cops. Not to admit that is actually just PC at its best. The sides are adversaries, often deadly ones. If I were a white cop patrolling an black inner city neighborhood, aka the ghetto, I would definitely have it in for the bloods and expect the same in return. It would bring out every negative fear-based human emotion I have. I’d be a terrible cop, I’d lose it right away. It would take an extraordinary person to do that job with complete calm and objectivity, and there may be a small number of cops who are like that, but not many, because there are not many people like that. Its a gigantic failure of imagination among many people, not to understand that a cop patrolling the ghetto is not sister Teresa performing religious charity work, he is a professional armed person in a hostile environment there to remove dangerous criminals from their home turf. He is is pissed, judgmental, and full of adrenalin and he just about has to be. As well it is the same failure of imagination to not understand that the bloods are by this point in their lives programmed to create havoc and that is that, no normal life is in sight for them.

        That is not the life and outlook of every cop, certainly not the cops in my peaceful state. but its the life of cops in an inner city in a state of economic dysfunction and near collapse.

        Having the black inner cities patrolled mostly by black cops would remove one element of the bad blood between cops and young black men, I do not know why that is not more common.

        At some point in the decline of a city the critical mass of people without a normal life is reached and then this kind of thing is out of control and intermittent chaos is inevitable. Preventing that level of poverty from occurring is the only real solution to the kind of life in hell battle between the cops and the bloods you have in Baltimore.

        CNN is just weird, they chose a story and then cover it non stop. I see them when I am in public places, like I was today. The sound is turned off and I can only wonder how it is possible for them to talk about the same thing nonstop for days on end, when everything that is known could be stated in 5 minutes, tops. Last time I noticed them it was the Malaysian airliner disappearing. It could be anything, as long as that thing is the latest sensational story. Its not activism, its business. I guess we are not going to agree on this.

  4. Priscilla permalink
    April 30, 2015 8:24 am

    Baltimore, like Detroit, is an example of a city that has been destroyed by 50 years of unilateral progressive rule. Over 60% of its population is black, over 80% of its population (almost 90%, in fact) voted for Obama. As Bruce and JB note, most, if not all of the powerful political positions in Baltimore are held by African-Americans, and the billions of $$ poured into entitlement programs, schools and other programs to “end poverty” is incalculable. The level of cronyism and union corruption in the schools, police force and local government is similarly incalculable.

    Although she now denies it, the Mayor of Baltimore is said to have to have told the police force to stand down on the first night of rioting, apparently to allow the rioters to….I don’t know, get it out of their system? She has steadfastly refused to announce the progress, or lack of such, of the investigation into Freddy Gray’s death, and, last night, The Washington Post reported last night that the only other prisoner in the van that carried Gray, has testified that, throughout the trip, Freddy Gray seemed to be slamming himself violently against the walls of the van, in an attempt to hurt himself and blame it on the cops. Oh, and that the cops have urged the investigation to look at the GPS in the van, to rule out the possiblity that Gray could have been thrown around in a “rough ride” (which I assume would have affected the other prisoner, as well) Police sources say that the reason that Gray was shackled and unseat-belted was because of his extreme level of resistance to his arrest. Does this mean that the police are not culpable in Gray’s death? No, but it certainly seems that, again, as we have seen in the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases, there has been, not only a rush to judgment, but a rush to escalation to make this situation fit the Al Sharpton-style “civil rights struggle” mode.

    A few questions: Why have we seen repeated outbursts of race rioting over the past 5 years, but not for 10 years prior, when race relations in this country seemed to be calming? Who benefits from this sort of urban rage and violence? Why have the aforementioned billions of dollars not only failed to stop the decline of inner-city Baltimore, but apparently made it worse, and by several orders of magnitude? When politicians ratchet up the rage level of poor and hopeless people who have nothing to lose, and that rage then explodes into violence, can the genie be put back into the bottle? And, finally, is throwing more billions of dollars at Baltimore the way that this problem will be solved?

    • Roby permalink
      April 30, 2015 9:11 am

      I do not the the mayor a pass, her remark and her decision were incomprehensible, the worst of all the bad answers.

      Grey was a self destructive jackass, yes, but no amount of throwing himself at van walls would have both nearly severed his spinal cord and crushed his larynx. He pissed someone off who lost control. I’m rushing to judgement.

      With a population of 620,000, of course billions have been spent, that is a few thousand per person over many years. Taxes on Baltimore residents explain that unextraordinary sum of money. The place is an utter shithole, spend enough to remove the buildings that are falling down at least or better rebuild them, giving people jobs. A no brainer.

      “Progressive” rule explains this? What exactly does progressive mean? To me its a party that is well to the left of liberals, it exists in small and ineffective form in Vermont. Or does it mean anyone who is not conservative?

      What I know and what I suspect you know about the policies that have been followed by government in Baltimore is next to nothing and to actually understand even the rough outline of that question would take more study than anyone here is going to have time to do, in fact understanding Baltimore would be the hard work of several years of analysis. Blaming this on Progressive government might itself be a “rush to judgement”? I would call it that because it would be based on nearly no real detailed knowledge of the situation in Baltimore, a pure ideological response.

      Yes, conservatives are going to tend to respond to Baltimore with some form of I don’t care, or blaming progressives. Its not helpful and the problem will really eventually bite even those of us who live far from any inner city. Personally it scares me to see any large part of America left to rot and I’ll bet it scares the bejeesus out of people living in Maryland, Washington DC next perhaps? The nations capital?

      • jbastiat permalink
        April 30, 2015 9:42 am

        Yes, conservatives are going to tend to respond to Baltimore with some form of I don’t care, or blaming progressives. Its not helpful and the problem will really eventually bite even those of us who live far from any inner city. Personally it scares me to see any large part of America left to rot and I’ll bet it scares the bejeesus out of people living in Maryland, Washington DC next perhaps? The nations capital?

        I will call bullshit on this. Left to rot? How many years has this crap been going on? At some point, folks need to get out the mirror and check out what they see. I am not the one having children out of wedlock, etc,etc etc.

        Sorry, this boat has sailed for me. 50 years later, same shit, different year.

  5. Priscilla permalink
    April 30, 2015 10:55 am

    So, let me get this straight. It’s ok to look at the “root causes” of urban decay and racial violence, as long as we don’t blame any of it on politics? Or, more specifically, on progressive, left-wing politics? Because after all, it is certainly acceptable to blame budget and tax cuts for the failure of urban school districts, despite the fact that those very same districts are awash in federal cash. And tax increases, particularly on the “rich” are always just dandy. But if we dare say (in our tiniest and most polite voices) “maybe we should try a different approach here, work across the aisle to find cost-effective solutions and stop blaming racism and conservatism for all urban ills,” that’s not helpful? Ok, roger that. We go nowhere at light speed……

    I am more familiar with New York than I am with Baltimore. As almost everyone acknowledges, New York flourished under the mayoralty of Rudy Guiliani, even as he cracked down on small time criminals that now, under Bill DeBlasio are given a pass. Crime continued to decline under Michael Bloomberg, who championed “stop and frisk”, allowing cops to question suspicious persons. In the last couple of years, since these “racist” policies have been stopped, murders and violent crime in NYC has risen dramatically. And who are overwhelmingly the victims of these violent crimes? Hint : not white people.

    I believe that there are solutions. And I do not believe that either liberals or conservatives have the monopoly on the best solutions, nor that either side is wrong on everything. But I do know that, in the case of a city like Baltimore, there has been zero opportunity or attempts to try anything other than pouring good money after bad, and enriching the most corrupt and cynical of politicians and cronies.

    Hell, if I lived in the hell hole that is inner city Baltimore, I’d probably riot at this point too. It’s amazing that so many are still willing to stand for peace in their community.

  6. April 30, 2015 11:21 am

    Interesting commentary…not. It’s the same old conservative criticism that I’ve heard before; nothing much moderate about it. While I also find the complete mindless idiocy of the mob rule to be appalling, you’re totally overlooking the way it began: not with the peaceful demonstration, but with the obvious *murder* of this long-term criminal while in police custody. If you want to rail on about the idiocy of mob rule, and the self-destructive nature of it, why not take a stab at the idiocy of the power elite rule, and the totally *brain dead* act of murdering someone in custody this way…and not expecting repercussions? I, myself, am more concerned about the abuse of power than the desperation of the hopeless and oppressed. It could happen to any of us, at the rate it’s going. Instill hope and the mob rule will disappear. I wonder what it will take for people to actually *get it* about how horribly damaging it is to the public trust when those in power and authority so brutally abuse it. It’s sooooo much easier to kick the victims of suppression, isn’t it?

    • jbastiat permalink
      April 30, 2015 11:34 am

      The obvious murder? Really, you were there?

      Let’s wait for the investigation before we string up the cops. Remember: “Hands up, don’t shoot?

      • May 1, 2015 12:57 pm

        Welp, jbastiat, all 6 officers have now been charged in Gray’s death, murder and manslaughter. Back to my point….

      • jbastiat permalink
        May 1, 2015 1:53 pm

        No need for a trial, right?

    • Priscilla permalink
      April 30, 2015 11:40 am

      cougrrl, who do you think that the “power elite” are – the ones that “murdered” Freddy Gray that is? And, what would your suggestions for instilling hope be?

      These are not rhetorical questions.

      • May 1, 2015 1:01 pm

        Yes, Priscilla. “Power elite”, in this specific case, would be the officers who were involved in this incident. Generally speaking, “power elite” would refer to all people in a position of power-over-others, particularly those carrying weapons and/or the power to arrest one’s freedom of movement…also could be used to refer to those who are essentially “untouchable” by virtue of their being unspoken top power brokers behind the scenes who push any agenda that is contrary to the spirit of the United States Constitution.

        My suggestion for “instilling hope” begins with holding the abusers of power accountable for their abuses…as is thankfully occurring with regard to these 6 Baltimore officers. Charge them to the fullest extent of the law. Holding the power elite accountable for their actions, showing all citizens that no one is above the law, is the first step to instill hope in these impoverished communities.

      • Priscilla permalink
        May 1, 2015 6:59 pm

        So, in your view, cops are the “power elite” because they carry weapons? I suppose that violent criminals would be the “power elite” when they are raping or robbing people at gunpoint, in that case?

        I just love people who are like:

        “Fuck the police!”

        (the police leave)

        “I need help!! Where are the police?!?”

        Don’t you?

        ….As far as holding cops accountable when they break the law and/or abuse their power, we agree. And that would certainly go a long way to creating trust between the community and law enforcement.

        How it would instill hope in those who have nothing, I’m not sure.

    • jbastiat permalink
      May 1, 2015 2:04 pm

      Well, this may not be QUITE as straight forward as you think, Cowgirl.

      “The union requested a special prosecutor in the case, saying Mosby had conflicts of interest including a friendship with the Gray family’s lawyer, Billy Murphy, who contributed to her campaign. Murphy was among Mosby’s biggest campaign contributors last year, donating the maximum individual amount allowed, $4,000, in June. Murphy also served on Mosby’s transition team after the election.

      Mosby, meanwhile, swiftly rejected a request for a special independent prosecutor.”

  7. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2015 11:49 am

    “In the last couple of years, since these “racist” policies have been stopped, murders and violent crime in NYC has risen dramatically. And who are overwhelmingly the victims of these violent crimes? Hint : not white people.”

    Actually, this turns out not to be very true. I admire the policing tactics that Guliani and Bloomberg are associated with and so far I think that DeBlasio is an idiot, and likely to be one term idiot. However your statewment is just wrong according to the data I could quickly find.

    The article has an alarming headline about a 20% spike in murders in 2015 but that is based on 54 vs 45 over the first two months and the article provides background on why that is NOT actually some vst loss of control. Nearly every word and statistic of the article itself provide a different and more reassuring story.

    “The city would record 324 murders by year’s end at this pace, which would be less than the 328 murders across the five boroughs in 2014, the lowest since 1963. The murder count for 2013 was 335.”

    Unless I am misreading the murder rate in 2014 was the lowest since 1963, with 2013 being nearly as low and 2015 projected to be similar. Crime as a total is down: “But overall, crime has dropped 11% in most major crime categories, including burglary, robbery, rape, grand larceny and auto theft.”

    I will respectfully say again that I doubt that you really have any detailed knowledge of the policies and politics of Baltimore, you very likely have rushed to judgement. Lets see, Baltimore is overwhelmingly black and they vote democratic, is that the same as “progressive, left-wing politics”? There is a huge difference between the two actually, as large as the difference between being white, voting republican and adhering to right-wing politics. I question the ability of a city such as Baltimore to carry out any of the policies I associate with left wingers, no such resources exist to plunder in Baltimore.

    Priscilla, take a deep breath, I never said it was not OK to question the politics, simply I disagree with your overly broad statement, and I also did so in my most polite voice.

    • Priscilla permalink
      April 30, 2015 12:25 pm

      Roby, I certainly don’t want to go back to our bad old days of less than cordial disagreement! Seriously, over the years, I think that we have come to a place where we can disagree in our polite voices….and even agree surprisingly often.

      So, first of all, I think that we are probably defining “progressive politics” differently. We can get into the weeds on that one later, but my main point is that, since 1967, the city has been governed 100% by the most liberal of Democrats and state and federal monies have been spent, to the tune of billions, on programs that have failed miserably. Yet, the other day, when Obama took questions from the press on the problems plaguing the city’s residents, he lamented that this Congress (read Republicans) would not “invest” in urban communities. I read that as preemptive blame for further failures, but I could be too much on the defensive. What I don’t think I’m wrong about is that his idea of investing in urban communities will not differ significantly from the massive investments that we have already made, ones that have failed….or, in liberal-speak have not been “adequately funded”.

      And, let me clarify a couple of things here: On Freddy Gray….I am not buying the story that he injured himself, no more than I am buying the story that he was brutally beaten by the cops. I don’t know what happened. And, at this point, it is looking more as if we may never get the full story. But the politicians that have chosen to use his death to incite rage and hatred towards police are not serving the cause of justice. They are serving their own cause. And I worry that they will not be able to control what they are unleashing.

      Also, I do not believe that Republicans have the answers. But I question the assumption that conservative solutions cannot work, especially when there are clear examples of situations in which they have.

      Finally, there are lies, damn lies and statistics: the Daily News says all is hunky dory in NYC.

      Not everyone agrees..

      We’ll call it a draw for now. 😉

      • Roby permalink
        April 30, 2015 12:58 pm

        I am doing way too much arguing which is something I had forbidden myself to do , ha, ha. But, while I value our long history of improving our tones (and mostly it was my manners that needed it) and not looking to have a less than civil exchange I am going to stand on my point:

        1st: “Baltimore, like Detroit, is an example of a city that has been destroyed by 50 years of unilateral progressive rule. ”

        2nd: “But if we dare say (in our tiniest and most polite voices) “maybe we should try a different approach here, work across the aisle to find cost-effective solutions and stop blaming racism and conservatism for all urban ills,” that’s not helpful?”

        I cannot find one iota of your tiny and polite question in your first statement that simply and clearly and totally blames progressives, whoever they are. According to Dave they are anyone who still believes that government can help anyone, which actually is still most of us. It is sounding to me like that may be your definition as well, since I will be astonished if any candidate who got elected to a major office in Baltimore ran as a progressive.

        I don’t believe that a single moderate here, including Rick or myself, have blamed conservatives or racism for what has happened in Baltimore. Your initial statement was a perfect example of ideological thinking/warfare. As well, you are flat out wrong regarding the last several years in NY. The Daily News is not a paper that can be confused with the dreaded Liberal Media and they made a headline that advertised woe and trouble. The article itself was based on statistics and interviews that were used honestly and did not back up the tone of the headline. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts.

        “In the last couple of years, since these “racist” policies have been stopped, murders and violent crime in NYC has risen dramatically.” 2014 had the lowest murder rate in NYC since 1963 and 2013 was similarly low and 2015 is not on a path to be very different. You cannot reconcile your ideological statement with these facts. Sorry, I’m not taking a draw on this one.

        As a large generality I will say that what I expect from the two basic ideologies in a situation like this is useless finger pointing at the other ideology. From conservatives I expect some version of either “I don’t give a rats ass” or “Its the fault of the liberals”. From liberals I expect well meaning but disastrously naive plans to fix things and blaming of conservatives.

        This is why I am a moderate, the middle path. I am sick to death of the game of using each new crisis or situation to reinforce ones ideological preconceptions and even perhaps look at it from the standpoint of political gain in the next election. Its a far cry from applying common sense and common decency and actually trying to fix anything in a rational way. In fact its a total impediment to that.

      • Priscilla permalink
        April 30, 2015 1:14 pm

        Roby, with all respect, I think you are more interested in proving me an ideologue than in debating the merits of my point, which is that politics is corrupt and single party politics is dangerous. I will accept the blame for not communicating my position clearly, and for making a poor case.

  8. Ron P permalink
    April 30, 2015 12:58 pm

    I won’t repeat all the items already mentioned about liberals and the impact that it has had on cities across the country. Everyone seems to agree.

    But I will comment one a couple items.
    1.) I do not understand how Rick can say that “Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who took heat for a misinterpreted statement about giving “space to those who wished to destroy,”” was misinterpreted. She said what she said and it was very plain and clear how she said it. There was no parsing of her words by the media. Those that destroyed understood her words completely. I understood her words. Now she may have said what she wanted to say incorrectly, but asking someone to interpret words like this differently in not an excuse for the words she spoke.
    2.) If has been reported from multiple media sites that the police were given a direct order by the mayor to stand down Monday night. That is why they retreated when the demonstrations got out of line. And that could have prevented a lot of damage that occurred. No one will know if the CVS and senior center would still be standing had the police responded.
    3.) It has also been reported by multiple media sources that the governor was waiting for the call for the national guard and the mayor fought him on this call. He finally “forced” her to make the call. (Now what forced means, that has not been reported)
    4.) The Baltimore police department is over 40% black, so how can racism play a role in police tactics. Do the police personnel live in the neighborhoods they patrol, or have they come to think of inner city black males as “thugs”, much the same as many whites think? In some instances, black males can be much harser than whites on other black males.

    Politicians have created all of these problems. They are corrupt and if the decisions made do not benefit them financially, they do not make the decision. Do they live in the neighborhoods in East Baltimore? Does the mayor still live in that neighborhood, or do they live in a better part of town? The corruption has prevailed for 40-50-60+ years, not just in Baltimore, but all large cities. Money flows into the community (with Baltimore having one of the highest tax burdens in America), but little makes it back to the black community. That does not benefit the politicians. The money flows where they benefit.

    So all the do-gooders and bleeding heart liberals can keep talking about funding, more for this and more for that, but until the politics are cleaned up, the cities will continue to rot.

    • Priscilla permalink
      April 30, 2015 1:17 pm

      Totally agree.

    • Roby permalink
      April 30, 2015 1:34 pm

      Perhaps I’m just one of those do-gooders/bleeding heart liberals but if I have to choose between paying to attempt to cure cancer or just letting it continue until the mythical day when we achieve the promised land where politicians are no longer corrupt, I will chose to pay. No mindlessly, not for any old stupid thing that feels good, but for building projects that go with job training. No American city can be left to rot as Baltimore has. It does not mean that we have to revert to the most disproven and naive liberal solutions, but money should flow into rebuilding the infrastructiure any inner city or other area that has fallen to the state that Baltimore has, that situation is intolerable. Did I cause the rot, No I didn’t. How many things do I pay for with my taxes that fall under the heading of problems that are not specifically my fault? Geez, I could live tax free if it comes down to only paying to fix things that are my fault.

      I chose to support using my tax money for honest attempts to fix serious problems that left unsolved will change my country much for the worse. If that makes me a liberal then there are a lot more so-called liberals than the polls find.

      • jbastiat permalink
        April 30, 2015 2:20 pm

        In the main, liberals love to play on “collective guilt.” So, even if you don’t have a racist bone in your body, you are still guilty because you are white. Or, because you have stuff, or, well, you get the picture.

        Well, I used to fall for that crap too. Hey, I went to college, I got indoctrinated to think that way.

        No more. The race hucksters need not send any of that false crap my way. I am closed for business.

        So is my wallet.

      • April 30, 2015 4:43 pm

        Roby, I have no problem whatsoever with your positions and spending money that goes to help those that need help. If a company comes in and tells Baltimore they want to build a plant in the middle of East Baltimore and it is going to generate 100 new jobs, but they want tax breaks for a number of years, I am 100% behind that project. If the school system comes and says they need 500K to give students new computers so they can have access to information that the middle class kids have, I am all for it.

        What I am not for is the corruption in politics that results in black communities looking like Chicago, Compton (outside LA), Baltimore and other cities that are blighted. If you have 1 million dollars to give for cancer research (since you used this as an example), are you going to give that money to individuals that have worked on medical solutions for 60 years, spent millions and millions on their pet projects and have not produced one smidgen of medical data that can be used for any medical purpose, but only have large amounts of assets acquired over the years from the grants, or are you going to find researchers that have some proven record over 60 years of research where money does do some good.

        You may decide to give more money to corrupt politicians and that is your call. One can look back to the Bell California, (or maybe Bellflower) to find what I believe is one of the few cases where corruption has been proven, but that same situation exist in most cities where poverty is present. And that is what I find unacceptible and I am unwilling to support any more money going to those purposes. I would rather sit on the corner and hand the money directly to the residents daily instead of funneling it through city government.

        But to blame one party or the other for the situation that exist is unacceptible given the reasons I have already posted over the past couple days concerning Baltimore.

    • May 1, 2015 12:50 pm

      Ron: I’m running out of time, so just a quick reply here. What the mayor meant to say was that by giving protesters a space to demonstrate, she [inadvertently] also gave space to the more violent protesters who looted and burned. It was just a case of “failure to communicate.” As for the makeup of the police force, I was hoping that the cops who arrested Gray would be a racially mixed lot, but unfortunately, they all appeared to be white. Not sure if black cops would have treated Gray differently, but of course we’ll never know.

    • May 1, 2015 1:05 pm

      Politicians have created many of the problems…and yet, we turn to them for solutions, too? Houston, we have a problem. 😉

      • May 1, 2015 1:27 pm

        Yes we do keep turning to them for solutions AND we keep reelecting them to the same positions in many cases for years and years. Maybe the solution is as easy as term limits for all positions where they can’t be bought off as easily as they are now. Not sure, just a thought.

  9. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2015 1:22 pm

    “Roby, with all respect, I think you are more interested in proving me an ideologue than in debating the merits of my point, which is that politics is corrupt and single party politics is dangerous. I will accept the blame for not communicating my position clearly, and for making a poor case.”

    OK, I can agree with your point as clarified and will admit that after I reread my last post I could see that I myself am using this to reinforce My Own ideological beliefs that the right right and left are both wrong. I admit to my hypocrisy. I am also an ideologue; my ideology is moderate but its still an ideology and I still constantly find its correctness in reading the daily news and reactions to it. Ouch.

  10. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2015 3:26 pm

    “In the main, liberals love to play on “collective guilt.” So, even if you don’t have a racist bone in your body, you are still guilty because you are white. Or, because you have stuff, or, well, you get the picture.”

    Probably true as a generality. But for me its just practical, I don’t feel guilty or like a terrible racist, I just can’t let things go to hell that can possibly be fixed in my country. I don’t know whether they can in fact be fixed, but not trying, to me, is a giant mistake. I am perfectly aware that many of the purely liberal schemes are naive and may be more likely to perpetuate helplessness. Teaching job skills is a winner. I say that from personal experience because I was in one of those programs and it did me a great deal of good. The need to combine that with repairing/rebuilding areas where the infrastructure is falling apart seems highly practical.

    • jbastiat permalink
      April 30, 2015 3:36 pm

      “Teaching job skills is a winner. I say that from personal experience because I was in one of those programs and it did me a great deal of good. The need to combine that with repairing/rebuilding areas where the infrastructure is falling apart seems highly practical.”

      That works when someone wants to actually learn something of value. That said, burning down your own neighborhood and looting the stores there seems to me to be obviously counterproductive.

      Do you think these thugs really want to learn how to weld?

      Likely not. An attitude shift has to happen or no amount of outside help will mean a thing IMHO. If black America thinks its all about others doing it for, or to them, then all is pretty much a moot point. How is that any different than slavery without the fence?

      • Roby permalink
        April 30, 2015 3:51 pm

        I agree with your point that people have to want to learn.

        You are taking the worst cases as the average cases. Its a sort of guilt by association. Most of the people in the inner city are not looters and burners. If they were, there would be nothing there at all. Most people there are basically normal, they just live in the same area of town where the thugs/looters live. They want to eat, they want to work, they want a normal stable life.

      • jbastiat permalink
        April 30, 2015 4:03 pm

        They may and I hope you are right. Without the police in those particular areas, life would be much harder for the “good folk.” So, a little less outrage by the so-called leaders of the black community might be in order, no?

        If the cops stay home, the thugs will rule. Seems obvious to all, except the knot head mayor of Baltimore.

      • April 30, 2015 5:17 pm

        jb when was the last time you saw a high school teaching a vocation like welding to 14 year old kids so they had a vocation when they graduated? Around here students that do not plan to attend college at any level must complete 4 years of english, Algebra 1, Geometry and two semesters of some other math, physical science, Biology, earth science and one other science.Then history and other social studies that add up to enough credit hours, and they can graduate.

        Whoopie!!! What the hell are they going to do with that crap. How does that help them weld a pipe, build a mold for a rear end gear for a Caterpillar mining truck, construct a home or become a mason to lay bricks or rocks.

        My dad become a tool and die maker because he had vocational training before WW2 in high school and provided a very nice middle class income from that job. Today that same training is missing because educators think everyone needs the same opportunity to go to college, so they pigeon hole everyone into the same classroom training.

        And looking at the Baltimore graduation requirements, they are not much different than those in North Carolina. And guess what, those black Baltimore kids that are making problems, they could care less about college, but they might be interested in building something if given the opportunity in high school. They might become a welder, mason or mechanic and make enough to move out of the slums if someone would show interest in their interest and not try to make them college geeks they have no desire to be.

        So yes “teaching skills is a winner”. But when was the last time high schools taught a skill instead of some of the crap they teach today.

        And I do not blame one party or the other for this. I blame society for allowing this to happen and not until we give the training required for different groups with different professional desires will anything change,

      • April 30, 2015 5:57 pm

        I don’t blame “society” for anything. I think (but don’t know) that vo-tech high schools are still around (hope so). In my state, the community colleges really are the trade-schools. Open admissions, as long as you do the work, you get your degree.

      • April 30, 2015 6:08 pm

        Well that means they have to go through 4 years of crap before they get to anything they might be interested in. They can get in a lot of trouble and drop out between 14 and 18 when they can go to community college.

        They need to teach these kids how to make money at least beginning in high school. Who cares if A squared times B squared equals C squared if your sitting in jail because you were caught snatching a purse at 15 year old. Teach a kid how to weld at 14 and he might get a summer job helping the corner muffler man and make a few dollars. (And don’t tell the government because they don’t think a 14 year old should be working)

        But I also expected my kids to earn money when they were very young, helping mom, grandma and then the neighbors if they could. I did not wait until they had graduated to begin teaching them how to earn money.

      • April 30, 2015 6:15 pm

        One of the challenges (thanks Obama) is the sheer number of no/low skilled workers coming across the border that Obama is simply going to legalize.

        No problem there, right?

    • April 30, 2015 4:49 pm

      Roby, today a single mom can get assistance that has a value of close to $35,000 in Baltimore. If you were to go into that town and propose to cut that assistance AFTER each person receiving those benefits had gone through a job training program and assistance in obtaining a job had been provided, what reaction do you think you are going to get?

      I have my own thoughts, but would like to hear yours and how that would work to bring Baltimore out of the dumps.

      • Roby permalink
        April 30, 2015 5:27 pm

        Can you tell me the source of the $35,000? That sounds high, like an incentive to be a single mom. My understanding is that welfare is now cut off if a 2nd child arrives, which is only common sense. There has to be some kind of time limit on that too, during the first few years of the childs life, as well. Say two years. Otherwise, why should anyone go back to work? Actually though there is a good reason, whether it registers or not on recipients and that is that the assistance is not forever and the job training would get one through the rest of one’s years, if its a good training for a needed job, say, nursing.

        This is what I find in Wiki on welfare reform:

        PRWORA proposed TANF as AFDC’s replacement. The Congressional findings in PRWORA highlighted dependency, out-of-wedlock birth, and intergenerational poverty as the main contributors to a faulty system.[23] In instituting a block grant program, PRWORA granted states the ability to design their own systems, as long as states met a set of basic federal requirements. The bill’s primary requirements and effects included the following:
        Ending welfare as an entitlement program;
        Requiring recipients to begin working after two years of receiving benefits;
        Placing a lifetime limit of five years on benefits paid by federal funds;
        Aiming to encourage two-parent families and discouraging out-of-wedlock births;
        Enhancing enforcement of child support; and
        Requiring state professional and occupational licenses to be withheld from undocumented immigrants.[24]
        In granting states wider latitude for designing their own programs, some states have decided to place additional requirements on recipients. Although the law placed a time limit for benefits supported by federal funds of no more than two consecutive years and no more than a collective total of five years over a lifetime, some states have enacted briefer limits. All states, however, allowed exceptions to avoid punishing children because their parents have gone over their respective time limits[citation needed]. Federal requirements have ensured some measure of uniformity across states, but the block grant approach has led individual states to distribute federal money in different ways. Certain states more actively encourage education; others use the money to help fund private enterprises helping job seekers.
        The legislation also greatly limited funds available for unmarried parents under 18 and restricted any funding to all immigrants.[3] Some state programs emphasized a shift towards work with names such as “Wisconsin Works” and “WorkFirst.” Between 1997 and 2000, enormous numbers of the poor have left or been terminated from the program, with a national drop of 53% in total recipients.[25]

      • April 30, 2015 5:59 pm

        Sorry I did something I try not to do. Used information I had read a couple days ago and heard again on the news, but did not access it so I would have it for future reference. What I remember is a woman with kids taking part in the seven assistance programs in Baltimore, which included Medicaid medical coverage, was worth almost $35,000. Not sure how they valued each one, but I would think a family plan for health coverage would in itself be at or around 10K.

  11. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2015 4:08 pm

    I agree with you JB. If it were me making decisions Baltimore would get Giuliani style law enforcement and the type of work projects I have been describing. You can call that a bit of both the conservative and the liberal approaches but I would just call it common sense and common decency.

  12. Roby permalink
    April 30, 2015 5:12 pm

    “You may decide to give more money to corrupt politicians and that is your call. ”

    I see your point, lets use Sheldon Silver as an example. In China they would execute him. I think they have the right idea. I would support and I would be surprised if many or most Americans would not support life in prison for using one’s government office the way Silver allegedly did. Stealing from your country and its taxpayers, eroding faith in government, these are disgusting and highly destructive crimes.

    What I can’t do is base my ideas on programs to rebuild inner cities on the idea that it is guaranteed that my tax dollars will line the pockets of dishonest politicians. There are a lot of them, but I don’t believe they are a majority. I hope that our FBI etc. are working well enough to catch the Blagojeviches of the world. I just looked him up, do you know there is no parole for federal crimes? That is happy news. He will have to serve a minimum of 12 years

    • April 30, 2015 5:46 pm

      Baltimore spends on average $4,000 per year for each resident. Police, schools, administration, etc. Charlotte NC spends $2,652 per resident and Dallas Texas spends $2,333.

      To me, there is some spending that is benefiting people other than the residents in Baltimore. Either it is benefiting the politicians or their ignorance has resulted in people outside politics benefiting that results in the community they have.

      Either way they need to be removed and replaced by competent individuals. It can happen, but in most cases it won’t.

    • April 30, 2015 5:54 pm

      I can get behind any program that executes Sheldon Silver.

      Yeah, baby.

  13. Bruce R. Gilson permalink
    May 1, 2015 9:26 am

    So Ron P feels they should not learn academic subjects but rather should be given vocational training. And thereby if there is a potential Ben Carson among them, we will never find it out.

    I can’t accept that solution.

    • Priscilla permalink
      May 1, 2015 9:34 am

      I don’t think Ron said that they should not learn academic subjects… take was that a lot of the upper level academic instruction is not relevant to anyone who does not have an interest in going to college, and should be replaced with vocational training. A potential Ben Carson would likely be interested in pursuing a college track.

      • May 1, 2015 12:54 pm

        I agree. So many of these kids would be better served by teaching them practical skills. Vocational education beats dropping out and ending up in prison. But yes, definitely steer motivated, academically-oriented black kids into college-prep courses.

      • May 1, 2015 1:13 pm

        Priscilla, thanks. Anyone with 1/2 a brain cell would understand what I was trying to say. For those that question my comment, they are most likely the ones that have run our education system into the ground like it has become for many. Although liberals do not understand, one size does not fit all. There has to be choices and when choices are taken away, fewer individuals benefit.

    • Ron P permalink
      May 1, 2015 1:02 pm

      I just love it when idiots twist everything someone with a moderate position proposes. I never said they should not learn academic subjects you moron. I said that schools should offer a choice between vocational training and college prep!!!!!!!!!!!

      So how does one learn math in vocational training? They combine math skills with the training in the vocation they are teaching. The kids might not be sitting listening to a math teacher, but they are still learning math. They are learning angles and how to compute angles, but they are learning it in a demonstration style setting. If they are learning metal work, they might be melting metal to make a gear or a part for some mechanical device. They learn the melting point of various metals. They learn the composition of metals.

      So back to my original message. Kids had two tracks when I was in high school. College prep and vocational training. So tell me why education until the late 60’s was worse than it is today. What good does 4 years of math including algebra, geometry and two additional math classes do for the kid in the hood that have no desire to go to college? Newsflash!!!! Not everyone wants to go to college, not even some middle class kids in the suburbs.

      Now what happens between the age of 13 or 14 and 18 when the kid is suppose to graduate. Maybe getting them into a class where they are interested in learning to work with their hands will get them on the right direction while learning college prep subjects will just get them flunking and dropping out. Dr Carson had a parent that provided some direction in his life. Most kids in his environment do not. How many Baltimore moms did you see out collecting their sons. Not many!!!!

      My point is there are core subjects that everyone is taught. Then there are electives that everyone can choose, and that is where the vocational/college tracks take place.

      So Bruce, the next time you go into a business and have someone help you with a sale that has gone through the current educational system, let them ring up the sale, show them a twenty for a $7.43 purchase, let them ring in the $20.00 as cash payment so the register shows the amount of $12.57 to be returned and then give them the 3 cents. Watch the blank stare on their faces trying to figure out how to make change and come up with $12.60 instead of $12.57. That 4 years of high school math did a lot of good when people can’t even make change anymore without a computer to tell them the answer.

  14. May 1, 2015 1:04 pm

    Well, state’s attorney Mosby just threw the book at the six cops involved in Gray’s death. I agree that there was no probable cause for arresting Gray in the first place. He tried to run, but why did they confront him at all?

    Murder seems a bit much, though. (I think the official charge is “second degree depraved heart murder,” which seems kind of quaint.) I don’t think there was intent to kill, and I don’t know how they’ll prove it. There’s a category called negligent homicide, which would seem more reasonable, but I don’t think this was one of the charges.

    Somewhat beside the point, but still relevant: I wonder if all the offending officers were white.

    • May 1, 2015 1:41 pm

      You throw the book at them and then let the jury decide from murder 2 to involuntary manslaughter and anything in between. Happens in many cases and gives the prosecution a better chance for some conviction.

      • asmith permalink
        May 26, 2015 1:51 pm

        When you endorse prosecutors over charging you are blessing the same malfeasance that the officers are accused of – taking the law into your own hands. under color of authority.

    • May 1, 2015 5:57 pm

      Rick, we don’t know spit about this case yet. This is just like the “Hands up, Don’t Shoot’
      crap. Let’s actually see what happened before we dole out a sentence shall we?

    • Priscilla permalink
      May 1, 2015 7:24 pm

      Rick, according to the several news reports, the driver of the van, and the guy facing the most serious charges, is black, as is at least one of the other officers charged.

      • Priscilla permalink
        May 1, 2015 7:52 pm

        Actually, one is a black girl.

  15. May 2, 2015 12:53 am

    Well I am going to take a different path in this comment. First, don’t stop reading when iIsay I was watching Washington Week on PBS. (I try to stay fair and balanced!!!) A very interesting comment was made tonight by a Baltimore resident, black, who is a journalist for the Washington Post.

    His comment concerned the efforts that had taken place during the Kurt Schmoke years as mayor. And I looked up some of this to verify some of his comments. During Schmoke’s years as mayor (12 years), revitalization efforts took place as a joint effort between the local government, state and federal government. They put into the Sandtown Winchester district over 100 million and that revitalization earned Baltimore the distinction of being only one of six cities earning the federal governments empowerment zones. West and east Baltimore were basically rebuilt or restored during this period.

    In addition, he was one of the first mayor to use community policing, clamped down on drugs and weapons and then was able to place police on bikes so they were closer to the public. (I did not see any one the news, so I do not know if they are still used or not) He was also a supporter of privatization of the schools, although not many were approved.

    Last, during his term, Baltimore was named one of the top cities for women entrepreneurs in the nation, and minorities had participated in a number of the City’s major development projects.

    However, those individuals, both black and white, that benefited from the revitalization and educational opportunities that started in the late 80’s and continued through Schmoke’s three terms moved to the suburbs. leaving a much harder core poor resident within the city limits. By the late 90’s the cities population had declined from close to 1 million in 1970 to just over 600,000 in 2014. Along with the middle class drain to the suburbs.the suburbs that went from about 50% of the cities population to over 3 times the cities population in 2014. Along with that drain, Baltimore had represented 75% of the economic activity for the area and now that represents less than 30%

    So what appears to be a somewhat successful effort by the city, state and federal government in the 90’s had the opposite impact in the second decade of the 21’st century.

    The question seems to be is:
    How do you help upgrade your citizens economic situation and persuade those individuals to remain within the city and not move to the suburbs where a higher percentage of residents are middle class once they have the means to move?

    Are all communities doomed for failure since those that do improve their personal stature in life will be the first to move to areas with better living conditions?

    • Roby permalink
      May 2, 2015 8:48 am

      Very interesting post Ron. As a partial answer I am reposting a paragraph that I posted in the previous topic since it is relevant and perhaps was not read by most:

      On a more cheerful note, I visited Boston on Sunday, as my wife was at a conference, and walked probably 12 miles through the city. I saw my old music school. In 1978 (I know the year because I was there for the famous blizzard of 78) the city was in the midst of a drug epidemic and I did NOT walk around Boston. Boston today is inspiring, it is a city that works and is a pleasure to be in. At out hotel, we met nothing but polite, friendly people, both staff and guests, of all races. Same walking through the city. Boston has done a 180, as has New York, which I walked around last year and was equally impressed with, having seen it in the bad years in the mid 80s crack epidemic. Cities can be saved, even huge ones with enormous problems.

    • Priscilla permalink
      May 2, 2015 9:28 am

      Good question, Ron. It ties back to the whole “white flight” thing. Only now, there is middle black flight, too…..

      I was listening to someone on the radio the other day talk about the fact (and, Roby, you can fact-check me on this one, since I have not done any research) that – still – the most significant variable in predicting a child’s academic success is the presence of a father in their life. After all of the government programs and billions of dollars spent by the Department of Education, the most important factor is the family. And, very rarely do politicians talk about how the government can support strong 2-parent black families. We hear a lot about obesity, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, teen suicide, gangs, etc and how $x million/billion is going to a new program to fund health school lunches or school daycare centers or anti-bullying programs……but any politician who is seen to be supporting traditional families and family values is pretty much risking being hammered as a religious, right-wing, homophobic, racist nutjob.

      I find it sad and ironic that the black cop who has been charged with murdering Freddie Grey and exhibiting “extreme indifference to human life”, is, by all accounts a good husband and father. He served his community as a police officer and worked part-time as a mechanic. He is now “the bad guy.” Freddie Grey, a well- known drug dealer, who preyed on other black youth by selling cocaine and narcotics, is “the martyr” People were dancing in the streets last night, celebrating the charges against Goodson and the other black and white cops in this case.

      I am not making the case for or against what these cops did, because I don’t know. I assume the states’ attorney has some evidence to support a murder 2 charge, although I don’t really know that either, and since both she and her husband are politicians, I am somewhat skeptical on that.

      But I do know that, if I were a black kid in Baltimore, I would never become a cop. So, community policing seems to be a pipe dream for now.

      • May 2, 2015 10:10 am

        Cops bad, criminals good, misunderstood and victimized. A narrative brought to you by Obama and Holder, Inc. Any story will be shaped by that narrative with the media as the willing accomplice.

        Facts? We may never get them but in the era of Clinton and Obama, “what does it matter, now?”

      • Roby permalink
        May 2, 2015 10:14 am

        The presence of a father being the most important indicator of academic success is likely true for minority families. For families in general I would bet that the most important indicator is the commitment of both parents to education.

        I read that the state’s attorney’s parents were both cops along with her grandfather.

        Grey is no hero, but he was intact when he encountered the police and not breathing when the ride to the station ended with his spinal cord nearly severed and his windpipe crushed, injuries that are very hard to believe that he caused to himself. One cop wrote in his report that there was no resistance in the arrest or something to that effect.

        Whether the cop charged with murder is a good parent is not relevant, suspects are not supposed to die on the way to the station, the fact that charges are being brought is worth celebrating to those people, not to mention the fact that bringing charges may well prevent another round of rioting. No I am not suggesting that rioting can be used as blackmail to get an indictment, just that even the most law abiding residents, while not celebrating a career criminal, must be happy to see this outcome.

    • May 2, 2015 10:04 am

      “Are all communities doomed for failure since those that do improve their personal stature in life will be the first to move to areas with better living conditions?”

      The answer is, yes, that is likely. Suburbs didn’t become the boom that they did for no good reason. I would suggest that on balance, most (not all) folks like the space, quiet, and mobility that the suburbs offer.

      I love downtown Boston, my favorite city by far. Yet, I would never consider living there. Too crowded, no three car garages, etc. etc. I suggest that I am not alone in that regard.

      So, when the government “invests” where the market is not willing, it is indeed, spitting in the wind. That normally is not a good idea.

      That said, I don’t have any solutions to offer here. When the residents take to burning down newly built buildings, the insanity quotient is too high for me.

  16. Roby permalink
    May 2, 2015 9:22 am

    This whole story and the news coverage of it are America at its best and worst. Ultimately it is healthy that we are looking at this issue in depth, even if the immediate consequences are more violence. We are not Russia, we examine our faults in public. In the end any sensible person of any race is going to see that this issue full of shades of grey and complexities, such as the fact that the cops kill twice as many white citizens and that blacks are much more likely to be both the victims and perpetrators of violent crime. That does not mean that there is nothing at all to the concerns and fears of black citizens, the police target them, not for reasons that no one can understand, but all the same not every interaction by a long shot is by the books.

    I will never know if Micheal Brown had his hands up or not, that was never proven or disproven. But I do know both that he was out of control behaving as a bully in the drug store and that his body was left to lie in the street. I do know that the police force was nearly all white and that several days after the protests began a white member of the Ferguson police was booted from the force due to a clearly racist rant posted on youtube. I do know a lot of things that reflect badly on members of the community, the cops, Micheal Brown himself. I know all this stuff because of our media.

    I have read all too many stories over the years such as one that happened in NYC where an entirely innocent black teen honors student was detained by the police and mauled and had his scalp torn off. Or the the disgusting case of Abner Luoima, sodomized with a broomstick, which was initially covered up by the dept. The idea that the black community is not going to raise noise over this issue is ridiculous, they have every right, this is America, not Russia, we have a free speech and a free press. This is healthy. Looking at police brutality cases, both alleged and real is only healthy no matter what race you are.

    In the end this will lead to better things, cameras on cops that make both sides behave better is one example, I hope that urban renewal and job training targeted at depressed areas will be another, along with soul searching by the black community about the worst aspects of its culture.

  17. Roby permalink
    May 2, 2015 10:40 am

    Dunno, JB, I hope that calm prevails. I have the utmost respect for the job the police do and the majority of them who manage to play by the book. I have no sympathy for criminals or rioters/looters, but I do have huge sympathy for all the normal people sharing their same neighborhood and trying to survive them.

    I also have a Volvo convertible and it is finally a beautiful sunny day, so I am going to drop my contemplation of the fate of the ghetto and enjoy my day here. I wish you the same.

    • May 2, 2015 10:50 am

      Thanks, I may get the Bonny out later today.

    • asmith permalink
      May 26, 2015 2:02 am

      The relative magnitude of police criminality compared to that of minority communities is immaterial.

      Lawless behavior by the police even on a small scale is a far greater threat to the fabric of society than substantial criminality.
      Worse still the criminal behavior of a few police could not survive without the tolerance of the majority of police.
      It is a far more serious societal problem when the MAJORITY of those we trust to enforce the law are turning a blind eye to the lawless behavior of their own.

      Rant about the lawlessness of poor communities all you wish – it is a problem and it should not be allowed. But if the police are lawless – society is lawless.

  18. Priscilla permalink
    May 4, 2015 8:09 am

    Public employee unions, of all types (and that includes teachers and cops) have been incredibly damaging to our political system….Ross Douthat’s column yesterday makes the case for getting rid of police unions.

  19. asmith permalink
    May 26, 2015 1:27 am

    Capitalism does not for poor blacks ?

    Really ? in the same post commenting on drug dealing ?

    Poor Blacks are quite adept at capitalism. They are deprived access to legal capitalist oportunities and persue illegal ones.

    They have not been let down by capitalism, but by government.

    • May 29, 2015 6:24 pm

      Let’s say *legal* capitalism doesn’t flourish in poor black communities. Yes, there will always be hair salons and corner grocery stores selling junk food, but more ambitious businesses tend to get driven out by crime, the dwindling base of customers capable of paying for goods and services, and the general deterioration of the community. Decay begets more decay, sort of like gangrene.

      • May 29, 2015 6:39 pm

        Well, capitalism (owners of capital decide when, where, and how to facilitate trade/exchange) works perfectly well, even in Baltimore. There is an old saying: “Capital goes where it is well treated.”

        Hence, even the USSR had capitalism, in the form of the black market. In fact, it likely would have collapsed even sooner if not for the black market. And so it is with Baltimore’s inner city. The capitalist who do show up will provide trade/exchange and attach a higher risk premium for trading where they do. This will have to be realized in the higher prices that inner city residents will pay.

        They do have options. One is to move. Two is to use Amazon. Three is to travel to attain a lower price. Four is to allow the police to make their neighborhood more safe.

        I could go on but you get the picture.

      • Ron P permalink
        May 30, 2015 12:02 am

        JB most of the time I agree with you and in this case, I do again to a certain degree.
        One, those that can move already have moved. That is why the inner city is in the shape it is in. What remains is the elderly poor that can not move due to the lack of capital, the younger poor due to a lack of education because they were told it would do no good, and the criminals the prey on those that remain’
        Two, most of these individuals are too poor to have the internet and have little access to computers, except the criminals that bought them from money extorted and robbed from others in the community.
        Three. Same problem, elderly that can’t travel, those that do not have cars and little access to public transportation. Yes, the criminals have the cars so maybe they could transport those that are left.
        Four. That may never happen. The odds of the police getting killed in the inner city of Baltimore is most likely multiple times higher if they spent their time patrolling that area than if they patrolled other areas and just answered call when needed in the inner city.

        So the way to solve the inner city problem of crime is to do what many cities have done. Revitalize the inner city, tear down everything that is there, sell off the properties to developers and sell the condo’s, homes and apartments for 6 digit prices. That increases city income as the property values are greatly increased , increases the number of large companies setting up stores because the people have money to spend and reduces city expenses as those needing assistance have been relocated someplace else. Where, most cities could care less, but the problem is not theirs anymore so they don’t care.

      • May 30, 2015 10:13 am


        Much of what you say MAY be correct but is at least, contestable. For example, if you watched closely the footage of the riots in Baltimore, it was hard to find a rioter without a smart phone. This suggests that the internet (and the money to connect to it) is certainly available to many (most?) in that particular city.

        The issue of the youth being “too poor” to move is again I think marginal at best. Let’s look at it this way. If the chance that I (or my children) will be killed is quite high, what is my motivation to get my self and family out of that particular space? I hope is quite strong.

        To me, it is in fact, very high indeed. This particular issue I actually faced when I was a 16 year old kid. My widowed mother, brother and I all worked out asses off until we could scrape up the capital to move one town over. Likely saved our lives, who knows?

        I do think that a large part of these issues is the notion that somehow “society” created the inner city and therefore “society” needs to fix it. People are not required to behave poorly when they are living in poverty, that is a choice. We might also remember that as far as I can tell, poverty today looks a whole lot better than it did in 1950. One can tick off a number of programs (Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, etc.) that did not exist for the poor in 1950.

        As I have said, I for one am tired of being blamed for the plight of the inner city (largely) black population. I didn’t put them there and I am not responsible for their lives, they are. The mayor of Baltimore, police chief, city council are all black and the rioters never said a word to them. The cop accused of murdering the felon was black. Yet, this whole plight is apparently the result of racism.

        What gives?

        I know that sounds cold but there are so many other situations that I deem more worthy than sinking money into fixing a place that will be burned down the next time Sharpton rides into town.

      • Ron P permalink
        May 30, 2015 12:58 pm

        JB, I have to rely on your point of view more than I would others since you lived this and are a product of those that achieved a level of life well above what many do not coming from that beginning. But I do think that there are people that are caught in those situations that can not get out and those are the ones that I think need societies help. I also question how many of these younger individuals that had smart phones actually lived in that part of town. Remember in Ferguson, it was reported that one of the black activist groups was paying $1,250 per week for anyone wiling to come in and demonstrate. (They reneged on those payments and now people are complaining).

        However, I do stand on my last comment about revitalization. Where do the poor go when cities decide to revitalize “downtown” or the run down sections of town and move every one out. Buildings are bought, eviction notices sent and in a few months bulldozers are leveling ground for new apartments, condos and homes. Even in areas like Atlanta’s East Lake district where revitalization was an effort to combine multiple layers of economic status, the city’s efforts have come under attack. Why? The main reason is those provided government assistance were expected to work or get further education. Many did both, so now many of those who once had housing allowances are no longer receiving those. (They make too much money for assistance now) And the black activist organizations are attacking the program for lack of assistance to those in need. But those in need have been removed from the East Lake district since they lacked the will to improve their own status, It is now some other areas problem.

      • May 30, 2015 1:45 pm

        As a general rule, I favor assistance with strings (incentives) that promote progress and self-reliance. Sadly, so often what is provided is a handout, likely because it is easier to do this with Other People’s Money. Then the race warriors come in and tell people it is their “right” to that assistance and their plight is all on the white man.

        When your family lends you a hand, you usually have to pay that back in some fashion. Not so with government.

        Then again, I believe in a loving and forgiving God, so I have a glimmer of hope that we will learn someday how to deal more effectively with societal “assistance.”

  20. asmith permalink
    May 26, 2015 1:39 am

    Violent crime in the US peaked in the Early 90’s and has declined back to late 60’s levels – ignoring the fact that reporting is far better today so the rate in the 60’s was likely understated.

    Other crimes followed a similar trend peaking earlier and declining to early 60’s levels.

    Crime is an issue we should be concerned about.
    But trying to find an explantion for the current unrest requires beleiving that lower levels of crime create greater political unrest.

  21. asmith permalink
    May 26, 2015 1:51 am

    I am not conservative and do not speak for conservatives, but it has not been my perception that conservatives think blacks are lazy, nor do they think that problems caused by unfettered reproduction or government handouts are unique to blacks.

    I am not sure what the “sterotype” is, though if you frame the discussion your own way you can arrive at whatever conclusion you want.

    Those receiving government handouts are acting in their own interests.

    It is our error not theirs that incentivized dependence.

    The Clinton/Gingrich Welfare reforms worked beyond anyone’s wildest hopes.
    Those on the US dole proved to be quite able and productive when the incentives were not wrong. But we are returning to the idiocy of victimizing the poor with out pitty, when they are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves – when we do not make that the least appealing choice open to them.

    If people want children, they should be free to have them. But pretending that reproduction without thought is not a millstone leading to poverty and despair is delusional.

    We make choices in life – those choices have consequences.
    Government efforts to protect us from the consequences of choices does not result in better choices – whether we are bailing out Wall Street of teenage mothers.

  22. mickeymouse permalink
    May 30, 2015 4:49 pm

    a misinterpreted statement about giving “space to those who wished to destroy,”

    STOP IT RIGHT THERE>People like you and other rose glass wearing fools need to stop posting lies.Her statement is recorded and is exactly what it is.She said it and it is not being “misinterpreted”.You watch and listen to too much BS from the MSM.Stop trying to put a spin on what she said .I am sick of the excuses and always trying to protect black criminals and thugs,especially the ones running Bmore.Blacks want Afreaka let them have Afreaka.They want to live in the stone age,have at it.Pull all cops out,or I should say ,all white cops out.OH wait the cops have backed off and now it’s MadMax. Blacks being Black.

  23. Ron P permalink
    June 9, 2015 1:04 pm

    Could this be the beginning of black leaders that care about their communities making the change from the liberal policies that have been so devastating to the large cities?

    • Priscilla permalink
      June 10, 2015 9:52 pm

      I would like to think so, Ron….

      There are clearly a sizeable number of black leaders who see the futility of continuing down the path that we’re on. But I don’t think we’ll see substantive changes until voting behavior changes. As long as liberal Democrats can count on 90+% of the black vote, I think big cities will see more of the same policies that have gotten us to this point.

      • Ron P permalink
        June 10, 2015 11:12 pm

        Given some of the speeches he made during the civil rights movement, I would love to know what MLK would say and do today based on his positions during his life. Things have moved so far left since the 60’s and the expectations have been lowered so far for everyone (beginning with our education system) that he most likely would never have achieved his level of importance had the same environment existed in the 60’s as exist today. No one would have listened to his positions as he did have personal responsibility as part of his movement. I suspect that is why so few black leaders bring up anything he said or did now-a-days.

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