Remember Baltimore's displaced poor

June 17, 2013

The recent commentary regarding landlord-tenant court hit home to me the other day ("Justice eludes poor tenants in Baltimore," June 13). I had been witnessing for days the meteoritic building of a housing development on a entire block in East Baltimore at Wolfe and Fayette streets that is advertised as the "Jefferson Luxury Apartments." It is truly amazing to see the large number of workers, equipment, tall cranes and trucks going in and out of this development hourly each day. If you have not seen such hurried activity before, you should come down and take a look. Words can not describe such a rush to finish. Big money and power are on display!

What bothers me most is the thought of the "displacement of families." Where did they all go? Will they ever come back? Deborah Weimer in her opinion piece talks about the high cost of rent even for sub-standard housing in Baltimore. I wonder what will be the rent in these luxury apartments? It is a no brainer to conclude that these displaced families will never be coming back. Neither will most of the families displaced by the nearby East Baltimore Development Initiative project. Many will see this Jefferson development as progress in the Johns Hopkins area, but I see it as an eye sore, a constant reminder that we, as citizens, are not being fair to each other, that we are not being just, and that we are not being compassionate enough to care deeply. I wonder how many of these rental units will be available for affordable housing? How much of this project has been vetted by members of our City Council?

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has set a goal of adding 10,000 more city residents. Will she accomplish this by moving select people out to move select people in our city? What will be the desired composition and how will it differ from our present composition? Elsewhere in The Sun, we read about lobbyists who make over $900,000 a year and questionable deals being made with developers in Harbor Point. Who can we trust? What rules should we live by? It is moments like this that I remember what Gandhi said: "Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man who you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him." It is important to remember this because in each of our dealings. Our humanity is at stake and good people will be affected by our decisions.

Raymond D. Bahr, Baltimore

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