January 11, 2015 2:03 pm ET
Residents brave cold to hear from new Republican leaders
Source: New Year, New Voices
Left is Delegate-elect Republican Bob Long and 7th District Councilman Todd Crandell
Curiosity, as the saying goes, defeated the proverbial cat. And, in the battle of bitter cold vs. curiosity of voters/constituents, curiosity won out again.
Despite a night that would literally freeze your posterior (and that’s putting it mildly), a standing room only crowd of voters and constituents turned out for the first of many promised meetings between the residents of the east side and our newly elected Republican leaders.
Among those leaders in attendance were Todd Crandell, our newly elected 7th District Councilman; Delegates-elect Bob Long, Ric Metzgar, and Robin Grammer; and Senator-elect, Johnny Salling.
In other words, the “gang” was all there.
The first speaker was Councilman Crandell, who thanked Delegate-elect Bob Long for hosting the meeting. Mr. Crandell had another event to attend, so he was brief in his remarks. However, his brief time allowed him tell people of his belief that the 7th District will be an up and coming area of new change. He mentioned the Sparrows Point sale and the development at the old Seagram’s plant.
Mr. Crandell also said the one thing that bugs him the most is the trashy look of the district. To that end, he promised a full-scale community-based clean up similar to that of the Bread and Cheese Creek project.
Next on the list of speakers was Delegate-elect Long, who deferred to Baltimore County’s Charlotte Rogers to speak on tax assessments. After taking some heat in an already hot room, Ms. Rogers thought it wise to give out the phone number where all taxpayer issues can be answered.
FYI, the “fix all number” is (410) 512-4907. We’ll leave it at that.
Delegate-elect Robin Grammer announced that he will be on the Appropriations Committee. I asked Mr. Grammer if some of the rumors that I had heard about the rift between County Executive Kamenetz and Governor-elect Hogan were true, and if that rift will impact the amount of money the County will receive from the state. Mr. Grammer replied that what the County wants and what it will get are two different things.
Poignant words, it seems.
Mr. Grammer went on to say that he also feels the east side will be a gateway toward major development regarding the Sparrows Point project. He also said that the truck traffic on Merritt Blvd. must be addressed.
There were some comments from the audience that I thought were right on the mark, as some constituents pinpointed the current situation. One lady spoke of the downward spiral of the Eastpoint Mall and the forever-vacant Diamond Point Mall. She also felt that there was no need for more retail at the Government Center, as such development will do nothing to the help the stale job market in our district.
Another gentleman said that we need living wage jobs, not more minimum wage ones. He felt that does nothing for our district except expand the welfare rolls.
Mr. Long wound down the meeting by stating that the newly elected Republicans, including Senator-elect Sailing, will fight to reduce the $1 billion budget shortfall that the O’Malley administration left, as well as look to repeal the rain tax and toll fee increases at the Key Bridge. Mr. Long was very direct about the long battle ahead.
Now, since it is my blog, here are my two cents on the issues.
First, the Sparrows Point development is something in the distant future. While it is a vital asset to our district, Mr. Crandell needs to do something tangible in the near term that will show voters lasting results.
Mr. John Long has done an admirable job in trying to keep Bread and Cheese Creek trash free; however, it has become a losing battle.
New concepts, and an aggressive approach, will go a long way in the battle against those who wish to downplay the district. Education, identifying the perpetrators, and a strong show of law enforcement will drastically impact the problems that we face.
All of this can be accomplished by utilizing mobile non-descript cameras to identity those who continue to break the law. Go where the problems are and put a stop to this insidious behavior. Once the word gets out that “the eyes are (possibly) everywhere,” and that there will be a heavy price to pay for violating the law, people will stop.
Think of it as “behavior modification.”
In my opinion, we need two full-time teams of code enforcement and police service officers who will work out of the Councilman’s office. This will constitute an aggressive and proactive presence in the community to deal with any problems, whether they are code or police issues.
We can mimic the state and utilize work release prisoners to keep our communities clean, or change the law and let those who are receiving government assistance provide community service work in exchange for their continued hand-out/hand-up. This can also cut back on fraud and abuse of the system.
I believe that, if we try this approach as a pilot program, there will be significant positive changes in our district.
I’m quite sure that our newly elected Republican leaders will do their best, and the Democrats have been served notice that the days of “tax and spend” are over. And, if the “tax and spenders” are not careful, their careers may be over as well.
Remember, the voters (and cameras) are watching. Don’t think of it as “big brother.” Think of it as “eternal vigilance.”