"The corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst."
-- David Hume
Few statements besides the quote above so readily sums up all that's wrong with Baltimore. With each week's new stories about wanton waste, fraud and outright criminal corruption in city government, any reasonable person can become exhausted by it all, wondering when will it end.
Recently we've been hearing rumblings about how the much vaunted CitiStat program has basically fallen apart, and ceased to accurately serve it's intended function. In a word, it's become a failure.
Could this be because the mayor's CitiStat Director, Mark Grimes, who earns $124,000-a-year also has a million dollar contract with the state to do something else entirely?
Grimes is guaranteed his city salary, whether he performs or not, but he actually has to document his work hours with the state.
The Baltimore Sun recently shared with us the following:
"A Baltimore Sun investigation has found that Grimes' private practice that he runs with his wife has charged the state thousands of hours on hundreds of cases since it landed a contract with the Maryland Department of Human Resources in August 2013 — five months before he started the $124,000-a-year CitiStat job.
Grimes' dual roles raise questions about how he has been able to juggle a private practice while working for taxpayers, especially as the CitiStat program has come under fire for failing to hold regular meetings and produce reports, even as its budget has doubled to $1 million under the mayor [Stephanie Rawlings-Blake].
No other Cabinet member lists other employment or a business that is still operating on their disclosure forms.
"It is understood that agency heads are presumed to be dedicating their total work time to the agency," said City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who is convening a hearing to examine CitiStat's operations and Grimes' outside work. "It requires that kind of commitment."
This place has serious problems. The worse part is no one ever seems to be held accountable. No matter how many millions are lost without any accounting, there are never any criminal charges. In the private sector these types of inexcusable actions would most certainly amount to charges of misappropriation, embezzlement or theft. At the very minimum an immediate dismissal. But not in Baltimore. Not at city government. Is this part of the "charm" in Charm City we hear so much about?
I love this city and the people of this city, but talk is cheap. I'd rather my actions speak for me beyond mere words
Words must be followed with work if there is to be any improvement.
For a man who works with words I realize that's a bit of a paradoxical statement. But my words are my way of inspiring action.
While accurately providing a diagnosis is my job, it will be up to others to cut the cancer out before the patient [Baltimore city] reaches a state of incurable, chronic systemic failure and collapse.
As a leading voice within Baltimore alternative media, realize the relative importance of the role played by independent voices like my own, but also know when action is necessary.
It's important to be clear, that it's action from others that's going to bring much needed change. A collective effort. For I'm but just one man with limited ability. But the words I write can reach many, creating a "buzz" or spark, of the kind that's necessary to set things on fire!
When I'm gone, long after I'm gone; it is my hope that my work may have helped motivate others to contribute to the cause.
The cause of creating a better Baltimore. Because let's be honest, like that embarrassing relative we all have but hate to admit, there's much room for improvement, even if we'd rather not talk about it openly.
|FULL DISCLOSURE: James MacArthur does NOT own this helicopter.|
"As long as I continue to breathe, as long as there's injustice in this world, I will use the voice that God has given me to speak against it."
-- James MacArthur
-- James MacArthur
Occasional media critic, researcher, independent investigator, and entrepreneur, A.F. James MacArthur is Baltimore's most well known independent journalist contributor. A member of the underground news network for over 20 years. During this time, he's been a frequent subject of attack by government under the guise of law enforcement. Although closely watched and followed, he's often boycotted from being given any credit for his work by mainstream media.