To the Editor – November 26, 2014

Written by on November 26, 2014 in Blogs, Letters to the Editor - No comments

Mayor should veto bag ban

To the Editor:

Retail business in Baltimore is tough–now City Council wants to make it tougher. It is unfair to penalize local merchants and shoppers for the slovenly behavior of some by banning all plastic bags. I understand the environmental philosophy behind the ban, but did anyone at City Hall consult the merchants?

Now the bill is on the Mayor’s desk for approval or veto. She has promised to veto this legislation, but if no action is taken either way, the plastic bag ban will go into effect next year.

As a downtown resident, I want our businesses to thrive and succeed. That’s not happening: in December I’m losing the bank where I’ve been a customer for over 20 years (they’re moving to Laurel, Md.); my jeweler moved to the county; my eyeglasses store left (moved to Lutherville)’ my supermarket on Charles Street closed over a year ago (space is still unoccupied); another supermarket in Fells Point burned down (twice); an attractive Harbor East boutique went out of business; and our Office Depot closed permanently. These are genuine losses to the community!

Another point–Baltimore retailers face a plague of shoplifting. This is Baltimore’s ugly little secret and it shocked me when I talked to store managers. Last year, a neighborhood pharmacy lost over $70,000 due to shoplifting, and a few weeks ago, a supermarket in Canton had over $600 worth of sodas sail out the door.

When I asked why employees don’t stop shoplifting like this, the answers were always “it’s too dangerous.” It appears serious injuries have occurred when an employee attempted to interfere. If members of City Council did some investigating, they would hear thousands of similar stories. And these shoplifters are not kids “light fingering” a pack of gum–they’re determined thieves who’ve made shoplifting a way of life!

Instead of fighting plastic bags, the City of Baltimore needs to fight shoplifting. The Mayor has promised to veto the plastic bag ban, and I hope she has the fortitude to do so!

R. E. Heid
Inner Harbor

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