Governor Brings Show of Unity and Force to Annapolis and Especially Eastport ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Friday, February 22, 2008

Governor Brings Show of Unity and Force to Annapolis and Especially Eastport

The Cavalry just rode into town. Yesterday's news conference at the Eastport United Methodist Church is a most welcome sign that our elected officials are listening and responding to citizen's concerns about crime in our beleaguered city. This was just two weeks after a citizen's meeting was held in the same church that focused on asking for a crime fighting plan. The cameras rolled yesterday and in case you missed the media reports, CP suggests you tune in, but the bottom line is that every elected official from the Governor to the House Speaker to the US Attorney to our entire District 30 delegation to what seemed to be half the top cops in the state to the Mayor and most of our Aldermen stood together and promised resources and coordination.

Does this prove the adage that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"? It is clear that this has come about because of an outpouring of citizen concern and a public show of dissatisfaction for our own local leadership, mainly Mayor Moyer and Chief Johnson, although public protest was not at all on the agenda at yesterday's conference. I think it would have helped further the cause and make the pols look better if they had invited one local resident to stand with them and address the cameras.

Some locals, mainly under the banner of the Eastport Stop The Gunfire Taskforce recently met with House Speaker Busch and staff from the Governor's Office. However, Eastport resident Ton Zwaard did get his two cents in and was picked up on WJZ and The Baltimore Sun. He emphasized the one major point that was ignored by the officials--and that is the preponderance of public housing in Annapolis and its relation to criminal activity.

On a related note, one agency was conspicuously missing from the display board showing the names of each agency involved in the new campaign and that is the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The only other federal agency listed was the US District Attorney, represented by Rod Rosenstein, and while local HACA Executive Director Eric Brown was present, CP and many others are increasingly convinced that until we drastically overhaul, transform or end public housing as we know it today, we will never address one of the root if not the leading causes of drug-related and violent crime. It remains the political sticking point but perhaps as more people in Annapolis are willing to speak out about this challenge, we will begin to develop fair, equitable and workable solutions to the gaping wound of public housing. Many of us remain confused about exactly who owns and oversees and who can eventually determine the future of the vast public housing complexes in our tiny town.

Citizens want a plan about crime more than anything, and it seems that this addresses many of the concerns that have been expressed but it remains to be seen if we will actually get a local plan. This plan must be made with citizen input and with the recognition that our concerns as residents is what has brought this about and is what should be driving further action.

Of course, good citizens hope for the best, but keep a skeptical eye focused.

We especially thank Governor O'Malley, Speaker Busch and Mayor Moyer for your pledges, your support and your commitment. My impression is that you are serious and sincere and will act. It was mentioned that Senator Astle, Speaker Busch and the Governor himself also live in Annapolis. Please work with the local residents, continue to listen to us and call upon us to work with you. Please work with us to track progress, monitor and report on results.

We will be watching this very closely.



I don't know if they're the Cavalry, or the Gang that couldn't shoot straight. So far in O'Malley's administration, I've seen more of the latter. But, hopefully this effort won't go the way of the income tax cuts everyone was going to get, the reduction in BGE rates and all the other "promises" that were easy to make, but hard to keep. We'll see.

Bob McWilliams
All politicians break promises. O'Malley is no better and probably no worse. It's the nature of the beast.


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