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By Sylvia Harris and Bill Goodin

We are writing to you to address a major issue that affects many of the citizens throughout Baltimore City. We, the citizens, have found ourselves faced with something as never before. We are faced with a pandemic that has left many citizens homeless, jobless and hungry and yet we find our leadership imposing harsher pain and suffering on us.

Recently, the city has approved another contract to put additional speed cameras and red light cameras into the city. These cameras are not there for a safety reason even though this is how leadership attempts to address it. The truth is this is another attempt of money-grabbing that impacts the poor far worse than any other population.

It is with dignity and yet sad that we are writing a letter such as this. Dignity, because we are standing up and addressing this issue. Sad, because leadership cares little and sadly because far too many citizens will not stand up. Let’s use several examples to make a point. Why would one get a ticket when he/she is forced to speed up? When we say forced here is an example. You are driving and an emergency vehicle is behind you and therefore your speed up. Why should one get a penalty?

We the citizens of Baltimore as most citizens want a city that is safe and clean and if these cameras provided that, it would be one thing. Let’s face it, these cameras are not about safety nor cleanliness, these cameras provide another blow to people who are already suffering. For example, if it was about safety why is there no penalty attached other than paying tickets. One could get a hundred tickets and as long as he/she pays, there is no blemish whatsoever.

I personally know citizens that have written to Council Members as well as other leaders addressing concerns and yet the leadership instead of representing citizens, they will ignore them. I say this because I am one of the citizens that wrote every council person and not one responded.

It is with great thanks that we have a newspaper such as the AFRO who will bring attention to this issue and this state of corruption. When we say corruption let’s be clear. We have witnessed people standing in food lines by the thousands and if people can’t afford food, why should they be punished for trying to go get food? Yes, should not leadership be more concerned about the economic recovery instead of helping to create a burden and recession.

Let’s ask a basic question or two. Who benefits from these cameras? Why are we spending so much money on tickets and yet our streets look as if we are in war-torn communities? Why is there no account of how much money these cameras are making and how the money is divided up and yet, what purpose does the money serve the citizens? Why no answers?

We are writing and addressing this issue to ask that citizens will join us as we stand and fight back. There have been other cities that have brought awareness to this plight and were able to bring a halt. We too could bring a halt if we stand up. We are standing, will you stand with us?

Sylvia Harris is the founder of the Kenneth Harris Foundation and Bill Goodin is a community activist.

The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO. Send letters to The Afro-American • 1531 S. Edgewood St. Baltimore, MD 21227 or fax to 1-877-570-9297 or e-mail to editor@afro.com