August 12, 2013 3:40 pm ET
County makes a bold move to curb issues at roller rink
Source: Taking Action, Stemming Violence
As I read the Baltimore Sun article announcing that Baltimore County was taking a bold stance regarding the problems at Parkville’s Skateland, a few thoughts ran through my mind regarding the situation.
First and foremost, Councilwoman Cathy Bevins deserves credit for her response to the persistent problems that have been plaguing her district. These problems have culminated into violence that practically shut down portions of her district. Based on email responses, I can say that Councilman David Marks also deserves some credit for his active stance on this matter.
According to the Sun piece, the County is not renewing Skateland’s amusement-hall license, which expired in March and allows for live or recorded entertainment. However, Skateland will continue to have a license to operate as a skating rink. To that end, the County is not shutting down the business; rather, the County is taking away the types of activities that seem to raise the violent tendencies of some people.
The Sun quotes J.B. Osborne, senior legislative adviser for Councilwoman Bevins, as saying that the Middle River Democrat—whose district includes Skateland, believes the move is “a step in the right direction.”
And many of us concur.
“Her goal is not to shut down the business,” Osborne continued. “Her goal is to let Skateland be a profitable business in her district, and she supports it, to the extent that they’re not a detriment to other businesses in the area.”
As noted above, Skateland can still be a viable business without hosting the events that have tarnished the roller rink’s reputation.
This issue exploded into a major news story after Nick Gestido’s article appeared in Perry Hall Patch. However, these matters are not new in Baltimore County; violence and other criminal incidents have plagued many communities for years. The problem is what to do about them.
Allow me to express my opinion on the matter. After all, it is my blog.
It is important for citizens in the affected communities to speak out so local government officials hear their voices loud and clear. You cannot allow one business to disturb the entire surrounding area, thus affecting other establishments that are simply trying to conduct their own business.
Too many times, the government has allowed one person—typically the owner of a business—to prevail in the battle of commerce versus the safety of the community. The powers that be typically act as if the business owner is providing a profound benefit to the government coffers.
In all honesty, these businesses probably drain County finances more than they bolster them—think of the taxpayer dollars spent on the consistent police response, as well as the further disruption of commerce inflicted on surrounding establishments.
The police response needs to be aggressive in enforcing the law and holding the perpetrators responsible for their actions. Actions like assaulting police officers, throwing rocks at police vehicles, and breaking the windows on police vehicles are criminal activity and should be treated as such, no matter what color someone’s skin is. Don’t play the race/creed/orientation card—a crime is a crime, period.
We no longer can have a revolving door of justice, because it sends a message that has long troubled the city in its efforts to control the homicide rate. There is an old saying that goes: “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” Any response by the police that shows vulnerability, or any sign of weakness from the courts, will embolden the troublemakers to aspire to new heights of wrongdoing. Once that trend begins, it is difficult to break the pattern of lawless behavior.
In the end, the County has shown through the Skateland issue that it is taking the proper steps and serving notice that violence will not be tolerated. And, with the proper police response, the County should be able to quell this type of behavior.
Those that may take issue with what I am saying in this blog need to talk to commanders of police precincts that have successfully dealt with these types of issues. I assure you that they will back me up on this. Let’s take back our neighborhoods … one establishment at a time.