September 2, 2013 9:05 pm ET
A community leader’s unwavering commitment
Source: Fighting for “the Hood”
(Blogger’s note: To read the PDF files accompanying this post, click on the link Storm Water PDF, hit download block and open with Adobe.
Typically, when I sit down to find a subject for this blog, I have to do some serious digging and researching in order to come up with a suitable topic.
This post, however, is an exception because the topic came to me. Literally.
Let me explain.
As I was looking outside my front door, I noticed a truck with a cage on top and what appeared to be a raccoon in the cage. My first thought was, “What the heck am I seeing?” Then I noticed that standing on my front porch was Lee McBride, the president of the Boston Courts Community Association. It was his truck, his cage, and his trapping that had imprisoned the raccoon.
Needless to say, when Lee asked me to get my camera and accompany him, I did so immediately. After all, it’s not every day that a caged animal comes to your doorstep.
And the story was off and running, so to speak. (Except for the raccoon, which was unhappily spending time in its cage.)
Lee began the journey by explaining the trapped animal—he has trapped several raccoons on his property because the pests could, given the chance, destroy his home and spread disease. After all, they are the most rabid animals in Maryland. And, unfortunately, Baltimore County does not handle the removal of raccoons, or any other animals for that matter. Therefore, Lee took it upon himself to get the license to trap and destroy the raccoons. He explained that he had to wait two weeks to get a reply from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources about how to handle the problem.
But the discussion of homestead dangers didn’t stop at fuzzy animals. As Lee provided me with a guided tour of the neighborhood, he particularly pointed out the ills that are plaguing the area. And, being the diligent type, I documented them to alleviate any doubt from my readers.
As I snapped picture after picture, Lee went deeper into the numerous problems found in our neck of the woods. The details he gave were a sordid tale of what can happen to a neighborhood that is neglected by either the residents or the local government.
Before my “fans” start with the “I’m always negative, harping on the down side” comments, just take a moment to review the photos. I would think that it would be difficult to argue with the facts that come from these pictures, especially since these facts speak much louder than my humble opinion.
In a nutshell, the neighborhood has been impacted and destabilized by numerous issues: crime, sex, drugs, government inaction, lack of accountability (not uncommon in the county), and a monster section of woods and/or overgrown weeds. The last one on that list seems to provide a haven for numerous critters of the four- and two-legged variety.
(I want to point out that I have often used the word “destabilized” in describing the kinds of issues that impact communities if not addressed. I know some will argue with that choice of wording, but I stand behind it.)
A sizeable part of the problem has to do with the growth (or overgrowth, depending on your point of view) that has taken place in the heart of our community. The PDF files accompanying this blog demonstrate that the county is somewhat confused regarding their responses to Lee, particularly regarding how to deal—or not deal—with this issue. Unfortunately, the inaction has led to a host of other issues that the pictures aptly describe.
The pictures should give you a good idea of what I saw that day, though I did leave out some of the more disgusting photos showing condoms littered about the area. One could presume these were discarded by prostitutes that are using this desolate part of our community as a “place of business,” but that would only be an assumption. Still…
Additionally, I was taken aback by the number of used syringes that were discarded on the street and grass. Somehow, I don’t think they were used for insulin or vitamin shots.
Lee told me that he is working with the North Point Precinct Outreach Program in an effort to address some of the issues and criminal activity in the area. However, budget restraints play a prominent role in this ongoing problem. Lee also said that, despite the fact that members of the community “are not willing to help themselves,” he is not going away until those responsible deal with the mess that has been created.
Kudos to you, Lee. I wish there were more people like you in our community.