Too many in Baltimore don't care about their neighborhoods

August 22, 2011

Re: Your article in Friday's Sun paper outlining a new vision for North Avenue, a place of dereliction since the '70s ("A vision for North Avenue"). I am heartened to see and hear that there are still people in Baltimore that care about their neighborhoods, even though one would feel extremely skeptical when driving along the corridors of North Avenue in East and West Baltimore — and let's not give South Baltimore a free pass.

Trash and graffiti are the first signs of decay, along with vacant properties, in any city. A lack of a moral compass coupled with a lackadaisical, "who cares" attitude, round out the top three on a list of social ills that plague this city and countless urban cities across our country.

Can we blame it on the poor, or the ethnicity of the neighborhood? No. I grew up poor in a diversified, mixed neighborhood to the north in Philadelphia, and I can assure you the streets were clean. Families put out their trash responsibly; far and wide, people kept themselves and their properties clean.

Recently I saw youths and adults come out of a fast food establishment and simply toss the paper wrappings on the sidewalk as if the sidewalk and street were their own personal trash can. Like most lessons in life, we learn our way starting in the home. Today's broken, single parent/no parent homes are devoid of any training about property of others and respect for theirs and their neighbors. Until we see an turnaround in society and the way we look at authority and care about ourselves, we will see little if any improvement.

Graffiti and trash violators should be fined heavily, and if they can't pay the fine then let them do the time — on the same streets as a crew worker.

Bernard F. McKernan, Parkville

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