Sunday, January 22, 2006

January 22

Sun: Five unrelated homicides in the last 24 hours have brough the murder total to 23.

Details on the cases of some violent, lucky criminals who will be roaming free in the Southwestern. Add those to dozens of cases jeapordized when Southern district detectives Clarence Grear and Kevin E. Jones were charged with perjury, and you have... the entire lower 2/3rds of the city being completely uninhabitable*.

James Lydell Ray died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at the home of Bernard and Linda Ganoe. He shot and killed a 12-year-old girl and wounded four other people on Sherwood Avenue ealy yesterday morning.

More details on the shootingn of Islam Fahad, the four-year-old wounded by a stray bullet in a Columbia "Hot Spot."

Three men with the oddest names you ever did hear were arrested for shooting James Rivers on his lawn in Essex: Chaunisty Terrell Wallace, 26, John Louise Williams, 21, and Deandre Lamont Williams, 17.

Joseph Schroen, 20, is accused of kidnapping and biting his ex-girlfriend in Sykesville.

The lawsuit brought by relatives of the late Noah Jamahl Jones saw their $1m lawsuit dimissed. Judge Paul Harris faulted the victim for going to the home where there were armed boys and starting a fight.

Graphic backstory from HoCo: troopers took down Paul Banville after his SUV was tracked using LoJack. Now he's awaiting extradition to MA for strangling his 17-year-old neice to death with a dog lead.

Post editorialist abuses horse metaphors, gripes that MD 'crat race is "glum".

Ehrlich is not happy about the results of the big gay lawsuit. JZ reports his omnious and awkwardly transcribed response: "Maryland is in the lime light {sic} nationally, and it's not a positive story, and we'll do what we can to correct the situation." That should come as good news to the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, which plans to stage a protest at the funeral of Sgt. Michael McMullen, 25, a soldier from Salisbury who died in Iraq. Church members and its leader, Fred Phelps, are famous for protesting the funeral of Matthew Sheppard with "God Hates Fags" signs, and multiple interviews on the Howard Stern Show.

I can't believe I missed this: In March, while a jury was in judge Prevas' courtoom listening to testimony in a murder case, the jury room was burgled. Jurors were robbed of cell phones, cash and car keys. "They were angry, hot, livid," said Warren A. Brown.

*If you look at a map, it's really shocking how much space the "good" neighborhoods take up! Like less than a fourth of the city land!


Anonymous said...

WJZ reports "More murders than days!" about the rising crime in Charm City.

Anonymous said...

Details on the cases of some violent, lucky criminals who will be roaming free in the Southwestern. Add those to dozens of cases jeapordized when Southern district detectives Clarence Grear and Kevin E. Jones were charged with perjury, and you have... the entire lower 2/3rds of the city being completely uninhabitable*.

Yep, now you see what I've been ranting about. Baltimore isn't a real place. It has a patina of civility, but it's only a micron deep before you get to... emptiness. This city, taken as a whole, is national disgrace. The Believe campaign is a lie; a con job. And O'Malley is the biggest con artist of all. Time magazine's fave.

The State of Maryland should declare Baltimore in a state of disaster and assume emergency supervision of its police department.

Maurice Bradbury said...

Well, you could always move, the days of slavery are over, unless you're on probation.

How could "believe" be a lie? It's more like an interjection. Or a request. Or a massive waste of the public relations budget.

O'Malley has made a lot of positive progress. The playground on my street has been completely redone and city services are really responsive. But on the other hand, what's the excuse for the police department being understaffed? Is that O'Malley's fault? The city council's? Ehrlich's? A lack of 20-something men in town who can pass a drug test and run two blocks?

InsiderOut said...

i love living in baltimore!

Anonymous said...

WARNING: this sucker is long.

BELIEVE is a lie. BeLIEve is a promise that a normal lifestyle is around the corner if you hold on.

Playgrounds can be provided privately, but certain public goods are irreplaceable. For these, conventional economics dictates that the marginal utility with respect to the public good approaches infinity as the quantity of the good approaches zero. That is, the utility from ALL goods goes to zero, so that good is a limiting quantity.

Consider a pound cake recipe, for which the supply of flour is constrained. When you cut back flour from 1 lb. to 15 oz., the cake is still pretty good. However, by the time there's only 1 oz. of flour relative to the full complement of other ingredients, the recipe just makes a gloppy sugary, greasy omelette, and nothing will improve in the absence of flour.

Without a certain minimum of essential things, life is just miserable. In my neighborhood, every aspect of life revolves around some criminal element, except for the world inside your home. Other than sleeping and storage, very little of my life occurs in my home.

My business is constantly interrupted by shady dudes looking to sell 'their' belongings of every type. They try to get my customers to buy hot merchandise, stolen bicycles, lawn furniture, CD's, silverware, in the doorway. Customers are asked if they want to buy drugs, and when they decline are told they'd better mind their business (ie. not report the offeror)!

I actually had one of these clowns enter on the pretext of being a customer and solicit the other person inside (who happened to be my mother). When I told him 'No sale.' and to get out, he asserted "I have rights!" The right to deal drugs within someone else's private property.

That's what we're to Believe in.

We also have a beautiful new playground. I'd never send my child anywhere near it, so it's pretty useless to me. The punks have already started destroying it and the police are discourages from protecting it through arrest. A sex offender is registered 40 feet behind me. The most freely drug-dealing zone here is the drug-free zone around our elementary school.

Ehrlich's not at fault. Not yet. It's not his job while Baltimore City has the exclusive (Yes, exclusive) authority to operate a police department within this jurisdiction.

Hamm is a Commissioner. He is only appointed by the Mayor. He's NOT supposed to answer to him. He's supposed to exercise his best judgement as a professional to carry out the Department's mission: protection of person and property. If the Mayor has another objective, the Commis. is supposed to tell him to go jump in a lake.

Given that the Commish here IS subordinate to the Mayor's people, O'Malley is responsible.

As to inadequate resources, neither Hamm nor O'Malley has particularly sought to recruit additional officers. They're just 'hoping' more materialize.

Imagine you walk into a restaurant with fifty tables and two waiters. The maitre d' informs you he 'hopes' he'll have more waitresses someday. How much is he offering them? $1.00 an hour plus tip. No takers. In the meantime, please take a seat. Your dinner will be served in about two hours. Cold.

How short is the Baltimore Police Department? Not by 20 officers, that's for sure. My neighborhood's 3 block by 9 block police post is short by about that. The answer depends who you ask. To have sustainable coverage of our (rather high) number of hoodlums comparable to other (civilized) metro areas, you'd need about 67% more manpower, depending upon how many are deployed to patrols. That number would likely fall off a bit after some years as hoodlums choose another venue for their activities. (They really like it here, by the way. We are a destination for crooks. They mostly relocate here from down South. But they don't live in the 'good' neighborhoods.)

You'd also need proportionately many more cars, judges, probation officers, etc. We are WAY off of normal life. Way off. Hamm agrees that he's way short. Has been for years. He's also not moitivated to do anything effective to change it. His boss is cool with the status quo except perhaps for the new spike in murder.

Why does Believe work for some of you in the short-run? Because the consequences of criminality are not felt equally across Baltimore neighborhoods. Criminals are not allowed in the 'good' neighborhoods. I've actually heard officers tell them to go to MY neighborhood, "where they belong". My neighborhood, in case you hadn't guessed, is overwhelmingly black. If the Believers who have paid over $250M for the privilege of living in Charm City ever had to put up with what is allowed where I am, they'd fly outta here but quick.

A neighbor a few blocks over on the edge of the 'good' area was home-invaded. The police told her to get locks, bars, alarms, etc., so its apparently her fault. She asked if they were going to patrol the alleys, from which the entry occured. Nope. She called the special district which was supposed to provide supplemental security. They said they were going to do nothing at night. Too dangerous. She purchased a house here BECAUSE of the promised security. If she'd known this was part of Baltimore B, the bad neighborhood, she would never have moved here. She told me this. After contacting her councilman, the police were informed that she was actually in Baltimore A and that Baltimore B begins about a block further, so they should protect her. And, she is white. She probably should have said that when she called the first time.

If Baltimore A and Baltimore B had an exchange program, like other dissimilar cultures, the returning citizens of Baltimore A would be demanding more cops citywide as well.

Suppose when you bought a house or took a lease at some location, you had a 10% probability of being mandatorily moved instead to a randomly-selected location in Baltimore. Maybe Smallwood, Whatcoat, or Mura Streets. Now how comfortable are you with the number of cops we have here?

Maybe the problem with BELIEVE is about truth-in-advertising. The Mayor should have clear, visible labelling on the map of neighborhoods about which he proposes to make habitable and those which are... characteristically Baltimore. And Nasty.

The Mayor should say what you've said: "This neighborhood is gonna be a hell-hole. I'm gonna withhold policing. If you don't want to live in Fallujah, don't live here. Move to the civilized world. In particular, move to the white neighborhod. Baltimore, therefore, is in the paradoxical position of being a black city which institutionalizes segregation. Doubt it? Sit in for a day at a randomly-selected Baltimore City Public School.

Instead, he says "Believe." It's a snake-oil salespitch. It implies a return to normal life which is not forthcoming under current policies. And in the meantime, let's rebuild the playgrounds so that people don't figure out what kind of place this really is.

Maurice Bradbury said...

Well, as much as it pains me to say... you're right. About me, anyway. I don't think O'Malley was promising anyone a "normal" lifestyle. If that's the case, then "believe" is an admission that the city is, at present, in a crapitudinous state.

What you're also right about is Baltimore A and B. And there are (a handful of) black "A" neighborhoods and white "B' neigborhoods... though this still is the most segregated, racially contentious city I've ever heard of.

Anyway, for Baltimore A, Believing has paid off: thousands of homeowners who bought in Baltimore A after O'M was elected have made six figures on their real estate. For a tiny wedge of homeowners in the Northern district and parts of Federal Hill, Bolton Hill and Canton, life has been pretty good, and O'Malley has taken care of those neighborhoods very well.

It's a national phenom: real estate and tax breaks are making the divide between the rich and poor tremendous.

So I'm buying my second Baltimore house, in an "A"-er neighborhood. I asked a lady whose daughter goes to the public school what she thought of it. She said "the parents speak well, and there's less of the kinds of people you're trying to keep your kids away from."

Not a very Quakerly sentiment. I'm in a (white) working-class neighborhood and the majority of the neighbors are kind, concerned citizens who do their best to keep the place up and love their kids and grandkids.

But there are plenty of that "kind" of people. They've dropped out of school, they don't take care of their teeth, they end sentences with prepositions, they cuss and spit loogies and have bottom-of-the barrel jobs like Rite Aid Cashier, dime-bag dealer, Retired Sex Offender, or JZ copyeditor. And I'm like, I can't raise a family around these people, or my children will grow up spitting, cussing, drinking Busch and dropping chicken bones on the street.

But say, galt, we have all of the police in the world-- where they supposed to put these people? The 17-year-old hoodlums? Central Booking is at 135%, thanks to Ehrlich we have NOWHERE for juvenile offenders, and we just can't afford, as a society, to keep petty criminals in jail their entire lives at the cost of $30,000 a year.

What we need is state-of-the art schools for young first-time offenders. We could spend $20,000 a year making them sit in school, wash dishes, cook and learn actual skills 12 hours a day. Maybe one or two years of harsh boarding school like an upper-middle-class bad kid would get would keep us from having to feed, clothe and house them for 25 years in the future.

But no, Republicans would never go for that. It's punish, punish, punish. No rehabilitation, education or degrees in jail, nowhere for 15 and 16-year-old boys to go but the couch at central booking ir the block of Baltimore B.

"Conservatives" would rather lose 100% of these boys on a path to poverty, addiction and criminal trades than educate them and give any of them a chance at growing up to do anything else. Heaven forbid we should give some black 15-to-30-year-old the education and leg up Bush's daddy gave him, or help poor single moms get some kind of health coverage, Redmer, so we can intervene with mentally ill young adults?

But it's all about punishment and not dealing with anything until it's out of the back end of the horse.

Anonymous said...

I've run readiness to work programs and remedial JHS curricula for Baltimore's B population.

The result is, additional training almost never works on someone who isn't self-motivated to utilize it. Successful programs cherrypick the few, the humble, the ambitious. These are just late-bloomers who needed some time to mature.

The majority, however, who have embraced the criminal lifestyle here (as opposed to just the use of some lesser abused substance) will not be improved. They don't mature; they just get older.

If you want to make a difference in their lives, you needed to start young and remove them from unsalutary influences, which frequently means their families. Once they are conditioned in the mold of their peers, it's sorta too late.

Successful training entails both positive and negative reinforcements. When they do not receive positive feedback to productive behavior, which is often not forthcoming from less-productive family members, the amount of negative-only reinforcement needed in response to poor conduct becomes astronomical. And costly when provided publicly.

You just cannot economically provide personal remediation to a population that's this messed up. The best you can do is to cherrypick the diamonds-in-the-rough who have something on the ball and took a wrong turn somewhere. ONE wrong turn.

As for the cost of incarcerating or otherwise incapacitating those who exhibit utter disregard for basic criminal law, that IS the basic reason and original justification for government.

If you're unwilling to pay the cost of housing those deemed to have violated basic law, you either exile them or, kill 'em. Because we don't seem to relish capital punishment and sprawl has eliminated city ex-urbs to which we once exiled outlaws, we're left with jailing them or legalizing their conduct.

Education is nothing without incentive/motivation. It is much overrated as a panacea. The incentives work against you here. Dealing drugs well is much more lucrative than most things a B.A. will qualify you for.

Diverting funds from punishment to entitlement won't succeed, except in a minority of cases where delinquent behavior is really accidental or circumstantial.

Finally, you've remarked on the importance of giving young black (did I specify they were all black? Not in your vicinity, they're not.) males and education. It doesn't work that way. Credentials can largely be purchased. (Take a look at Dubya.) When everybody receives them equally, they've lost their income-enhancing value.

Education, on the other hand, requires work. You cannot give it. You can only give access to it, which is remarkably cheap. Chinese kids and E. European kids learn much more than ours do in public school and they have vastly fewer resources. What they do have, is rewards and punishments.

In China, if you screw around in class, they take your books away and send you to mine coal. Incentives work. They involve the application of judgement. Many conservatives are willing to improve the lot of the downtrodden with vast potential. But many of the downtrodden have little potential, and no one's anxious to pour dollars down that rat-hole.

The problem I've encountered with those of the liberal persuasion is that they're OK in principal with notion that someone who hasn't received a silver platter might turn to crime. They're less OK with it when he breaks into THEIR house and molests THEIR children.

Noticeably, upper-middle class, probably white, liberals don't live in Baltimore B. They don't really want to live with the consequences of ineffective public expenditures, but they sure want to have input on them.

Howzabout the conservatives agree to fund public schools up to the per student budget of the People's Republic of China and liberals pick up the rest? Then we'll see how much punishment/judgement is meted out.

InsiderOut said...

with all due respect DC (love the site), but blaming Republicans for Baltimore's problems is ridiculous. Democrats have controlled the government in this city for 40 years and before three years ago, they controlled the State government for that long, too. Democrats created the mess in this City.

Now, aside from partisan blame, there are conservative ideas that have been fought in this city for a long time. Charter schools are finally opening in the city give an opportunity for motivated parents and kids to get a good public education. Competition is a good thing.

Liberal judges have repeatedly listened to the moan and wail of Defendants' lawyers about their hard life and done them a disservice. Many decide not to give any real consequence for criminal behavior thinking that they are helping the disadvantaged. This has not worked. Those that choose a criminal lifestyle learn that the consequences for the behavior are not often real. What needs to be done is to give those that choose a criminal lifestyle real consequences for their choices. It's not to sey never give them a second chance, but more about saying no to the third, fourth or fifth chance. It's tough love and it's needed here in Baltimore. Our criminal justice system is limping along, however, and this combined with the liberal judges gives young men license to continue their behavior

Maurice Bradbury said...

I don't blame Republicans from the crime problem, and Schmoke could not have done a worse job as mayor, but the present Republican administration certainly isn't helping. We all agree that people who repeatedly menace our neighborhoods should be hung from the highest tree. But what about first-time offenders and juveniles and teenage offenders? The Ehrlich response has been to charge them as adults (so they get AP criminality classes in adult jail) or ship them out of state. Don't get me wrong, I hate dirty-mouthed teenagers and I wish we could house them in some big remedial school far away where their mouths were washed out with Dial every day, but the reality is, they're going to come back at some point (and Ehrlich sent the vast majority of them right back into the community), and they have to go somewhere. So.. where? What's the big plan? I'll be waiting to see if any of the candidates have any idea.

InsiderOut said...

I hate being a Republican apologist, but the local prosecutor chooses whether to try juveniles as adults subject to a judge's approval. All I know Ehrlich has done is close down the horrible, criminal breeding ground known as the Hickey School for juvenile offenders. For juveniles in Baltimore City, I think sending them out of state, away from their negative influences, is an effort at rehabilitation. Yes, rehabilitation.

Also, under Ehrlich, the Department of Corrections has been working on something called RESTART program (reported in the City Paper) that helps ex-offenders transition back into society.

Also, Ehrlich has departed from the Glendening policy of no pardons and actually pardoned people (and no, they were not campaign donors).

The knee-jerk attack on Republicans doesn't really work on Ehrlich with respect to the crime issue. It certainly may work on other issues, but crime is really a local problem, not a state problem.

As an aside, I saw a Lt. Col. in the Baltimore Police on TV today say that he can try to control violence, but they cannot control "morality" and how parents raise their kids. I was shocked to hear that on TV.

Maurice Bradbury said...

You were? You must not watch any Sinclair channels.

Anonymous said...

Police here routinely state that they cannot do anything about juvenile delinquents. BTW, this includes Comm. Hamm. That's a direct quote. He said it right in front of me.

They can. They're paid to. They just don't wanna do all that paperwork for a quick fix.

You'd be amazed what kinda things they let under the radar because the paperwork is too burdensome.

My view: the paperwork is procedure. If it needs to be simplified, the Commissioner should so request. Otherwise,... DO YER FRICKIN' JOB.

InsiderOut said...

the juvenile system was set up for juvenile delinquents, not juveniles who commit felonies. The juvenile system does not handle those too well. It takes a long time for any "trial" to occur and afterward the juveniles are rarely given any consequence for their actions. At this stage in their developement, it fosters the belief that they can continue this lifestyle.