Pubdate: Mon, 18 Feb 2013
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2013 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Richard J. Ochs


The recent article regarding city finances ("Trash fee, job cuts 
urged," Feb. 12) cited no evidence of the primary cause of the 
population loss of Baltimore City. The mayor assumes that high 
property taxes are the reason. I disagree. I believe drug-fed crime 
is the primary cause.

Can't someone do a simple poll to find out why people have left 
Baltimore? If I am right, the answer is not to cut city services to 
lower property taxes but to decriminalize drugs and establish more 
health clinics for drug rehabilitation.

A police crackdown on drug dealing is not the answer because as drugs 
are made scarce, the prices go up and junkies become strung out and 
more violent. I believe there is an inverse correlation between drug 
availability and drug-related homicides. As drug supply goes down, 
murders go up. Drugs don't scare people from the city, crime and murders do.

As a city homeowner, I would be glad to continue paying the current 
property tax if the money went to drug decriminalization and rehab 
clinics. I think that would make Baltimore much more attractive. But 
if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake assigns the wrong causes to the 
problems, she will only make the problems worse. The Sun editorial on 
the subject ("Mayor takes a risk," Feb. 12) hedged its bets.

Richard J. Ochs, Baltimore
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom