Guy W. Farmer: Baltimore: More money and more violence
The federal government has been throwing taxpayer money at Baltimore for more than 60 years — ever since Nancy Pelosi’s father, Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., was mayor of that troubled city (1947-59) — and what have been the results of that multi-billion-dollar federal investment in “Charm City?” You know the results as well as I do: widespread poverty and rampant violence.
There were nine murders and more than 30 shootings in Baltimore over the Memorial Day weekend, bringing the city’s homicide toll to its highest point in more than 15 years. Baltimore had 41 murders in May, the most in a single month since 1999. And meanwhile in Chicago, another city that has been a major recipient of federal largesse, 12 people were killed and 44 were wounded over the Memorial Day weekend. One of the victims was 4-year-old Jacele Johnson, who was shot in the head as she sat in a car with family members on Chicago’s crime-ridden South Side. What’s going on?
Many “progressives” blame the increasing violence in these big cities on racist and/or trigger-happy cops and believe the solution is to spend even more of our tax dollars on a panoply of social programs designed to lift people out of poverty.
However, that’s exactly what’s been happening in those cities over the past 50 or 60 years, and the result has been more poverty and more violence.
And besides, most of the violence in those cities is black-on-black crime, even though race-baiters like Al Sharpton continue to blame racist cops.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings — Blake and Chief Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, both of whom are young African-American women, blamed police for recent rioting and violence in that city following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while he was in police custody.
Prosecutor Mosby filed felony charges, including second-degree murder, against six police officers, three of whom are black. The mayor is black, the prosecutor is black, the police chief is black and the police force is racially mixed. Nevertheless, city officials left the police department out to dry in the investigation of Gray’s death. And of course the U.S. Justice Department is on the scene “to help.” Good luck with that.
Although some will accuse me of racism for writing anything negative about Ms. Rawlings Blake or Ms. Mosby, it looks as if the mayor is in over her head and the prosecutor is pursuing a personal agenda instead of seeking the truth in the Gray death investigation. After all, she appeared to side with the rioters as she announced charges against the police officers.
Writing about Baltimore in Newsweek (yes, it’s still alive), Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute noted President Obama recently proposed “massive investments in urban communities” to address issues of crime and poverty.
“It’s not a matter of money,” Tanner replied. “We tried that,” adding Baltimore was a major beneficiary of the president’s huge economic stimulus plan.
According to Tanner, Baltimore received $1.8 billion worth of stimulus funding (taxpayer dollars, that is), including $467 million for education and $24 million for “families;” $838 million went to Zip Code 21201, which includes the dangerous Sandland District. Can anyone tell me what we taxpayers received in return for our “massive investments” in the city of Baltimore?
Why don’t President Obama, “Rev.” Sharpton and Baltimore civic leaders start talking about the breakup of families? Two-thirds of Baltimore’s births are to unwed mothers and almost 60 percent of households are headed by single parents, usually working mothers. Where are the fathers? Those difficult questions must be answered before we throw more tax dollars at Baltimore and other troubled cities.
Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is a retired diplomat.