Baltimore shops threaten to stop paying taxes unless they get more police and better services: “Please do your job”
Nearly 40 shops and restaurants in Baltimore have teamed up in the Fells Point neighborhood to make themselves heard by the city. They are threatening to stop paying city taxes and all other fees until they get better services and more police around.
How did it all happen?
As WJZ-TV reported, 37 businesses have signed a letter addressed to Mayor Brandon Scott, Councilman Zeke Cohen, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. This initiative comes right after a weekend full of violence and chaos, which included three men getting shot on Saturday night.
“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,” the letter started, as WJZ notes.
The business owners intend to put all withheld funds for taxes in an escrow account until the city of Baltimore meets the following four demands:
- Picking up the trash
- Enforcing parking and traffic laws through towing and tickets,
- Stopping illegal open-air alcohol and drug sales, and
- Empowering police officers to do their job well.
The news station also pointed out that the letter shows that the minor crimes the police “ignore” can lead to incidents like the weekend shooting.
“When it comes to public urination and defecation, and the illegal sale and consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs on the streets, we know these crimes are not as serious as the carjackings, shootings, and homicides that have become routine. But, as this past weekend proved, a culture of lawlessness rarely remains confined to petty offenses and invariably leads to the kinds of violence and tragedy we witnessed late Saturday night,” the letter said.
The letter ended by emphasizing that Fells Point is “one of the crown jewels of Baltimore” and that piling up all these apparently small problems could pave the way to its demise.
“Frankly, it's pathetic that we have to ask for these basics. But this is where we are.”
“Please do your job so we can get back to doing ours.”
How did the mayor’s office react?
“Mayor Scott shares the business owners' frustrations over the violence across the city, and has ordered the Baltimore Police Department, Department of Public Works, and Department of Transportation to work collaboratively to address it. The mayor is working tirelessly to hold people committing violence accountable, remove violent offenders from our streets, and identify illegal firearm traffickers so Baltimore residents can enjoy a night out without fear of endangerment,” the Mayor's Office stated, according to WJZ.