Baltimore was the hapless soul you sometimes saw in the neighborhood. Threadbare, in need of a bath, a shave and a haircut. But in this person you could see the character and bearing of earlier years, his onetime shine and spark. On some days, when things were just so, you could imagine he might regain that panache.
But Baltimore has turned a corner far from the street once traveled and has sunk into an abyss of near hopelessness. It has lost what it once was, what it tried to be. But has it lost its possibilities? Baltimore’s problems extend well beyond its politicians: policing woes, poverty, substandard education, crumbling infrastructure and little money. Its residents are leaving and its beleaguered tax base is diminishing. Yet, for some politicians — those charged with acting in the best interests of the city — their office calls to them like a pealing dinner bell to feed at the public trough while the people who put them in office look on and continue to suffer.
With the police and the mayor’s office suffering such terrible scandals in the last few years, we challenge the residents to support candidates who demonstrate the qualities required for high public service: integrity, competence and eagerness to see that the duties of government are discharged for the benefit of all. An honest government worthy of respect is not the only solution, of course, for by its nature it cannot accomplish most of what people expect of it. Citizens must do more than support admirable candidates for public office. All Baltimoreans must find in themselves a willingness to live lives that will enhance the good that endures in their city and excise the rot that keeps it down.
Baltimore is not without hope. But it cannot withstand more of the same. The city rose from the ashes of the Great Fire of 1904 and it can rise again. For that it needs the dedication of both the public and its servants to act with bold selflessness. And it’s needed now. Let’s get that shine and spark back.
EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
James B. Astrachan, Chair
James K. Archibald
John Bainbridge Jr.
Martha Ertman (on sabbatical)
Arthur F. Fergenson
Angela W. Russell
Debra G. Schubert
The Daily Record Editorial Advisory Board is composed of members of the legal profession who serve voluntarily and are independent of The Daily Record. Through their ongoing exchange of views, members of the board attempt to develop consensus on issues of importance to the bench, bar and public. When their minds meet, unsigned opinions will result. When they differ, or if a conflict exists, majority views and the names of members who do not participate will appear. Members of the community are invited to contribute letters to the editor and/or columns about opinions expressed by the Editorial Advisory Board.