Living next to a bar in Baltimore brings multiple headaches
To the Editor:
I have reached the opinion that Baltimore City government is dysfunctional and in total disarray. If any of your readership has the misfortune of living next to or in the general vicinity of a bar or nightclub in Baltimore City, I am sure they can relate to my situation.
Where is it written that a citizen has to tolerate cigarette butts, trash, cans and bottles, vomit, and human waste due to their proximity to a bar?
Don’t expect any help from the Liquor Board. Don’t expect any help from Mayor Rawlings-Blake. My recent “Mayor’s Message” brochure informed me that 19.1% of the fiscal year 2012 budget is used for “A Cleaner and Healthier City”! That is a ridiculous amount of money being wasted.
In my particular case, getting a response took nine months and several letters and emails to the mayor, James Kraft’s office, Senator Barbara Mikulski’s office, repeated 311 calls to Code Enforcement, and many, many calls to Mrs. Shirley Edmond, who oversees the Southeast housing District Office. Finally, someone from Mrs. Edmond’s staff called Code Enforcement, and they responded within hours.
Unfortunately, the 300 cigarette butts on the sidewalk and gutter in front of the bar at 3:18 p.m. was “not enough evidence to issue a citation or notice.” Fortunately for me, I took pictures at 10:02 a.m. that morning, and, wouldn’t you know, the same garbage was there the following day, the next week, and into the next month. If you could stop this garbage at it’s source, less time and money would actually be spent to “Save the Bay”!
Why is it that Code Enforcement seems to be able to write a parking ticket or fine you some type of garbage or recycling violation, but can’t count a hundred cigarette butts thrown on the sidewalk in front of a bar? Maybe the city could spend some time and taxpayer money retraining them so one day they can be the Southeast District Housing District Office Czar.
It is time for some responsible party at City Hall to stop concentrating on more cigarette and bottle taxes and start to pay attention to the residue caused by their indifference to citizen concerns. Namely, the poor victims that are forced to live and work next to a bar or nightclub whose owners cannot, or, in my case, just refuse to clean up after their cigarette-smoking, drunk, loud, and foulmouthed customers as they litter the street and put the aquatic life of the bay in jeopardy.
City’s infrastructure repair process is flawed
To the Editor:
Is it me being over sensitive or is there something wrong with the City of Baltimore’s procedure for updating our water system infrastructure? The city is placing new water meters, in many cases, on 100-plus-year-old pipes.
A letter I received on September 20, 2012, from the Department of Public Works stated, “Normally, no problems other than discoloration should arise during this process. Unfortunately, many homes are connected to the City’s water system by old, decaying galvanized pipes that have become brittle and weakened over time”
Gee, think so? The letter goes on to say, “ Should the water pipe between the water meter and your home break or spring a leak when the water is shut off and then turned back on, you will be responsible for the repairs.” When I called the city, they told me that that last bit applies even if the contractors cause the damage.
What city other than ours has the gall to charge the homeowner for infrastructure repairs and upkeep that they have not maintained with our taxes they have greedily collected for years? What companies other than city contract recipients can cause damage and make the homeowner pay? This is another affront to the citizens of our fair city, and this, in my humble opinion, is a classic example of Municipal Government Robbery, potentially ripping us off for thousands of dollars after squandering our tax dollars that were supposed to maintain our great city.
Additionally, who but our city would attach a new meter to 100-plus-year-old pipes? According to the DPW, they have every intention of replacing all the pipes in the city at another date. Why not do this correctly the first time while they have the resources on site?
Our city should want to save taxpayers money by not doing the same job twice. I’m sure this doesn’t have anything to do with preferential contractors milking the system, or the city letting them get away with it. So it must be the fault of the rocket scientist who thought this was a good program for updating our infrastructure. Good for whom?
I don’t know how the rest of the residents of Baltimore feel but I think that this is wrong and needs to either be changed, or the City should wait for our pipes to break or spring a leak before replacing the meters. That, in my mind, would make sense. Unfortunately, it seems to be uncharacteristic for our City to use common sense these days; must have something to do with that new math I keep hearing about.
I do want to thank First District Councilman Jim Kraft’s office for trying to help. Jim’s office contacted the Department of Public Works on my behalf, only to be shot down. No surprise there! The DPW called me today to let me know that, “yes that’s the way it is,” and of course, nothing can be done to help our citizens.
Last time I checked “WE the PEOPLE” still owned the store. I don’t remember voting for or even getting a say in this; another classic example of back door taxes. I would urge all good citizens of our fine city to call their elected officials, City Hall, and DPW. Ask them to use their good offices to insure all work is done correctly the first time, as well as being mindful of the people’s hard earned money and the way in which our taxes are spent.