Time to take action

The article, “3 killed, 2 injured,” 7-19-16 made me realize we have an urgent situation in Baltimore City. None of the politicians, including the mayor, the City Council, and police chief, are willing to acknowledge this urgent crisis. I wonder why that is – why they do not have the guts to tell the truth. So….by process of default, I will step up to the plate. The citizens of Baltimore should know exactly what the truth is about the crime problem.

A war is going on between 95% of the law abiding citizens of Baltimore City and the other 5% consisting of drug lords, gang lords and drug addicts. This 5% of the population are winning right now because of the failure of the elected politicians to do their jobs. Citizens in Baltimore City are getting shot up everyday now, and this is unacceptable.

Here’s what needs to be done. I submit the mayor must ask the governor to declare a state of emergency in Baltimore City. Once this is done, the national guard can be brought in, temporarily, for a 3-week period to clear out the gang lords, drug lords and hangers-on. I believe if this were to be done, we would witness the largest reduction in crime in the history of Baltimore City for that specified period of time. The law abiding citizens should then demand that they be told the truth – There is a huge shortage of police officers to provide the safety that the 95% of law abiding citizens deserve.

A crash program to hire at least 500 more police officers should be implemented. More police officers and more foot patrols would go a long way in curbing the atrocities being committed on the streets of Baltimore City every day. The attack on officers today makes hiring additional ones no easy task, but we need to come to grips with the mission and reward these heroes with the incentives and rewards that most of them truly deserve. Kevin Davis’ idea for the relaxation of drug standards for police applicants (“Davis: pot rules hinder hiring,” 7-22-16) is not going to be a magic potion for hiring additional officers. And making deals to reduce the number of officers in exchange for pay increases is not a solution. We need both – more officers and pay increases together.

I plan to ask Governor Hogan to declare a state of emergency in Baltimore City and to call up the National Guard – actions that will finally bring a measure of badly needed protection to the law abiding citizens of Baltimore City.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher
Baltimore

Read the small print

The article, “Charges dropped against DeRay McKesson in La.,” 7-19-16 is typical of biased, misleading reporting of the Baltimore Sun and its efforts to present DeRay McKesson as a hero adept in effective, self-promoting protests.
The headline infers Mr. McKesson was innocent of all the charges and the only one who was exonerated. However, if you read the small print, you learn that he was one of about 100 arrested in Baton Rouge while protesting police brutality.

The truth is the District Attorney Hillar C. Moore III of East Baton Rouge made it known the office declined to prosecute the 100 protesters including Mr. McKesson. Therefore, the decision should not necessarily be equated with innocence on the part of the protesters. The prosecutor just did not demonstrate the courage to prosecute these “good folks.”

The truth is we just do not have real heroes who are public figures or so-called celebrities.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher
Baltimore

It makes no sense

The article, “McKesson is arrested at protest in Baton Rouge,” 7-11-16, prompted me to contact the office of the CEO of the Baltimore City Public School System, Dr. Sonja Santelises. My task at hand was to obtain an explanation for hiring an individual whose activities appear to center around the implementation of policy changes to stem police and state violence – as evidenced in his participation in nationwide protests against police brutality, one of which led to his arrest.

What kind of commitment to education has DeRay Mckesson demonstrated if it was so important to take a leave of absence from his job as senior director of human capital in the Minneapolis Public Schools System to protest the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. (Remember, Mr. Brown never lifted up his hands to surrender when he approached the Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, but this information was barely conveyed to the public by the mainstream media.

Mr. McKesson’s pursuit of protest activism appears to be taking precedence over his education mission. How does Mr. McKesson’s publicity seeking skills translate into direct, hands-on help for kids who can’t read and write to learn reading and writing and arithmetic. Perhaps he would be a stronger force for bringing about effective education by actually connecting with the students as a classroom teacher where he can exert a more positive, hands on influence with the youth. After all, at one time he did teach 6th grade math.

Mr. McKesson’s penchant for activism makes it difficult to establish stability and continuity as evidenced in his job jumping during the last few years.

In my conversation with a very articulate spokesperson for the CEO I asked what kind of sense does it make for a newly hired individual to earn $165,000 in the role of the city school district’s chief of human capital, managing a budget of $4 million and 56 employees while a dedicated and committed educator in a Baltimore City classroom, after 10 years of devotion to his/her students will never have the opportunity of earning such a salary each year. To me, this is unjust, unfair, and makes no sense.

To me, the appointment of Mr. McKesson to Dr. Santelises’ cabinet is a highly questionable decision, another blatant example of moral bankruptcy in the Department of Education in Baltimore City and a waste of taxpayers’ money. What’s even more disturbing is that the real losers are students and parents who have to be subjected to a failed and flawed educational system in Baltimore City.

For those readers of the Baltimore sun who are concerned about this decision, I suggest they call Dr. Santelises and ask for an explanation. As for me, the choice just doesn’t jive.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher
Baltimore

What happened to due process?

The writer, Mr. Broadwater, stated that Marilyn Mosby instantly became the controversial figure across America – lauded as a hero by the left and decried as a demagogue by the right – when she brought charges against the 6 officers in the death of Freddie Gray. One year later it is even more debatable. (“Marilyn Mosby stirs strong feelings,” 7-3-16)

Here’s my side of this story. I’m not on the left (liberal) or on the right (conservative). I am something different – one who tries to be ethical and who follows the truth no matter where it goes. The truth is that Mrs. Mosby became confused, not knowing the difference between being a prosecutor and a politician. She forgot that, even though she was elected in a political arena, her responsibility as a prosecutor is to follow the law. Instead she chose to pander to the street mob who demanded convictions of the 6 police officers without any due process. Mrs. Mosby decided to placate the liberal agitators who obviously lack knowledge about constitutional law. This decision reflected recklessness and lack of judicial responsibility on her part making it clear her ambition of becoming a new political rock star took precedence over the constitutional rights of the 6 law officers. That’s the reason I filed a complaint with the Attorney Grievance Commission back in May 2015, over a year ago, way before the recent disbarment request submitted by a law professor which was detailed in Kevin Rector’s June 28th article.

Look at how she deliberately misled the courts. Justin Fenton, in his June 22nd article pointed out that Mrs. Mosby asserted her office conducted an independent investigation which included using the city sheriff’s office. However, the sheriff assigned to the case said in the affidavit he had “no involvement in the investigation whatsoever.”

Today we are confronted with a polarization of the police department against the state’s attorney of Baltimore City – a schism encouraged by the liberal media of this town that further impedes the Baltimore City Police Department from doing its job effectively. When officers have their hands tied behind theirs backs with threats of being arrested themselves when they make an arrest, how can they be expected to capably carry on. To condemn the entire Baltimore City Police Department for the wrongful behavior of a small number of bad cops is simply unfair.

Until the mainstream media in Baltimore adapts a fairness approach in their coverage of the trials of the 6 officers and the agitators develop more respect for the people who protect us, the law abiding citizens of Baltimore will continue to suffer as victims of horrendous crimes.

 

A lesson learned not very well

The article, “University System chancellor awarded bonus,” 6-16-16 caught my attention. It was reported that in 2013, the Open Meetings Compliance Board found that the University of Maryland Board of Regents violated the Open Meetings Act when they met in closed session to discuss the University of Maryland’s move from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten Conference. The judgment came as a result of a complaint that I filed against the University of Maryland Board of Regents.

The Open Meetings Law is a joke because the Open Meetings Compliance Board has no teeth with which to punish any government agency when violations of the law occur. That’s why I’m not going to waste my time and file another complaint with the Compliance Board regarding this latest decision made in closed session with regard to the bonus for Chancellor Caret.

However, your readers should be cognizant of the fact that this recent violation of the Open Meetings Act represents another example of the phony politicians in the Maryland State Legislature and the governors who continue to snooker their constituents by making them believe they support open government when in reality it’s the farthest thing from the truth. The reality is all these “good folks” care about is maintaining their power as career politicians.

What makes the situation more disgusting is the part that the Attorney General’s office plays in the scenario. One segment of the department is supposed to advise the Board of Regents on the legality of conducting closed sessions while another sector of the Attorney General’s office, the Compliance Board, is supposed to enforce the violation of the law. Apparently the left hand of the Attorney General’s office does not know what the right is doing.

In some ways the desire for open government is laughable, but in other ways it’s really sad. The ones who suffer are the voters of the state of Maryland.

 

Football and politics, a harmful mix

Coach John Harbaugh’s action, as reported in “NFL punishes Harbaugh, team for practice violations,” 5-27-16 is cause for concern. Apparently, John Harbaugh, and for that matter the entire organization including the owner, think it’s passable to not only break the rules, but also lie about it. They give the impression the “ends” justify the “means”.

The philosophy of these good folks over at the Ravens’ Headquarters at Owing Mills reminds me of the behavior of politicians. On the sports side we see exploitation of the players; on the political side we witness the exploitation of the constituents. In the political realm we have to question whose interests are really served – those of the career politicians or those of the people they are supposed to serve. On the sports level, we can easily question if the big shots in the Ravens’ organization really care about their fans? Look at the exorbitant prices charged to be seat holders at the Ravens’ games. Remember what the Ravens did to the merchants in Western Maryland? So what if they break a 50 year tradition of holding summer practices in Western Maryland? So what if they screw the merchants whose livelihood depended to a large degree on the summer revenues?

Here comes the hard truth. Football is legalized brutality. The name of the game in this sport is to hit the opponent as hard as possible so the quarterbacks, ends, running backs will fumble the ball. Too often this foul play results in football players suffering from concussions and their lives ruined when their football days are over. What’s more, there is a cover-up by NFL owners in reporting the seriousness of the concussion problem among players once their football careers come to an end. Stan White, an ex Baltimore Colts’ player pointed out that at least half of the players are broke in mind, spirit, money, and marriage when their careers in football are over. Oh yes, let’s not forget the domestic spousal violence that occurs by the players – remember Ray Rice? Bruce Laird, another ex Baltimore Colt, has spoken about the way players who played before 1990 have been mistreated by the greedy football owners

It’s time to face the truth, It may not be popular, but football needs to go.

Time will tell

As a critic of BGE for the last 24 years, I have complained constantly about BGE’s shortage of power restoration crews when bad storms come our way. So I was pleasantly surprised to read Jonathan Capriel‘s article “BGE reports shorter outages in historic winter,” 5-26-16 in which BGE attributed the shorter duration of power outages to investments in making the system more resilient and to changes in how it deploys repair crews.

To me this means spending more money for the purpose of making more power crews available when weather reports indicate looming storms ahead. To me it means their taking proactive steps by bringing in more power crews from out of state before the storm actually strikes.

While such measures exemplify positive action on the part of Stephen Woerner, BGE’s president and chief operating officer, some of his adverse acts should not be ignored. Just how wise was the Exelon-Pepco merger? I venture to say, it was not a judicious decision. What’s more if Mr. Woerner is really sincere, he would do away with the exorbitant penalty imposed on customers for refusing to change to smart meters.

The question becomes just how serious is Stephen Weorner in making service really better for the customers. Time will tell.