I recently amused myself by perusing the Baltimore City Council agendas and minutes for 2012. (I admit, I have a pretty boring life. C-Span is the most watched channel in my house.)
From what I could gather is that the City Council deals with a lot of land-use issues, confirmations of mayoral appointments, land-use issues, a very limited amount of tax issues (none that actually lowered our property taxes, that I could see), land-use issues, a very limited amount of crime fighting issues (the only one I could find was requiring the city to put statistics on line), land-use issues, resolutions, recitals of bills, motions to adopt bills, ways to keep rec centers open, and more land-use issues.
Mind you, I am no anti-government crank. I think a strong central government (federal, state, or local) is very important and necessary for a civil society. I think the City Council probably needed to address all of those issues, and the other seemingly mundane tasks. I am not demeaning the importance of the work the City Council performs.
But I have to wonder why the City Council appears not to have address probably one of the main problems with city living that drives people out of Baltimore - sanitation code violations and rats.
I saw absolutely not one word from anyone on the City Council concerning rats or sanitation code violations. Not one word on how we can better control rats or how we can better combat serial sanitation code violators.
Not one word. (If I missed something concerning sanitation code violations and rats, I hope someone on the City Council will correct me and I will gladly make a public apology.)
Yes, a sanitation code issue was addressed.
Apparently the City had a rash of complaints about people throwing trash "other than litter" into public trash receptacles. The City Council heard the chorus of complaints and they took action. Bill 12-0119 is designed to combat this major issue. The City only wants you to throw "litter" into a trash can in the park. They don't really seem to care if you put your household trash in a plastic bag in the alley four days before it is to be collected; but throw a bag of household waste into a trash can in the park, and you've had it!
All of this would be funny if it weren't so serious. The lax attitude Baltimore City has on pursuing sanitation code violations is causing real problems in good neighborhoods.
I will show in my next blog how the rat problem and the City's failure to commit to a sustained effort to combat sanitation code violations is adding a "city living tax" on to the backs of residents.
Until then, could someone, anyone, on the City Council please make it a point to address the problem of rats and sanitation code violations at least once in 2013?
Even if it is not a serious effort, can you please try to amuse us?