“She needs to do her job.” – Nikki Hart
At the now well-renowned intersection of Pennsylvania and North Avenues, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced an initiative to address some of the longstanding issues that plague Baltimore City. “In addition to One Baltimore focusing on the immediate, short-term needs of those communities affected by our recent unrest and violence, this is an opportunity for us to focus more intensely on systemic problems that have faced our city for decades, if not generations,” the mayor said.“I pledge that our One Baltimore initiative will engage anyone and everyone who wants to help.”
According to Rawlings-Blake’s office, the details of the program will become public over the coming weeks. They have already established a web presence online at servingonebaltimore.org, although the site is still under construction.
So what does Baltimore think of One Baltimore? Following are some opinions of Baltimoreans, from on-the-street interviews and Facebook responses.
“I applaud a partnership that is a win-win for community members and businesses, faith-based organizations and the non-profit community,” wrote Charles Jackson, vice president of the Greater Baltimore Leadership Association.
“She lost favor with the people.” – Sean Tillery
He said the plan could work, but it’s only one step in what should be a larger process. He said he’d also like to see businesses agreeing to hire members of the community and more money for faith-based groups that already have youth programs so that they can grow.
“This comprehensive approach to improving the lives of Baltimoreans sounds like the high-minded appeal you hear on the campaign trail,” wrote Northeast Baltimore lawyer Stephanie Maddin-Smith. “With her reelection just over a year away, it’s hard not to see this as early campaign rhetoric. The time to introduce this broad vision and build towards results was squandered on her first election. Before the end of this calendar year, what does she hope to achieve on any of these fronts. I have more questions than anything.”
“I feel sorry for Stephanie sometimes,” wrote Kendrick Staley. “She’s from Baltimore but not of Baltimore . . . This initiative is like most of her initiatives, an attempt to serve two masters but not serving either particularly well. It won’t work and if she runs again, Sheila will win by a landslide, adding insult to injury. Going to be interesting to watch.”
“…the community went downhill…” – Tayt Splivid
Hamden resident Pam Crosby said her place of worship, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, has already voiced support of the plan. “I am cautiously optimistic that SRB can do some good, but as another post said, it is getting closer to election time. If it spawns other organizations to get on board, I’m all for it,” she wrote.
“I have to reserve opinion until the website is up but my initial thoughts were she loves committees, initiatives, and ‘studies’ so I am very interested in implementation of anything at this point,” wrote West Baltimore resident Kunya McCray.
Jacob East said he would love to see the mayor institute body cameras for the police “with no off-switch, please.” He also noted that “doing the right thing from the start would have saved a TON of recent trouble. Maybe offer incentives needed for businesses and education that would really motivate them to work in these areas. The ‘talks’ sound nice, though.”
At Red Emma’s Coffee Shop on North Avenue, some patrons were skeptical of the plan and of Rawlings-Blake’s job performance in general. “She needs to do her job,” said caterer Nikki Hart. She didn’t represent us well. She should have been more of an advocate and know her facts. She needs to apologize and say she has to do better.”
“Quit,” said Sean Tillery. “Let another man go into the office. She lost favor with the people. She’s just trying to save face.”
“They say all this nonsense, but there used to be a PAL center . They took that away from the community and the community went downhill,” said Tayt Splivid.