purchase carrara buying office pro 2010 adobe cs5 design premium best price buy adobe acrobat pro 9 extended windows xp oem key where can i buy microsoft windows xp purchase microsoft office 2003 product key purchase dragon naturally speaking buy symantec ghost 7 purchase office 2011 volume license buy matlab 2008 cost of data rescue 3 buy cubase 6 elements buying server 2008 r2 buy paint shop pro 10 price of final cut pro buy cs4 indesign can you buy excel separately windows xp oem buy student discount lightroom 2 dreamweaver cs4 used windows 7 discount pricing buy filemaker server 8 buy abbyy finereader purchase adobe premiere elements 8 buy adobe captivate 4 software price of office 2010 professional buy windows xp key online discount microsoft office 2013 students australia buy corel painter 11 cheap
levitra donde comprar viagra schweiz rezeptfrei super kamagra schweiz viagra på apoteket comprar viagra masticable cialis preiswert kaufen viagra online holland viagra au meilleur prix kamagra oral jelly kaufen acheter kamagra en france achat cialis pas cher en france forum achat viagra viagra pilule generics online regalo viagra soft cialis bestellen

We Need an Honest, Open, and Transparent Baltimore

For Baltimore City to grow and prosper once again, several problems must be solved: jobs, crime, and education are chief among them. But these are mere symptoms of the decades of systematic disinvestment which has characterized much of urban America since 1960.

A return to prosperity is possible, and we’ve seen it happen in other American cities like Washington, DC and New York City. But this didn’t happen by accident. It happened through a combination of strong political leadership and outside and local investment.

It happened by creating a level playing field, and creating a fair, open, and equitable business climate that attracted outside investment. It happened by creating city governments that were open and accountable and in which citizens have some confidence.

In cities like Boston and San Francisco, it happened thanks to the lowering of property tax rates across the board, spurring not just Big Developer projects but investment by individual homeowners.

But in Baltimore, we have two distinct problems. One is qualitative: we can’t be trusted. The other is quantitative: we need to fix property taxes.

Baltimore is just not trustworthy. No one trusts Baltimore City government. Outside investors see the city as a parochial, pay-to-play backwater where insiders call the shots. Commercial developers correctly believe that you need to make significant investment in laying groundwork with specific politicians, developers, and contractors to get a project started here.

Prospective residential buyers perceive Baltimore City government as bloated, inefficient, outdated, resistant to change, and focused more on working out deals with insider developers than on creating a solid residential base. And they have good reason to harbor this perception. While there are many good and dedicated people in city government who care deeply about residents and residential issues, the inefficiency and waste are undeniable. And they are everyday reality for city residents — many of whom share their horror stories with their friends and neighbors.

Many Baltimore City agencies have not been audited in decades. The audit of the Department of Recreation and Parks is now almost one year overdue — primarily because of lack of sufficient financial records. Baltimore City is preparing to return $7M to the federal government because it was unable to account for how Baltimore’s Homeless Services department spent any of those funds.

This is inexcusable. In any other setting, if money goes missing, heads roll. But the machine grinds on here with no firings, no outrage, just talking around the facts and playing down the mistakes. It’s no wonder no one trusts Baltimore City government, for it has proven itself not only untrustworthy but systemically incapable of correcting the problem.

Yes, we need to restructure property taxes. Boston and San Francisco both flourished after making changes to their property taxes. Every city is unique, and their fortunes were rising in many ways regardless. Our star is rising too. We are an incredibly well-located city in the richest state in the union. The future is bright — and we can accelerate our fortune dramatically.

Before we worry over fixing property taxes (a quantitative problem), let’s first prove that we’re capable of earning and actually worthy of people’s trust once again (a qualitative problem).

Let’s show that we care about financial accountability by rooting out waste, fraud, abuse, and inefficiency in every corner of Baltimore government. Let’s show we’re serious by pledging to:

  • Perform annual audits of every city agency
  • Discipline and fire people who oversee waste and abuse
  • Prosecute cases of fraud, graft, and malfeasance
  • Level the playing field for outside investors (both commercial and residential)
  • Get serious about eliminating inefficiency and waste
  • Open as much of the city’s records and data as possible
  • Cultivate the perception that Baltimore government is fair, honest, open, and efficient

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake is a smart, capable, and honest leader who has become entrenched in the culture of business-as-usual here in Baltimore — which simply must change. We need to call on the Mayor to lead this charge and demand accountability from all of the departments she oversees.

This isn’t going away. The next step in Baltimore’s return to prominence is to become — and be perceived as — a  trusted and honest partner. Sweeping problems under the rug won’t get us there.

Instead, it’s time to start throwing some people — the people who allow waste, fraud, and abuse — under the bus. Comprehensive financial and performance audits of city government are the best way to begin.

  • Greg Jarmiolowski

    I mostly agree with what you present here. I just think it will take a ton of political pressure to get these audits. Too much is at stake for too many people to let a third party look at the books and then let the public know what they found. And with the voter turnout so low, and with so many other issues to drive campaigns, I think it would take something really big.

  • Dave Troy

    Persistence is the key. This issue isn’t going away. The drumbeat will just keep building. At some point it will be more politically expedient to own this (and finesse the fallout) than it will be to obstruct and deny.

    There is a hearing on the audits bill at City Hall at 10am on Thursday December 12. If you can, show up to demonstrate support for this deeply important issue.

  • Greg Jarmiolowski

    I wish I could come but I moved away.

  • Dave Troy

    Proving my point. ;)