Here's hoping for a better 1993 for Baltimore


January 01, 1993|By JACQUES KELLY

Here are some resolutions, hopes and suggestions for the New Year:

Let's hope that 1993 will see the end of the slaughter in our streets. The drug wars are killing the city, its people and neighborhoods as well as the precious self-confidence Baltimore built in the last 20 years with its renaissance.

Nobody wants to go out to buy a quart of milk after dark. On a hot summer night, people are afraid to sit on their front steps.

Let's hope the worst is over, that Baltimore will pull itself out of its wretched, crime-induced funk. Let's also hope our leadership will have the spine to address and outsmart the drug dealers so pedestrians can again walk across North Avenue without fearing for their lives.

* Let's hope that 1993 will bring jobs back to Baltimore. There are many reasons why the region has suffered. Economic ills brought layoffs in heavy industries. Corporate avariciousness slashed payrolls. Maybe it's too much of a dream, but can we ever return to those breezy economic days when a sober 20-year-old could walk into Bethlehem Steel, Western Electric or Social Security and leave with a good job?

* Let the Orioles' owners and the state resolve to ease up on the legal rights to the name Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The trademark restrictions are ridiculous.

For example, when you buy an ordinary, 20-cent picture post card of the stadium, its caption reads, "O- P- A- C- Y- Baltimore, Maryland -- Fill in the blanks for the name of the new home of Baltimore's famous baseball team. . . . Fees for printing this trademarked name would increase the cost of this card."

Also being sold is an area rug with scenes of local landmarks -- the Washington Monument, Hampton House and the Inner Harbor. There's also a picture of Oriole Park. It's captioned, "Baseball."

In 1993, let the team's owners get less greedy. After all, who footed the bill for O-P-A-C-Y?

* Let's hope the goodwill that Oriole Park has established in Washington and its suburbs will somehow rub off and do Baltimore some permanent economic good far beyond the cost of a seat, a hot dog and a beer.

* Here's a suggestion for the developers of HarborView: Knock about 10 stories off that Big Brother of an apartment house now being completed at Key Highway and Cross Street. It's just too big for the setting.

* Let City Hall's pea-brained bureaucrats resolve to ease up on festival-bashing. What good is a city if you can't have any fun, close the streets for a day and sell hot dogs and beer to locals, not Washingtonians?

* Another suggestion. OK. The City Fair's dead. What about doing something that would help restore confidence and put all neighborhoods in the better light of mutual understanding? What about an event for places scattered from Linthicum to Gardenville, Howard Park to Stoneleigh? It wouldn't hurt if Ruxton got to know Highlandtown a little better.

One of the charms of Baltimore is the determined loyalty of its residents to their neighborhoods. The other side of this regional personality trait is our hidebound insularity.

The incoming administration of President-elect Bill Clinton is promising to help cities and urban regions. The time has come to stop thinking merely about Baltimore City's troubles. What affects Govans hurts Wiltondale and Towson; what hurts Curtis Bay hurts Glen Burnie, too. Let's hope people will learn to look beyond the end of their street.

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