Baltimore City's plan to close 128 liquor stores is an incredibly misguided decision ("City targets liquor stores," June 18). While the city's leaders should be commended for finding ways to lessen crime, their solution does little more than rob 128 small business owners of their livelihood.
Are there liquor stores that exacerbate crime and produce other problems in their neighborhoods? Absolutely. Are there 128 such establishments? Absolutely not.
Liquor stores do not cause crime, nor does their existence in poor neighborhoods (which count for the resounding majority of neighborhoods where closures are intended) cause crime.
Is it sad that stores that sell alcohol are sometimes the only credible businesses in a particular neighborhood? Yes, it is. Should we base city policy on our despondency over this situation? No.
Today, I spoke with one such small business owner. His family emigrated from Korea and has owned their small neighborhood store for 25 years. He and his family are being confronted with the unimaginable.
Their store is in a robust neighborhood where crime is less of a problem than elsewhere in the city, but they are on the verge of seeing their American dream turn into the great American foreclosure overnight.
Alcohol is not the enemy. Why aren't the mayor and the City Council looking for 128 companies that want to hire Baltimore residents instead? I'd certainly drink to that.
Richard Barber, Baltimore