- - Thursday, August 1, 2019

I live in Southwest Baltimore, just a few miles from Pratt and Monroe streets, or ground zero in the current left/right controversy. There you will find rats, mice, bed bugs and trash, including used hypodermic needles. (You’ll find them in other areas of Baltimore, too.) I see rats in my backyard from time to time. When it gets cold in the winter time the mice find a way in my house. You’ll find this in most major cities in America and not a few around the world.

It’s unrealistic to expect national governments to solve local problems. The first responsible for these problems are the residents. Obviously, here the residents are not able to solve the problems that more than a few of their neighbors cause. Nor is it their responsibility. People, after all, are responsible for their own actions.

I came to Baltimore 43 years ago. In my experience things have actually improved since that time, but not at Pratt and Monroe, and not everywhere. In 1976 I lived on Patterson Park Avenue directly across from the park. It was a stinking mess. Packs of dogs ran through it and the neighborhoods and defecated all over the sidewalks. Trash was everywhere. Now the city has eliminated the dog problem and the park is much nicer. The Inner Harbor used to be a landscape of rotting, creosote-coated timbers and pilings, the ruins of wooden docks for a once very busy commercial port. Today we have there a science museum and the National Aquarium, and commerce thrives (though the Obama administration caused an economic decline from which the area stil needs to recover).

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Baltimore is majority African-American, but the city’s issues aren’t ones of race. They’re human problems. West Baltimore is not the only place where whites and blacks suffer together.



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