When I lived in Baltimore I used to joke that Charm City, as the city called itself, should be honest and drop that first “c.” Harm in the form of violent crime was terrible and it was everywhere. There were open-air drug markets and the mid-sized city with so much history and such great potential was often the murder capital of the United States. This was the day of the infamous “Stop Snitchin'” DVD warning against going to police to inform against criminals or for any other reason.
The “Baltimore sage” H. L. Mencken said “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” And so it was with defunding the police and its ideological companion, critical race theory. Defunding police was a simple-minded attempt to grapple with complex problems, not all of which are real and not all of which have government solutions. Critical race theory is just as simple-minded, and as toxic as Baltimore’s Inner Harbor occasionally becomes.
The last thing Baltimore needed was to have its police defunded. But the mayor and city council followed the far-left activist agitators off that cliff in 2020, and homicide in Harm City shot up.
Businesses in historic and trendy Fell’s Point are feeling the effects directly, and after the city has failed to listen and do its job, they’re fighting back with a tax revolt according to WBAL.
Call it the Baltimore Tea Party.
More than three dozen Fells Point business owners have sent a letter to Baltimore leadership including Mayor Brandon Scott, City Council President Nick Mosby, Councilman Zeke Cohen, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.
“What is happening in our front yard — the chaos and lawlessness that escalated this weekend into another night of tragic, unspeakable gun violence — has been going on for far too long,” a portion of the letter says.
The letter demands that city leaders restore “basic and essential municipal services” including trach pickup, enforcement of traffic and parking laws through tickets and towing, stopping illegal open-air alcohol and drug sales and empowerment of police to responsibly do their jobs.
The business owners threaten to withhold tax and permit payments, placing those funds into an escrow account, if the city doesn’t respond to their request.
City officials are hired by voters to do their jobs. Businesses pay taxes to fund the city’s provision of services. But if the city is failing in its most fundamental duties, it doesn’t deserve the taxes. The business leaders can better spend that money on security and other services they can depend on, or something else. The city’s failure can’t and won’t go without some reaction.
Mencken had another quote that the business leaders may appreciate: “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
Let’s stick with a peaceful tax revolt. For now, anyway.