Editor, The Guide:
After reading the response from Stephan Fogleman (Guide, May 18) I am convinced there is life on Mars. Before further insulting our intelligence he needs to revisit Earth before writing another commentary. Having had the opportunity to deal with the Liquor Board and Mr. Fogleman, I can attest that his “self-staining agency” is no more than a self-serving agency that has no government or citizen oversight and is clearly a recipe for disaster.
He mentioned a “small profit of nearly $200,000 given annually to the City of Baltimore” but not the department’s annual salaries of $1.125 million, excluding health care and pension benefits, recently posted by the Baltimore Sun for fiscal year 2007.
The agency rakes in millions in revenue from “licensing fees and fines” that should all go to the City and should not be paid in “executive salaries” to people who never leave their plush offices. The Liquor Board, in its current form and with its current membership, is an affront to every taxpaying citizen of Baltimore whose trash collection is now limited to one day a week. Four thousand simple parking tickets generate the same amount of revenue to the City as the annual “gift” from the Liquor Board.
Additionally, only a bar owner who also happens to be an imbecile would not know that the Commissioner of the Liquor Board lives within 100 feet of his bar. I imagine that during that particular bar owner’s weekly “30-50 hours in the neighborhood” that he would probably not allow public urination on adjoining residences or have his jukebox so loud that it requires police attention. I certainly don’t think he would tolerate loud and foul-mouthed drunks loitering in front of his bar until after 2 a.m. discarding their cigarette butts on the ground, spitting, or screaming like wild animals.
Now, if I had Mr. Fogleman living within 100 feet of my residence maybe I would not have had to file hundreds of complaints to 911, 311, the Liquor Board, the Mayor, the City Council President, my councilman James Kraft, Police Commissioner Bealefeld, Attorney General Gansler and a variety of other government agencies, against a bar for violations listed above.
The joke is on any citizen foolishly thinking that during his “168 hours” he could contact anyone from the Liquor Board 24/7. If you file a 311 complaint you must do it by 10 p.m. on a weekday. If you have the 15 minutes it takes to file an internet complaint you might as well hold your breath for any action by any of the “14 inspectors.”
Mr. Fogleman could do the City of Baltimmore and the concerned citizens of Highlandtown and Fells Point a service and resign his commission. He could then enjoy more time with his wife and child 100 feet from a bar, and stop trying to justify his or the Liquor Board’s existence.