2012-06-02 / Editorials & Letters

Opponent responds to police levy supporter

Editor:

I did not attend, and never saw anything relating to any meeting about police protection, but I am sure they would not want me there anyhow. I did state what I heard from the meeting, and what I know, is that Baltimore Police want more money. I do understand that if we want 24/7 police protection we will have to pay more for it. The question revolves around the question of “Do we need it ?”

I still see more police officers/cruisers on the street than ever before in the 50 years that I have lived here. I believe that if we had four police officers on the street, twenty-four hours per day, there is no “guarantee” that there will be no crime in Baltimore. Will the Police Chief/Police Department give us that “guarantee”, if the levy is passed ? I think, probably not.

First, let me say that according to news story in The Beacon (12/3/2011), Mr. Van Dyke told village council that HE voted NO on the police levy. Later called me on the phone and then came to my home and spent most of an hour trying to convince me that I was wrong in my opinion. My opinion was/ is that “if” the prosecutor wanted “another buy”, do it, and then quietly do the raid, but this department did the buy, and just days before the election conducted their raid, and it was apparently a coincidence that two television stations were there to film the “show”. Apparently many voters developed a negative opinion based upon the decision to turn the raid into a television show in an apparent attempt to sway undecided voters.

My question for Mr. Van Dyke is “how could a career sheriff’s deputy/police officer vote NO on a police levy and, what changed your mind Mr. Van Dyke ? Mr. Van Dyke also stated in that news story “I now know that facts,” at a time when very few in Baltimore “knew the facts”. From a “No” voter in November to a “cheerleader” in May, something really changed. Could it be “who pays for it” ?

Also, in a previous Letter to the Editor, I stated that the $ 5,000,000 plus/minus spent on the sewer plant was NOT the choice of the Village Council, but MANDATED by the E.P.A. My problem is that since that time, they have added an additional $ 2,879,116 to that debt, some possibly mandated and some discretionary and that does not even include any debt incurred in 2010 and 2011.

You also stated that the income tax levy does not affect citizens living on FIXED income. “such as Mr. Lamb”. I am a senior citizen, I am on Social Security, and I DO still work and DO have taxable earned income, so I do have “a horse in the race”. Mr. Van Dyke, as a former Sheriff Deputy/ Police Officer, are your present earnings subject to the income tax, or are you on a public employee pension ? Do you have “a horse in the race” ? It is “easier” to be “for an issue” when you do not have to pay for it. The fairest way to accomplish what they want is the property tax, and that way “everybody” pays in one way or another, but they tried that and they got beaten badly. My point was/is that seniors watch their dollars and they do vote. How do you get a group of voters to not oppose the issue – you make them exempt from the cost of the issue, and that is exactly what has happened.

Mr. Vna Dyke commented on the cost of home insurance rates being affected by the police protection. I spent 25 years in the insurance industry as a licensed agent and as a licensed commercial properties agent/ loss control/field representative, and the majority of the cost is based upon the type of construction, age, occupancy, and the “Town Class Rating” of the Fire Department. The police department has a minor effect on that cost. “Town Class Rating” of the fire department has a much greater impact on insurance costs than does the police department.

Lastly, I have not been critical of the police department and it’s members, but critical of the cost. I spent several years on the Baltimore Volunteer Fire Department, and I know the time and dedication to that type position involves, and I am proud that so many “reserve officers” volunteer their time to serve this community.

I am also glad that someone at the Baltimore Police Department “filled you in” on the events at my home, I thought that type information was not usually “community information,” but I guess you have a “need to know” since you seem to be the one “private citizen” that is a “published” supporter of the tax increase. Oh, by the way, I did thank the officers that were directly involved. We are six months away from a vote on this issue, but one thought enters my mind and that being, how would this vote turn out if only people who have to pay the bill were allowed to vote? Now that this issue is based entirely upon “Earned Income”, voters not affected by the tax are less likely to vote against it, which is the reason that the issue was addressed in this manner.

If you want to vote “yes”, this time, that is your privilege, but after 50 years of living here, I feel what they want to build is more than what we need. The “show” raid cemented my opinion on this issue. Politicians do the “shows” NOT police departments.

Charles R. Lamb
Baltimore

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