Declare war on crime, Culotta urges mayor
Saying it's time to stop violent criminals from playing "Russian Roulette" with innocent people, Republican mayoral hopeful Samuel A. Culotta wants Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke to put his foot down about crime.
Culotta says the mayor should ask Gov. William Donald Schaefer to declare a state of emergency in Baltimore.
The reason? The order would allow "a minimum of 200 to 400" State Police or state militia members to be deputized as city police officers for six months. After that, the city could appeal to the General Assembly for money to greatly expand its 3,000-person police force, Culotta said.
Culotta, who has run for mayor numerous times, says the added manpower is needed to slow the rise in homicides in the city.
"The city is not safe. Our people are fearful despite the heroic efforts of the Baltimore City Police Department," Culotta said in a statement. "We do not need 50 more foot patrolmen. We need a minimum of 200 to 400 foot patrolmen to cope with the current crime epidemic."
Culotta added that he has no concern about the city's image being tarnished by a state of emergency.
"Business, especially small business, has already been discouraged because of crime," he said. "If anything, the high crime rate has already driven many of our citizens out of Baltimore."
William A. Swisher, a Democratic candidate for mayor, says Baltimore should have a high school entirely dedicated to sports.
"What would be wrong with a 'School for the Sports?' " asks Swisher. Such a school could be modeled after the School for the Arts, a high school that offers fine arts instruction and high academic standards, he adds.
Swisher says the sports school could be housed at the old Eastern High School, across 33rd Street from Memorial Stadium. The stadium will sit idle when the Orioles move to Camden Yards at the end of the baseball season. Proposals call for razing the stadium after the Orioles move, but Swisher says it could be used as a playing site for the sports school.
Mayoral candidate John Ascher says Mayor Schmoke played into the hands of the "drug mafia" by advocating the decriminalization of drugs.
"Many have recently asked why there is no war on drugs in Baltimore, no drug czar -- not even a fig leaf, Ascher says, adding: "It is because your mayor agrees with the drug mafia, that it is better to legalize drugs than to wage war to stop drugs."
Schmoke says the federal government's war on drugs is a failure and decriminalization would take the profit out of the drug trade.
Ascher, a Lyndon LaRouche follower who is running as a Democrat, is urging voters to "defeat our local pro-drug" mayor. Ascher's campaign literature says: "Whether you like it or not, Baltimore's race for mayor is a referendum on legalizing drugs. Vote no to dope.!!!"