A Contrast to Regionalism: Reversing Baltimore’s Decline through Neighborhood Enterprise and Municipal Discipline

About the Author

George W. Liebmann, J.D.

George Liebmann was born in New York City in 1939. In 1960, he received a bachelor’s degree in government from Dartmouth College. Three years later, he earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago, having also served as the managing editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. In 1964, Mr. Liebmann was admitted to the Maryland and Illinois bars.

Since then, Mr. Liebmann has been a fixture upon the political and intellectual scenes in Maryland. He has been a lecturer at the University of Maryland Law School and at the Johns Hopkins University. He is well known in the United Kingdom, too, having regularly lectured at the University of Salford and having been a Simon industrial and professional fellow of the University of Manchester. In 1996 and 1998, Mr. Liebmann was a visiting fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge.

From 1979 through 1980, Mr. Liebmann served as executive assistant to then-Governor Harry R. Hughes (D). From 1975-83, he served on the Governor’s Commission to Revise the Annotated Code of Maryland. He was also the chairman from 1982 through 1983 of the Governor’s Task Force to Study Local Government Antitrust Liability. Immediately thereafter, he was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Health Care Providers’ Professional Liability Insurance.

Mr. Liebmann has published numerous books and articles on judicial issues and on local government, including, most recently, Little Platoons: Sub-Local Governments in Modern History (Praeger, 1995), The Gallows in the Grove: Civil Society in American Law (Praeger, 1997) and Solving Problems without Large Government: Devolution, Fairness and Equality (Praeger, 1999).

Mr. Liebmann lives in Baltimore City and practices law in the Mount Vernon district.

Executive Summary

If exodus is a measure of livability, then only a handful of cities are as unlivable as Baltimore. And the people leaving are just the sort of folk Baltimore must keep. They are the ordinary, middle-class types without whom no city can function. But the municipal authority’s response to these individuals’ verdict on the city has been – nothing. Baltimore is home to public employees and welfare recipients a-plenty. What it is increasingly short of is small business people and privately employed persons. These people have been ignored by City Hall. Meanwhile, public housing projects have been demolished and rebuilt, hypodermic syringes dispensed by the score and birth-control devices embedded in the arms of minor schoolgirls. Whatever merits such drills may have had, manifestly they have not addressed the concerns of regular citizens. The city’s sole exercise in creativity has been to plead for “regionalism,” which is to say, greater infusions of other jurisdictions’ money. Without any hint of internal reform on the part of the city government, regionalism is profoundly unlikely ever to occur. Of course, the counties will be blamed.

Perhaps none of this should surprise us. Baltimore City has the most centralized government of any municipality in the nation. Its mayoralty is powerful without parallel; its council districts vast and impersonal (bigger than the constituencies of the British and French national legislatures). Other than at the ballot box every few years, there is virtually no means for the citizenry to be heard.

George Liebmann proposes a solution, one that plays upon Baltimore’s remaining strength: outstanding neighborhood cohesiveness. He advocates the decentralization of municipal authority to a blanket of neighborhood improvement districts, similar to the three that already exist (the Downtown, Midtown and Charles Village districts), but covering the entire city. These districts would supplant citywide services, not merely supplement them (as is the case now). This would have numerous advantages, principal among them being their ability to contract competitively for services, obviating the need to use city workers. But there is more to it than this: One of the key elements of successful municipal management is citizen involvement. In this respect, sub-local organizations possess several advantages over distant bureaucracies. They are, for a start, liked – and thus considerably more able to enlist the support of volunteers for weekend clean-up projects and so on. Though circumscribed in what they can do, the three current districts are for the most part popular.

But in other countries, far more has been done to unleash the power of the citizenry. In Tony Blair’s Britain, sub-local entities known as civil parishes have been permitted to organize bus and taxi systems. In the Netherlands, residential streets have been turned over to block-level associations for the creation of woonervern (streets reconfigured for dual pedestrian/automobile use). Many other industrialized nations have blazed ahead in terms of urban renewal using a technique called “land readjustment,” under which predetermined supermajorities of owners in given areas can sell communal development rights, with dissenters bought out in cash.

Beyond the realm of infrastructure, there is also a role for the sub-local association in law enforcement. There is relatively little in the way of communally organized private security in Baltimore: a number of neighborhood-watch programs and some contracted security patrols, as in Guilford and Charles Village. What there has not been is any municipal attempt to assist such efforts, for example, by allowing tax-deductibility of dues to civic associations overseeing private security or by granting public recognition to volunteers, such as exemption from jury duty.

Human services cannot be ignored, either. Baltimore has embraced the needless professionalization of social services. Other nations do things differently. In the U.K., for instance, child care for about 40 percent of three- and four-year-olds is provided by means of “playgroups,” voluntary, local associations run by parents and others on a rotating basis (thus allowing part-time employment elsewhere, too). Certain tax concessions and, in some cases, very modest government financial assistance are all that is needed. The British example has been enthusiastically emulated in Ireland and The Netherlands. In Japan, a similar approach is taken in regard to the care of the aged. Locally organized volunteer social workers, drawn from among retirees, form old-age clubs. These are self-help groups that make visits to the sick and generally assist the elderly in all facets of daily living. The city government in Baltimore should foster such groups, which would easily fit into existing neighborhood relationships.

Under the sort of devolved system described herein, political reform would eventually come about naturally, inasmuch as the city government would be reduced to an ombudsman role, overseeing the activities of a dynamic group of neighborhood associations. In the meantime, there are a number of reforms that should be implemented immediately to enhance the council’s representativeness. At minimum, the electoral process should be amended to provide for proportional representation, which would establish at least a token “official opposition” where currently there is not even that. There are other possibilities, such having council members appointed by neighborhood associations instead of popularly elected. Alternatively, council members could be directly elected, but from single-member districts redrawn so as to be co-extensive with improvement-district boundaries.

Even if every one of the proposals discussed in this essay were enacted tomorrow, much would still be amiss in Baltimore. However, the city would, as George puts, “have a story to tell.” When the city’s faults can no longer be chalked up to municipal inertia, then it will be time to discuss regionalism.

– D.P. Munro, Editor

I. Introduction

The seven-year period 1990-96 saw Baltimore’s population decline at a rate unsurpassed by any of America’s 219 largest cities with the exception of Norfolk (Virginia), St. Louis (Missouri) and Washington (D.C.). City rates of decline or growth are illustrated in table 1. As can readily be seen, Baltimore, with a net population loss of 8.2 percent, suffered severely. Figures released in spring 2000 show that, while the neighboring counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard grew an average of 1.7 percent over fiscal 1999, the city’s population shrank by 2.0 percent.1 Baltimore was the nation’s sixth largest city as recently as 1960. Today, it is only the fifteenth largest.

During the same period, a series of municipal administrations in Baltimore have pursued policies whose principal elements have been constant. These elements have included:

  • Heavily subsidized development of a tourist and entertainment complex at the Inner Harbor.
  • Pressure for state takeovers of major municipal institutions and services (the airport, the port, the jail, the community college, the schools, juvenile services, the courts).
  • A quest for large state and federal subventions for school construction and the demolition and reconstruction of subsidized housing.
  • Development of the city as a center for tax-exempt, non-profit corporations and foundations.
  • Treatment of the school system as a unified entity, on the premise that a rising tide must lift all boats.
  • Use of municipal employment and municipal contracts as a method of creating, improving or preserving low-skill jobs.
  • Pressure for tax equalization with the surrounding counties and expansion of metropolitan government (“regionalism”), exemplified in the publicity given to David Rusk’s book, Baltimore Unbound.2

  • Basic to all these proposals have been demands for ever-larger quantities of federal and state aid; implicit in them has been surrender of control of local institutions to higher agencies of government. The underlying feature has been an almost entirely absent introspection on the part of city leaders. Nowhere is it considered – at least not publicly – that Baltimore may in any way be responsible for its own demise. Nowhere is it suggested that Baltimore has ever been other than a passive bystander as the combined forces of racism, suburban selfishness and federal fiscal policies have brought about its present sorry state of affairs. As the writer intends to demonstrate in the essay that follows, Baltimore is in fact in large measure in control of its own future: There is much that Baltimore can – and indeed must – accomplish in the way of self-help. In short, the city must do everything possible to get its own house in order before demanding further infusions of intergovernmental transfer funds; without internal reform in the city, such transfers can only be thought of as good money after bad.

    In addition to trying the patience of the surrounding jurisdictions, Baltimore’s current policies cannot be deemed to have been highly successful. For while the Maryland legislature has been more generous to the state’s largest city than the legislature of any other state, and while Baltimore has received virtually unparalleled amounts of federal housing funds, its population has continued to diminish and its social indicators to worsen. Baltimore’s fiscal 2000 budget included $713 million in state aid and $316 million in federal aid. This degree of state generosity is unmatched elsewhere in the country. The supposition behind regionalism is that Baltimore City proper is somehow shortchanged in terms of intergovernmental transfer funds. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In 1994, the last year for which Census Bureau figures are currently available, Baltimore received more state and federal transfer funding, proportional to budget size, than any of the other 23 largest cities in the country (43.9 percent).3 In similar vein, table 2 illustrates that Baltimore City in fiscal 1998 received in state spending $2.43 for every dollar in state taxes it sent to Annapolis; this was a better rate of return than any other subdivision except Caroline County ($2.75) or Somerset County ($2.89).4 Figure 1 shows that the city’s state aid per dollar of taxes increased by 50.0 percent from fiscal 1989 through fiscal 1998, while that of the average subdivision declined by 9.0 percent.5

    Population Growth and Loss, Select Cities, 1990-1996
    City Growth/Loss

    Phoenix, Ariz.
    San Antonio, Tex.
    San Jose, Calif.
    Jacksonville, Fla.
    Houston, Tex.
    San Diego, Calif.
    Dallas, Tex.
    Indianopolis, Ind.
    San Francisco, Calif.
    New York, N.Y.
    Chicago, Ill.
    Detroit, Mich.
    Los Angeles, Calif.
    Philadelphia, Pa.
    Baltimore, Md.
    Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1998 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, October 1998), table 48 (in part).

    The cost effectiveness of the city’s stress on tourism is cast in doubt when the large city general-fund expenditures for promotion are considered. Baltimore spends $5.1 million in local funds for the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, $9.3 million for promotion and upkeep of the Convention Center complex, and $700,000 for the Office of Promotion, while contributing $1.0 million to the Maryland Stadium Authority and $4.6 million to debt service on the Convention Center, for a total of $20.7 million in annual tourism-related expenditure. By contrast, the total yield of the hotel tax (much of which was antecedent to tourist development) is $12.7 million, meaning a net loss of $8.0 million annually. Economic development expenditures account for 4.2 percent of Baltimore’s total budget (including $3.5 million in general funds for the Baltimore Development Corporation), as against 0.4 percent in Baltimore County, 0.3 percent in Howard County and 0.1 percent in Anne Arundel County. In short, it is not clear that Baltimore City can be said to be getting its money’s worth.

    As is well known, Baltimore City’s property-tax rate is more than twice the level of any other Maryland subdivision. In 1996, the effective property-tax rate was the twelfth-highest among the 50 largest American cities, according to the Washington, D.C. Department of Finance and Revenue. The combined burden of state and local taxes of all sorts on a family of four with $25,000 or less in gross income, 10.8 percent, is second only to that of Philadelphia (1992 figures).6

    State Aid Returns per Dollar of State Taxes
    Subdivision State Grants & Payments per Dollar of State Tax

    Baltimore City
    Allegany Co.
    Anne Arundel Co.
    Baltimore Co.
    Calvert Co.
    Caroline Co.
    Carroll Co.
    Cecil Co.
    Charles Co.
    Dorchester Co.
    Frederick Co.
    Garrett Co.
    Harford Co.
    Howard Co.
    Kent Co.
    Montgomery Co.
    Prince george’s Co.
    Queen Anne’s Co.
    St. Mary’s Co.
    Somerset Co.
    Talbot Co.
    Washington Co.
    Wicomico Co.
    Worcester Co.
    Source: Walter Lee Dozier, “State Direct Aid Formula Needs Revision to Help Countries, Carlson Says,” (Montgomery) Gazette, March 31, 2000, p.A-6.

    The tendency toward bureaucratic bloat is suggested by contrasting Baltimore City and Baltimore County expenditures, the two areas having similar populations: 625,200 for Baltimore City; 727,210 for Baltimore County.7 (Baltimore County surrounds Baltimore City on three sides, like a horseshoe, though the city is not part of the county. Having been separated from the county in 1854, Baltimore City is an entirely separate jurisdiction, in effect, an urban county in its own right.) Three comparisons will suffice.

    First, Baltimore City is just about the only American city to run recreation centers using full-time employees, as distinct from volunteers. Its recreational centers employ 194 persons, including 52 recreational center directors, with a total payroll of $1.5 million. There are a further 52 “recreation leaders,” with their own payroll of $1.3 million. This is in addition to 12 recreational center assistants with a payroll of $365,000. Baltimore County’s program, by contrast, employs 83 full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) almost entirely for physical-maintenance functions. Through 44 recreation councils with 2,300 members, the county program engages the energy of 50,000 volunteers. Together, these volunteers contribute approximately one million hours and raise about $8 million for recreational purposes each year.8

    Second, Baltimore City in 1998 expended $38.9 million in maintaining its vehicle and equipment fleet, including $13 million in personnel costs for 331 positions. It maintains a central station, nine substations and 10 fuel-dispensing stations. According to the Baltimore Sun, these fuel stations have generated approximately $2.5 million in costs of cleaning up underground storage tanks which should not have been maintained by the city to begin with.9 In stark contrast, Baltimore County’s separate maintenance programs for vehicles and for heavy equipment spend about $10 million and employ 107 persons at only four locations, notwithstanding a much larger land area (633 square miles for Baltimore County, compared to 92 square miles, including water, for the city).10 In addition, the costs of vehicle repairs in the county are passed through to individual agencies, providing an inducement to frugality and care not present in the city program, under which all fleet maintenance costs are centralized, relieving individual agencies of the costs. Yet, this need not be: Fleet management functions have been privatized in Indianapolis, with substantial savings. There, municipal employees bid competitively (and successfully) for the contract, resulting in annual savings of $8 million.11

    Third, Baltimore City has agreed without protest to bear substantially all the local costs, totaling about $5 million, for its two great art museums (the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery). This is in addition to about $2 million in subsidies to other institutions. Baltimore County’s total budget for cultural subsidies totals $1.9 million, and it makes negligible contributions to the city museums heavily used by its residents. The city has nonetheless failed to condition its aid on the adoption of admission charges discriminating against the residents of counties not significantly contributing to costs. This sort of commonsense approach has long since been adopted by many state parks nationwide. There is no reason for Baltimore City’s not following suit.

    Having thus presented a brief outline of some of the ill effects of Baltimore City’s mistakenly centralized approach to municipal governing, it remains to explain the purpose of this essay. This paper is intended to illustrate a different approach to Baltimore’s social and economic problems: one which seeks to take maximum advantage of the city’s existing physical, economic and human resources; which stresses devolution rather than centralization; and which provides new opportunities and mechanisms for private and community activity in preference to the current emphasis on top-down changes. A common element in all these proposals is their negligible or limited cost. The latter is not a factor to be ignored, given the city’s precarious financial situation and ongoing disinclination to make serious spending cuts.12

    II. Infrastructure

    This section concerns itself with a variety of issues pertaining to infrastructure within Baltimore City, especially as relating to residential neighborhoods. This subject has deliberately been accorded pride of place within the present essay due to the writer’s contention that current infrastructure arrangements and patterns of service delivery represent flaws fundamental to the political management of the city as practiced over the past two or three decades. The writer acknowledges that the crime problem is commonly thought as being the city’s most serious issue; however, the lawlessness that plagues many areas of the city is of relatively recent origin and to a considerable extent is beyond City Hall’s control. Moreover, the crime situation is in part ascribable to infrastructure mismanagement.

    Municipal Services

    Baltimore City has maintained a system of municipal services that is purposefully labor-intensive. This is most dramatically apparent in the realm of trash collection, in which the mechanized and modular units employed in most European cities, where trash-collection crews frequently consist of a single truck driver, have been forsworn in favor of the manual handling of trash cans by needlessly large crews. Similar approaches have been taken to waste recycling. These functions have been privatized in Indianapolis, and indeed municipal employees have successfully competed for some of the sub-district contracts.13

    As with trash collection, Baltimore has opted to retain an old approach to printing. The city maintains a print shop with 46 employees and a budget of $1.6 million, notwithstanding the fact that the current Yellow Pages book contains no fewer than five closely typed pages of commercial print shop listings, all in fierce competition with each other.14 This function has also been privatized in Indianapolis, reducing costs there from $1.4 million to $1 million.15

    Preservation of unskilled jobs is the avowed aim of these anachronistic city policies, paid for by senselessly high taxes and reduced spending on programs to develop job skills in the next generation. Only in its twelfth and final year did the administration of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke (D) begin timidly to explore privatization initiatives. During the 1999 mayoral campaign, Schmoke’s successor, Martin J. O’Malley (D), appeared to rule out further exploration of the privatization theme,16 though his enlistment of local business groups to review government capabilities is encouraging.

    There has been one exception to Baltimore’s unspoken “no privatization” rule. This exception provides a window of opportunity for the city to set a course for service efficiency and reduced costs. Notwithstanding resistance by the city administration, the Maryland General Assembly in the early 1990s authorized the creation within the city of three neighborhood improvement districts with the power to levy supplemental property taxes not exceeding 5.0 percent of the basic property-tax rate to fund a limited number of supplemental services involving security patrols and street cleaning.17 There is no prohibition on these supplemental services’ being contracted privately. A proposal to allow such entities to be created as of right throughout the city was vigorously opposed by the Schmoke administration. And the devolution of existing city services to these new entities was forbidden, in large part to allay union fears about possible piecemeal privatization. The three benefits districts are thus restricted to providing supplemental services, not basic services. For benefits-district enthusiasts, there is unlikely to be much support from Annapolis, for Maryland is one of only 10 states lacking a statute generally authorizing the creation of neighborhood districts.18

    Despite the state’s and the city’s ambivalent approach to these bodies, commonly known as business or residential improvement districts, they undoubtedly have several advantages as providers of services. Civic reformers throughout the city should do everything within their power to expand the number and scope of these entities, for a number of reasons.

    First, they characteristically contract out services to the private sector and thus are not in a conflict-of-interest situation with their own bureaucracies. In contrast, a municipal political structure heavily dependent on the votes of unionized city employees has no particular incentive to enforce service efficiency.

    Second, because improvement districts are often permitted to limit their franchise to property-tax payers, there are inducements to frugality that do not exist where those who vote to levy taxes do not necessarily have to pay them. (The three Baltimore improvement districts do not limit the franchise in this manner in their annual elections, though such restrictions are common elsewhere.)

    Third, improvement districts are free of the restrictions imposed by municipal union contracts, prevailing-wage laws and bidding restrictions. The Charles Village Community Benefits District ordinance specifically excludes the district from “Baltimore City requirements regarding wage scales, competitive bidding and other local procurement laws,” though the district is encouraged to meet city goals for minority and women’s business participation.19

    Fourth, these districts are better positioned than citywide authorities to use civic volunteers to co-produce services, by organizing security patrols and clean-up campaigns. Residents are considerably more likely to volunteer their time to help a local entity, with whose staff they are likely to be familiar, than they are to volunteer to help some distant bureaucracy downtown. In Baltimore, for example, Charles Villagers may frequently be seen on weekends doing volunteer work for their local improvement district, but they are not known to turn out in droves to do voluntary work for the city Department of Public Works.

    Similar to business improvement associations are residential community associations (RCAs), which in many parts of the country have a quasi-tax-collecting role in the form of charging fees used for the provision of services within the boundaries of the area. A recent survey conducted by the Community Associations Institute disclosed that 72 percent of the 130,000 residential community and condominium associations extant in 1988 engaged in trash collection, an activity sometimes required by deed covenants and sometimes resulting from negotiations with municipal governments. Significant economy and convenience can result from this activity, including use of communal dumpsters and recycling bins in place of individual bundling of trash and the ability to use competing private contractors rather than a unionized municipal work force.20 Public waste collection is frequently 50 percent more expensive than waste collection by private contractors.21 Houston, Texas and Kansas City, Missouri have provided property-tax rebates to residential community associations engaging in trash collection. And a recent New Jersey statute also includes snow and leaf removal and street lighting.22 Residents’ fear of “balkanization” of services should be dispelled by findings that the only municipal services for which there are significant economies of scale are water and sewer.23 For most other services, big does not necessarily equal beautiful. Even as to water and sewer, there are potential savings: Indianapolis privatized water-quality treatment and sewer billing during the 1990s,24 the successful bidder on the latter being an electric utility which reduced billing costs from $3 million to $2 million, provided consumers with the opportunity to write a single check for all utilities and improved collection of delinquent accounts.25

    An indication as to types of activity that can be transferred by municipalities to community associations or sub-local governments is supplied by a survey of privatization efforts by local governments in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area of Florida over the years 1982-1987. Nearly all the privatized functions proved amenable to transfer to community-level government, an indirect form of privatization. Among the functions privatized by more than 10 percent of the surveyed local governments were buildings and grounds maintenance, child care, care of the elderly and handicapped, recreational and cultural facilities, solid-waste collection, street maintenance, street lights and vehicle towing.26

    In regard to the latter, the privatization of vehicle towing in Chicago – under an arrangement in which the city gets a $25 payment for the scrap value of abandoned vehicles – replaced an annual $3 million cost with a $3 million gain. Street maintenance has been privatized in Indianapolis, with a 25 percent savings, and partially privatized in Chicago, with a reduction in paving costs from $250,000 to $100,000 per block through use of new methods.27 School janitorial and food services are privatized in Indianapolis, as are library security guards, window washing and tree planting in Chicago. The contract for the latter provides for plant maintenance and a two-year warranty on new plants (by contrast, many newly planted trees in Baltimore are permitted to perish from drought).28 In Chicago, collection of delinquent parking fines has been privatized, leading to an increase from $20 million to $75 million in collections.29 Even smaller cities like Ann Arbor, Michigan have found it worthwhile to privatize functions such as janitorial services, snow removal and tree trimming; other Michigan municipalities have contracted for heating and air conditioning maintenance, school transportation and food service, servicing of computers, internal mail delivery and parking-meter maintenance and installation.

    The successful privatization of these efforts dispels any notion that they somehow must remain the purview of the central municipal government. If they can be privatized by the central government, they can equally well be privatized by lower levels of government. Residential community associations have an advantage in rendering such services because of their very smallness. With respect to matters such as parking enforcement, abandoned-vehicle removal and snow removal, they are more likely than the city to be responsive to local desires. “RCAs operate in the local public economy as collective consumers who employ outside parties – either private firms or local government agencies – to produce and deliver services to them. Such pure provision units have possible advantages insofar as elected officers are free to focus on the representation of consumer interests rather than having to balance the interests of consumers against producers, as must happen when a local government directly employs a large public bureaucracy. Consumer interests may tend to be represented more accurately by pure provision units,” says Ronald J. Oakerson.30

    Baltimore’s municipal union contracts, unlike those formerly present in many other cities, such as Philadelphia, should not present a severe barrier to devolution or privatization. The city’s current contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) requires discussion with the union of “any plan to contract work which would result in a layoff, and postponement of the layoff until three months after the first such discussion of the decision” (article 32).31 The contract with the City Union of Baltimore requires discussion and 45 days’ notice of subcontracting which would result in a layoff or demotion and, where layoffs result from technological change, requires transitional assistance and efforts to provide city employment (articles 39 and 40).32 Beyond these provisions, there appear to be no union-related reasons, apart from electoral intimidation, why the city should not embark down the path toward privatization and devolution.

    Clearly, and as noted by Dennis Mueller, “there are several public goods and services that are often or could feasibly be provided at the level of a city neighborhood or by a rural village or town. These might include in an urban neighborhood schooling, parks, trash collection and the like. In a small, isolated community police, fire protection and other similar services could also be efficiently provided by the local polity.”33 In Germany, the North Rhine/Westphalia reorganization of local government in 1974-75 provided for establishment of sub-district councils within metropolitan areas, with responsibility for garbage services and some other functions.34 As is not the case with Baltimore’s timid experiment with its three improvement districts, the idea behind the North Rhine/Westphalia plan was that the services provided by these sub-municipal entities would supplant city services, not merely supplement them.

    The obvious question is, if this was possible in Germany, why not Baltimore? It should not be too hard to imagine a series of improvement districts created throughout Baltimore, between them covering the city in its entirety. These would be empowered to fund and contract for the provision of basic services, to the exclusion of the provision of these same services by the central municipal government. There would be a corresponding drop in the amount of taxation levied by the municipal government. In the unlikely event that these improvement districts could not provide services more cheaply privately than the central authority previously provided them publicly, due to the lack of economies of scale, there would be nothing to preclude some or all of the improvement districts collaborating jointly to purchase services on a wider scale.

    The operation at a sub-local level of services of this type would not require a free-standing entity like a self-governing school, but could be carried on by an improvement district, a general-purpose neighborhood government or residential community association, the activities being funded either by property taxes, user charges or some combination of the two. The service-delivering sub-local entity need not be a governmental entity at all, in fact. It could be created by deed covenants. The services it rendered might be collective goods, but they would not necessarily be what economists refer to as public goods (i.e., goods which require a public authority for delivery). As Fred Foldvary has observed, “It is not often recognized that territorial goods are a class of excludable goods, and that most civic goods are territorial…. For excludable goods, one can charge admission into the domain of usage, so contractual provision is feasible…. Human beings are land animals, creatures that live in three-dimensional space on the surface of the earth, a fact that is obvious to everyone except an economist writing about public goods.”35 Because effective rendition of services by community associations is capitalized into land value, “the potential for gains and losses constrains shirking” by members of the association.36 In addition, effects on property values constrain associations from adopting oppressive rules, leading to the expectation that “the quality of the constitutions of contractual governments should increase over time.”37

    How, other than by allowing the creation of more improvement districts, might these benefits be secured in Baltimore? Several state statutes are suggestive and are but a legislative and intellectual stone’s throw from permitting the devolution of municipal authority to sub-municipal entities.

    First, the Maryland Code allows municipal corporations to contract with privately owned residential communities and condominium associations for public reimbursement to the private body of an amount not to exceed the cost that would be incurred by the municipality in maintaining more than a quarter-mile of roadways or of services pertaining to parking, street lighting, or the removal of garbage, recyclables, snow, ice or leaves.38 Sadly, this provision is inapplicable to Baltimore City.39 There are only a limited number of such privately owned residential communities and condominium associations within the city itself, as distinct from the fast-growing counties (in the case of the latter, most such organizations have been established since 1961 in response to federal regulations requiring homeowners’ associations as a condition of federal mortgage insurance). Nonetheless, extension of this statute to Baltimore City would be of some fiscal benefit, since the new developments within the city and some older subdivisions, including moderate-income areas such as Northwood, could be publicly reimbursed for the private contracting of such services – which would in turn be free of the restrictions imposed by union contacts and procurement regulations. It is particularly vital for Baltimore to appease such moderate-income areas. It is these areas that most heavily feel the burden of Baltimore’s oppressive tax climate and which, as a result, are most likely to experience middle-class flight. The very wealthy are better able to afford the city’s high taxes and so may be less inclined to desert the city’s admittedly charming, older residential areas for the new and uniform housing developments so prevalent in the suburbs. The middle class is less able to afford so finicky an attitude.

    Second, the Maryland Code also allows the formation within municipalities – other than Baltimore City – of special taxing districts to administer ride sharing and bus systems, parking facilities, pedestrian malls and commercial-district management authorities approved by municipalities.40 There is no reason why this authority should not be extended to the city.

    Third, the code authorizes county governing bodies, but until recently not that of the city, to designate development districts by resolution and to pledge any increments in the yield of property taxation to the funds of a tax-increment district, which may use them to service a bond issue for purposes of land assembly, site clearance and relocation, and installation of utilities.41 This scheme allows infrastructure for new projects to be funded by use of the anticipated tax yield from project improvements. Such financing is preferable to the arbitrary tax abatements now granted by the city for two reasons: (a) it does not involve surrender by the city of any part of the existing tax base and (b) it subjects the viability of the project to a market test (the willingness of investors to buy the bonds of the new district). This contrasts with the traditional Baltimore device of ad hoc tax abatement agreements, which are not transparent and which in some cases last forever and not merely for 25 years, as in Chicago.42 Fortunately, Baltimore’s economic development chief, M.J. “Jay” Brodie, in late 1999 began to push for tax-increment financing for the city.43 As a result, a bill permitting this means of development financing was passed by the 2000 session of the state General Assembly.44

    The introduction of tax-increment financing for Baltimore is likely to be very beneficial. Tax-increment districts have provided a frequently used economic-development and redevelopment tool in Chicago. There, 44 such districts have been created, 33 of them since 1990. They have generated $1.985 billion in new investment, 86.3 percent of it private, resulting in the creation of 5.3 million square feet of commercial space and 1.7 million square feet of industrial space, in addition to 1,100 housing units, a theater and a hotel. All this has resulted in the retention of 22,150 jobs and the creation of an additional 6,400.

    Finally, an Anne Arundel County ordinance allows private RCAs to create special taxing districts co-extensive with their borders, thus allowing many services now supported by non-tax-deductible dues and assessments to be supported by deductible taxes. If such an ordinance were adopted in Baltimore, some advantage would accrue to the neighborhoods and community associations that currently collect charges for supplemental services. While the covenant charges in such neighborhoods amount to only a small percentage of base property taxes, a more substantial benefit could accrue to residents of condominiums, since condominium fees in such entities are frequently nearly equal to property taxes and the portions of them devoted to common services would become federally deductible. This in turn would at least somewhat increase the attractiveness of living in the city.

    There is no reason why, following appropriate legislation in Annapolis, measures such as those listed above could not be applied to Baltimore City. Such measures should be coupled with the creation of new neighborhood improvement districts, widely organized throughout the city, pursuant to the authorization which the Schmoke administration withheld. These steps would go some way toward freeing localities of the requirement that they use municipally provided services by enabling them to fund and to contract externally for services in the manner they thought most appropriate. In response to the inevitable argument that devolution along these lines would lead to improved services for wealthy areas and deteriorated services for poorer areas, a simple response is at hand. A portion of the base property-tax yield to the central authority should be transferred to them. This could be done on an inverse wealth formula so as to insure that poorer neighborhoods did not suffer reductions in services. These municipal-to-sub-municipal transfers would be analogous to the sliding-scale block grants dispensed by the federal government to state governments. Baltimore City’s General Assembly delegation in Annapolis should concentrate on winning long-term, self-help provisions such as these, rather than remaining exclusively focused on winning transfer funds from other parts of the state.


    The city’s passive approach to transportation links has meant that most major transportation improvements facilitate suburban commuting, instead of bettering transit options for the city’s residents. By contrast, the Paris Metro was originally deliberately constructed so as not to extend into the suburbs but to facilitate intra-city movement solely.45

    There has been some deregulation of public transportation in recent years through the introduction of so-called sedan services to supplement medallion taxicabs by limiting the definition of taxicab as including only vehicles with a capacity of seven or fewer “used to accept or solicit passengers for transportation between points along public streets as the passengers request.” (This limitation permits sedans to serve as on-call, door-to-door transports.) Nonetheless, the limited number of cab licenses and resulting cost of entry renders cab service needlessly expensive and inconvenient. Any change in the existing system would require amendment of state law,46 and would probably require some compensation of existing medallion holders if a system allowing free entry for drivers meeting skill and safety requirements replaced the medallion system. There would also appear to be no good reason for these matters to remain under state rather than city control.

    The existing regulations on bus and van transit constitute the state Mass Transit Administration as a virtual monopoly, and a notably uninnovative and unprogressive one at that.47 Federal regulations make privatization of existing facilities just about impossible by mandating long-term payment to laid-off workers There appears to be much scope, however, for withering away the monopoly by allowing freer establishment of private passenger van services: both those functioning on fixed routes (particularly those connecting outlying areas of the city such as along Northern Parkway) and those functioning on a demand/response basis. This is a form of commercial activity which in some places has been sponsored or contracted for by neighborhood and condominium associations. Under Maryland state law, there is currently an exemption from regulation in favor of employment-related van transportation,48 but this does not extend to vans operated by condominium or community associations. Such an extension is needed.

    Seven counties (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard and Montgomery) are expressly authorized by § 7-801 of the Maryland Code‘s Transportation article to establish special taxing areas for transportation services. Likewise, Article 24, § 9-1301 allows Anne Arundel, Charles, Garrett, Howard, Prince George’s, Washington and Wicomico counties to establish special districts for a wide range of public purposes, including transportation. No such authorization is provided for Baltimore City. Such a measure might be useful, however, since one development strategy pursued elsewhere involves the cultivation of intensive commercial and residential development in the vicinity of new and existing train stations.49 There are several train stations in Baltimore, including the Penn, West Baltimore and Camden Yards stations heavily used by commuters to Washington, D.C., and the often deserted light rail stops up and down the Jones Falls valley. Enhanced transportation to these stations would lead to increased usage and have beneficial effects on revitalization in the immediately surrounding areas. Penn and West Baltimore in particular would gain; at present, dilapidation reigns within spitting distance of each.

    The devolution of authority over public transportation is more than a matter of fiscal efficiency. The very fabric of urban life is at issue. The social isolation of the elderly and of many housewives and young people has not been a matter exciting great political interest in the United States: Lives of quiet desperation are just that. To be sure, there have been federal programs aimed at providing public transportation for the elderly and disabled, but only through highly expensive purpose-built vehicles operating on fixed routes. Meanwhile, the transportation problems of the young are incautiously addressed by widespread ownership of private automobiles and a low driving age, notwithstanding the ensuing accident rates.

    Is there another way? The answer is yes. And here too neighborhood organizations have a role to play.

    Although a number of American RCAs in communities made up of the elderly have begun providing demand/response and other local transportation services to their members, which allow neighbors to call for van service when they need it, the use of amenity cooperatives or special assessment districts for the purpose of providing such services has been little tried. Jitney transport, by cab or bus operators not operating on fixed routes, is in use in many foreign cities – but it has been outlawed in most American cities since the 1920s, with narrow exceptions relating to sharing of licensed taxicabs.50

    There seems little necessity for this centralized approach: Recent British government proposals would permit parish councils to use their general revenues to provide car-sharing schemes, bus services and concessionary taxi-fare schemes, thus recognizing the usefulness of organizing some local transport services at the lowest possible level.51 In England (though not in the rest of the U.K.), the lowest level of government is the civil parish, typically possessing a population of fewer than 5,000 and highly limited taxing powers.52 There are about 10,000 parishes in England,53 divided among 39 counties, including seven non-administrative metropolitan counties.54 (In Scotland,55 Wales56 and Northern Ireland,57 local government does not extend down to parish level. Despite popular misuse, the terms “England,” “Britain” and “United Kingdom” are not used interchangeably in this essay. References to England mean England specifically and not the rest of the U.K.)58 This local empowerment in England is perfectly logical as several studies have found that substantial savings can result from the devolution to small units, and thus often the privatization, of both public transportation and school bus services.59 The economic problems of American central cities are in substantial part ascribable to the lack of transportation necessary to commute to available jobs. The organization and provision of such transportation facilities is an appropriate activity of sub-local governments and neighborhood community associations, as well as of a more deregulated private sector. Financing should appropriately come from user charges, or modest special assessments on property owners. Some English parishes have initiated ventures of this type, with government support, and the 1997 Local Government and Rating Act confers express authority on parish councils to do so.60 It is worth pointing out that ideology should play no role in devolution such as that described above, much of which has occurred under the auspices of Prime Minister Anthony C.L. Blair’s Labour government.

    It has been pointed out, most notably by Patrick Hare,61 that the availability of such transit may enhance property values by diminishing the need of homeowners to invest in second cars, thereby increasing their ability to qualify for and service mortgages. To the extent that subsidies are necessary, they should take the form of formula or project grants from higher levels of government, since sub-local entities are not in a good position to engage in redistributive activities. It has also been suggested that developers providing local transit be exonerated in part from providing required parking.62

    Street Regulation

    The politics of home ownership in America has traditionally centered on three questions: crime, schools and property taxes. These are each perceived as matters within the control of local government. Other means of allowing homeowners to influence and govern their immediate environment have been neglected. In western Europe, by contrast, street-level and sub-local governance has aroused great interest. It should not continue to go unexamined here. As an aside, street regulation (the subject of this section) and zoning and land-use reform (the subjects of the subsequent two sections) do not represent the “creeping socialism” so feared by the political right whenever the topics of urban planning and smart growth rear their heads.63 The purpose of this discussion is simply to advocate the devolution of decision-making authority and the deregulation of certain aspects of Baltimore’s highly restricted zoning and land-use regulations.

    Streets in communities laid out on the grid pattern, as are most American cities, are frequently dysfunctional. The width of streets and sidewalks is frequently a function of light and air requirements rather than traffic demands. A number of cities – notably Laredo,64 Texas – have found that substantial economies can be realized by closing and then beautifying little-used streets in industrial neighborhoods and declining residential neighborhoods where alternative means of access to affected properties exist. This has the advantages of: (a) relieving the municipality of substantial maintenance costs; (b) adding to parks and parking; (c) increasing the general-purpose space available to abutting properties; and (d) thereby increasing tax assessments.

    Baltimore’s laws relating to street closings are cumbersome and in need of amendment, and a survey of excess streets might yield substantial benefits. Inspection of the ordinances reveals that only a few small alleys are closed each year. Meanwhile, the city spends $34 million annually on the maintenance of 540 miles of collector streets and 1,460 miles of local streets (total: 2,000), or $17,000 per mile per year. Baltimore County, with a larger land area and much more dispersed population, spends $15 million maintaining 2,500 miles of roads, or $6,000 per mile per year. (See figure 2.) One wonders whether all of this discrepancy can truly be explained away in terms of heavier usage on city roads.

    There has also been experience in St. Louis, Missouri and in Denmark with legislation allowing associations of abutting owners to acquire the beds of residential streets, subject to an agreement to keep open a minimal right of way for ingress and egress and for emergency equipment. These measures allow substantial portions of the street and sidewalk to be recaptured and reconfigured for recreational use, through the use of planters and playground equipment, benches and tables, meandering roadways with severe speed limits and other traffic-calming devices, along with varying pavement types (such as cobblestones or bricks). Street-maintenance responsibilities can thus be transferred to the new owners of the street beds, sub-municipal entities which can in turn contract them out to be performed more cheaply than either they themselves or the citywide authority can achieve. While this device is generally available only in more prosperous neighborhoods of owner occupiers, similar street-regulation powers, though without rights of ownership, can be transferred in more modest neighborhoods where the percentage of renters is higher, as is commonly done in Germany and The Netherlands and in some inner-city neighborhoods in St. Louis. The benefits of giving abutters, be they renters or homeowners, on lightly-used residential streets rights to redesign them within set parameters are several: First, reduced traffic speeds lower accidents and fatalities. Second, recreational amenities are created in areas where they do not now exist. Third, and most pertinently for Baltimore, considering Mayor O’Malley’s principal public-policy thrust, newly generated interaction among neighbors has been found in St. Louis to have substantial crime-reduction benefits. All of these factors enhance the attraction of urban living, potentially leading to increased demand for urban housing and thus increased property-tax yields.

    A related concept, the woonerf (“living yard”), is a Dutch innovation of the 1970s, although precursors of it can be found in laws in England and New York City allowing the closing of playstreets and complete barring of auto traffic. These earlier mechanisms involved transfer of street uses from traffic to people. The Dutch innovation rested instead on what Rodney Tolley has called the “startling and revolutionary notion that in residential areas traffic and people should not be segregated but instead should be integrated … admitted on the residents’ terms … slowly and without superior rights.”65 Woonerven in The Netherlands began in 1976, when a law authorized the elimination of curbs and the integration into one surface of sidewalk and road areas, giving the visual impression of a residential yard. “Pedestrians may use the full width of the road within an area defined as a woonerf; playing on the roadway is also permitted. Drivers within a woonerf may not drive faster than [about 8 to 12 m.p.h.]. They must make allowance for the possible presence of pedestrians, children at play, unmarked objects…. Drivers may not impede pedestrians. Pedestrians may not unreasonably hinder the progress of drivers.”66

    Woonerven began life in the 1970s simply as streets reconfigured to accord rights to pedestrians; since then, however, they have evolved into mini-associations of neighbors, or street governance regimes, which must make decisions regarding the use of the street space (including the decision to turn it into a woonerf initially).67

    Woonerven are not simply closed streets. They remain open to auto traffic, but are entirely redesigned, with dual pedestrian and vehicular functions. Broadly speaking, pedestrians take precedence over cars. This innovation offers important benefits to the upbringing of children, to safety and to the creation of a sense of community in both suburban and city areas. Traffic in woonerven is controlled by ramps, speed bumps, narrowings, changes in axis, street furniture, planters and trees. Parking is permitted only in specially designated spaces. Woonerven in The Netherlands may be petitioned for by a 60 percent vote at a meeting attended by a majority of neighborhood citizens. Because they result from local initiative, woonerven have proven highly popular. By 1983, no fewer than 2,700 woonerven had been created, leading to a 50 percent reduction in auto-related injuries within them. (In Germany, there were similar improvements in pedestrian safety: a 20 percent reduction in accidents and a 50 percent reduction in severe accidents.)68

    Advocates of woonerven maintain that children and the elderly “should not have their links to the outside world severed by traffic flows past their doors.” The creation of these zones has become a major environmental cause of left-of-center parties in Germany, and the British Labour government has recently authorized experiments along the same lines. Until now in Britain only physical measures in new developments have been used, so the woonerf concept has been slow to take hold, due to the absence of legal provisions for the creation of traffic restraints on neighborhood initiative in older areas. Recent changes may alter this situation by empowering parish councils to fund traffic-calming works from their general revenues.69 In a manner similar to the English parishes’ newly accorded authority, Scandinavian neighborhood councils in larger cities are granted jurisdiction over street closings (and the location of telephone boxes and bus stops).70 The woonerf mechanism has also been highly popular in Denmark (where street closings are common, too, as described above). This may be due to the fact that many Danish streets in new developments are in private ownership. “Residents, if they wish [calming], must pay for it themselves,” the cost per house, $200-300, approximating that of a new refrigerator. Similar private street regimes exist in parts of St. Louis and in many of the newer American residential community associations although, as yet, aside from crude speed bumps and speed-limit and stop signs, there has been little interest in the more sophisticated traffic-calming devices.

    In Baltimore, there will be obstacles a-plenty to the creation of anything like woonerven. In addition to an apparently ingrained local hostility to innovation, there is the matter of current concepts of traffic control. A 1986 study published by the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stated as requisites to the success of woonerf-like efforts (a) the prevention of residential areas being used by through traffic, (b) regulations and signage influencing driver behavior to follow planned routes at moderate speeds and (c) the use of physical measures in support of regulations. Baltimore has heeded none of this. Many historic, residential areas have been bisected as once pleasant avenues have been turned into one-way, high-speed thoroughfares designed with no other object than the convenience of suburban commuters. Examples abound, such as Mount Vernon and Charles Village (bisected by Calvert, Charles, St. Paul streets on the north/south axis) and Hanlon and Waverly/Ednor Gardens (divided by Gwynns Falls Parkway and 33rd Street, respectively, on the east/west axis). There are few, if any, regulations regarding commuters’ selection of routes and, other than traffic lights, there are no physical measures to enforce speed limits.

    If woonerven are to be used and accepted in a country with the libertarian political traditions of the United States, they must be perceived as being an expansion of the legal rights of property owners. This result can be achieved (a) through the use of the Dutch democratic mechanism for the creation of woonerven only on neighborhood application, (b) by including their creation within the arsenal of powers of residential community associations as defined by their deed covenants or (c) by street privatization on the St. Louis model. In the short run, the Dutch mechanism is simplest, and has been found to result in “stronger social cohesiveness, much brought about by the involvement of the residents themselves in a sophisticated process of planning their own surroundings.”71

    Traffic-calming mechanisms such as those described above have some natural allies other than residents. According to Tolley, in a recent survey of the field, “The employment effects of traffic calming are labor intensive, with few machines being used and much planning and discussion required … employment effects are reported to be 4 or 5 times higher than the employment effects of conventional large-scale road construction….”72 And the beneficiaries of them are usually small landscape contractors rather than municipal bureaucracies.

    The general rule in the United States is that street closings require the assent of a majority of abutting owners, who may be assessed for the cost of works only to the extent of benefits conferred.73 Cities like Laredo, Texas engaging in closings on a large scale accord owners the right to acquire the adjacent street beds; in Maryland this would result by operation of law, since the city has only an easement, not full ownership.74 From the city’s point of view, the benefits of closings would include “return of the property to the tax rolls; employment generated both by the construction and the occupants; elimination of the municipality’s liability and reduction of public maintenance responsibilities” as well as “opportunities for additional parking [and] open space.”75 In St. Louis County, the suburban area outside St. Louis, beds of streets have been deeded to residents abutting them, subject to assessments enforceable by lien. The several hundred resulting residential associations provide repairs, street lighting, traffic regulation, sweeping and tree trimming; some provide security patrols, too. Privatization is now permitted on petition of 95 percent of residents. Likewise, Montgomery County, Maryland has provided tax abatements to residents of community associations maintaining streets,76 but no other Maryland jurisdiction has followed suit.

    “Provision by subdivisions allows for greater variation in service bundles among neighborhoods than provision by overlying municipalities,”77 according to Oakerson. It has been suggested that local governments should stimulate the voluntary formation of such associations as those discussed above by offering one-time block grants or priority in allocation of municipal services as well as transfer of municipally-owned real estate and relief from a portion of municipal taxes.78 A British commentator has urged that street privatization and partial closing is complementary to the effectiveness of neighborhood security patrols, as has former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry G. Cisneros (D).79

    Thus far, residential traffic calming and associated street-closing schemes have made only limited progress in the United States, notwithstanding Lewis Mumford’s observation of 60 years ago that “whatever traffic filters into a neighborhood must be that which directly subserves it, moving at a pace that respects the rights of a footwalker. Even country villages today often lack this element of safety and freedom from anxiety.”80 What held true about traffic dangers in country villages six decades ago holds true in spades in Baltimore’s bisected neighborhoods that unfortunately straddle those streets recently turned into major commuter concourses.

    The institutions needed to popularize woonerf-like schemes in the U.S. are self-organized, traffic-calming or street-ownership associations at the block level. These will require some form of state or local authorizing legislation. The internal governance of these associations should involve supermajorities to insure that neighborhood consensus exists. Financial assistance from government would probably not be needed since traffic-calming works could be funded through special-benefit assessments. The sums involved in any case would be sufficiently modest that small subsidies for poorer neighborhoods would be within the limited redistributive capacity of municipal governments. The deeding without consideration of street-beds might be considered in many places, since its effect might be to relieve municipalities of maintenance expenses and restore property to the tax rolls. What is most needed is enabling legislation expanding the rights of abutting property owners, together with publicity relating to the safety and social benefits of woonerven (and other, less well-known traffic-calming techniques, such as the narrowing of roadways, the use of planters, the creation of separated bicycle paths and the use of varying road surfaces).

    A theme related to the above is the “pedestrianization” of commercial areas. By creating pedestrian-only commercial streets – preferably replete with benches, planters, cobbled surfaces and other visually attractive devices – some semblance of the “Main Street” aura of years gone by can be recreated at modest cost. Restricting commercial deliveries and traffic during daytime hours was a technique familiar even in Ancient Rome,81 and is widely used in European cities. It has scarcely been tried in Baltimore, other than at a two-block-long segment of Lexington Street between Cathedral and Howard streets. When used, pedestrian commercial areas should be introduced experimentally at first, with the advice and consent of associations of abutting merchants. Pedestrianization on a large scale presupposes internal communications within the pedestrianized area, if large scale, such as the tourist trolleys in use in many American cities but largely abolished in Baltimore during the Schmoke administration.82

    There is a large literature on traffic-calming, beginning with the pioneer work of the late Donald Appleyard, an American,83 and including several books by Carmen Hass-Klau, Annette Moudon and Rodney Tolley. Useful surveys have also appeared.84 The paradox is that a form of privatization is needed for streets to fulfill the function of public property: “In the absence of the socializing activities that take place on ‘inherently public property,’ the public is a shapeless mob, whose members neither trade nor converse nor play, but only fight, in a setting where life is, in Hobbes’ all too famous phrase, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”85 For many Baltimore residents, especially those in poorer areas, Hobbes’ characterization is all too real an experience. The city should do its part to ensure that traffic patterns do not contribute to the problem.

    Zoning Reform

    Many powers to grant zoning special exceptions, which now as a practical matter are subject to neighborhood veto, could usefully be devolved to neighborhood associations. The state law authorizing zoning in Baltimore City is special to the city. It was enacted in 1927, and has been little revised since then. Indeed, it has gone virtually untouched for the last 40 years. It is highly rigid, according few rights of adaptation to property owners or neighborhoods. The enabling statute is of the type circulated by the U.S. Department of Commerce under Secretary Herbert C. Hoover during the presidential administrations of Warren G. Harding and J. Calvin Coolidge (Hoover was appointed commerce secretary by Harding in 1921). Like all statutes of this type, it is a corrupted version of a German model. Its principal vices are: (a) its rigid separation of residential, commercial and light industrial uses; (b) its encouragement of the use of uniform setback and yard requirements, making reconfiguration of blocks difficult; (c) its rigid segmentation of residence types through special zones; and (d) its over-generous provision of rights of objection and obstruction, even where proposed development is within established densities.

    These requirements were originally imposed instead of the performance standards common in Germany in order to minimize municipal officials’ discretion and resulting corruption. But their effect has been to freeze the status quo. The unfortunate effects of zoning as practiced in Baltimore are several: The first is the prevention of the development of genuine residential communities by separating residences from convenience stores, office facilities and professional and social services, by preventing housing above shops in districts zoned for commercial use, and by limiting new apartment construction even in blighted areas. The corner store so common and beloved in many European cities, especially when combined with a small post office, is largely absent in America. Often, the only remotely similar institutions are the chain convenience stores whose erection around the fringes of residential areas in many instances means the demolition of neighborhood buildings, given that these companies’ insistence on a loudly broadcast corporate identity frequently makes them reluctant to convert extant structures.

    Another byproduct of Baltimore’s inflexible zoning regulations is an artificial shortage of legally created and regulated small-unit housing, by reason of a virtual prohibition on the creation of accessory apartments through the installation of second kitchens in existing under-utilized single-family housing.86 The result in wealthier neighborhoods is a shortage of accessory apartments. In poorer areas, apartments are frequently created illegally and without regulation, given the city’s shortage of housing inspectors. These densely packed, unregulated apartments then, themselves, contribute to blight.

    Finally and most importantly, the zoning code in the city serves as an obstruction to any significant private redevelopment of Baltimore’s abandoned housing by erection of a legal thicket of outmoded regulations and rights of objection and appeal.

    The present writer has elsewhere offered an expanded discussion of these issues,87 together with a draft of a revised enabling law, displayed at appendix I.88 More modest changes could also usefully be authorized immediately, with authority then devolved to the neighborhood organizations best placed to judge the suitability or applicability of zoning requests in any given area.

    For a start, it would be helpful to authorize accessory apartments in all areas where density provisions of the housing code would not be violated and there is compliance with the building code. The acute shortage of small-unit housing in Maryland has been documented in the 1990 Report of the Maryland Housing Policy Commission, estimating a statewide need for new efficiency, one- and two-bedroom units at approximately twice the estimated new construction of such units. Average persons per household in Maryland declined from 3.48 in 1960 to 2.61 in 1990.89 It has been estimated by Martin Gellen of the University of California at Berkeley that, across the nation, approximately one single-family home in three is large enough to accommodate an accessory unit.90

    Also, non-intrusive home businesses in residential areas should be permitted. Section 11B-111.1 of the Real Property article of the Maryland Code, enacted in 1998, includes such businesses within the definition of residential use in private deed covenants where the community association does not act to render the statute inapplicable. This principle should be extended to zoning restrictions. Currently, the ordinance allows a limited number of home occupations and “grandfathered” physicians’ and dentists’ offices.

    Article 30, § 4-8-1 of the Baltimore City Code currently allows shops not exceeding five percent of the floor area in apartment buildings of 50 units or more with limited signage where intended primarily for occupants. Baltimore City should extend this principle and also allow light commercial uses of modest size, and not generating substantial hazards or motor traffic, on the ground floor of dwelling units.

    Finally, the city should allow multi-family or rental units as of right in commercial and light industrial areas from which they are now excluded.

    These measures, singly or in combination, would alleviate shortages of properly built, small-unit housing in pleasing areas of the city, rendering it more attractive both to young, unattached members of the middle class and retired persons, as well as small families. Simultaneously, enhanced commercial usages would render the city’s outlying residential areas more convenient for two-earner families with less shopping time who are today less tolerant of the inconvenience arising from rigidly separated uses.

    In sum, there is every reason to devolve considerable zoning authority to sub-municipal entities. Where there is to be extensive redevelopment of large areas, many jurisdictions have created semi-private development corporations exempt from normal planning processes to minimize litigation and delay and provide flexibility for new “urban village” approaches.91 In Baltimore, existing neighborhoods could be given the advantages accorded to such development corporations, as was the “new town” Village of Cross Keys, a modern planned development in north Baltimore. There is no apparent reason why the various waivers granted to the Rouse Company for the Cross Keys project should not be extended to RCAs in established neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the authorization of accessory apartments could be provided for single and divorced persons and the elderly relatives of homeowners, where such conversion did not alter the external appearance of the building (an important provision for historical areas). And the flight of retail jobs to suburban shopping centers would be in part arrested by rendering feasible small shops in areas from which they are now totally excluded.

    Land Readjustment

    On a more grandiose level, what of methods for totally altering neighborhood uses? There is in fact a well-tried means for devolving urban renewal powers to associations of landowners on a single block for the purposes of altering the nature of the block or area.

    Baltimore has an elaborate scheme of housing-code enforcement, in which repair orders are regularly served on owners of blighted or vandalized properties, directing them to restore or raze the property. Because it is essentially impossible to secure a vacant property against theft or vandalism while it is in the process of restoration where there are other blighted properties on the same block, the end result of these orders is usually the boarding of the property by the city, application to it of an additional lien for repairs, and ultimately either its disposition at tax sale or its continued existence in a state of limbo with ever-mounting tax and repair liens due to the city’s reluctance, conceded by former city Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III, to acquire blighted properties, thereby removing them from the tax rolls. This is attributed to a desire to conceal the city’s true condition from the bond rating agencies. “Right now,” according to Henson, “the land which is in limbo is listed as collectable. If it were foreclosed on, it would no longer be collectable; that would be damaging to a city with a triple-A bond rating [sic].”92 (In fact, the city has simply a single-A rating.)

    Americans are prone to assume that only two methods exist for the assembly of land for purposes of urban renewal. The first of these is eminent domain, which involves the condemnation by public authority of large tracts of land, which are then generally sold off to private developers. While, since the 1954 Supreme Court decision, Berman v. Parker (348 U.S. 26), there have been few restrictions on the use of this technique, it has many disadvantages. Since each property owner has a right to jury trial as to valuation, there are long delays and unpredictable costs. While litigation proceeds, “planning blight” descends and constructive endeavor in the area ceases. Dissenters must be evicted and coerced before construction begins, and few condemnees are enthusiastic about their fate, since juries are drawn from taxpayers and are frequently parsimonious. The public authority must pay for land as values are determined and hold it through the construction process, incurring substantial capital and carrying costs.

    A second method is private land acquisition, such as that carried out by the Rouse Company preparatory to the creation of Columbia, Maryland. This, to be successful, requires great stealth and the use of dummies and intermediaries. The last landowners to sell usually must be paid exorbitant prices. Land acquisition money must be fronted by the developer.93 A variation on this was the device used to assemble land for a casino in Atlantic City: an above-market-value offer to owners, conditioned on there being no hold-outs, resulting in “great pressures [being] put on the elderly hold-outs by members of their own neighborhood.”94 The combination of cost, coercion and planning blight have discredited American urban renewal, and private land assembly is rarely attempted in large cities, where news of buyer interest travels fast. It is far less costly for private developers to acquire large tracts of exurban land rather than attempting urban redevelopment. The consequent suburban sprawl is then inevitably the cause of much public and political denunciation. Maryland is certainly no exception in this regard.

    There is, however, a third method of urban land consolidation, popularly referred to as “land readjustment.” This has been in active use in almost all major countries other than the United States and Britain for about a century. Land readjustment has proven especially useful in reclaiming totally decayed slums and repairing war damage. At a time when much of Baltimore literally resembles a war zone, with vacant lots and vandalized buildings, use of this technique deserves exploration.

    Land readjustment is a scheme whereby a specified supermajority of owners of contiguous land are permitted to establish a redevelopment area by petition approved by public authority. For instance, a block consisting of three vacant lots, two abandoned buildings owned by the city and used as crack houses, and an absentee-owned rental property might be converted into a unified development of new town houses. When the land-readjustment boundaries have been established, dissenting owner occupiers have the right to be excluded from the area on request. Other dissenters, such as absentee landlords who do not want to participate, must receive cash at an impartially appraised value, or marketable shares in the redevelopment project with the same present value, or a combination of the two, as with transferable development rights schemes. Their rights resemble those of dissenting shareholders in corporate reorganizations. (The need for even this mild coercion of dissenters might be obviated by a mechanism which permitted landowners bindingly to commit themselves to a land readjustment scheme conditional upon a specified percentage of landowners similarly committing themselves.) The remaining petitioners then have their properties impartially valued by a public appraiser and receive proportionate shares in the common enterprise. A committee is then elected by the participating owners to manage the redevelopment, which either funds construction by borrowing against land values or enters into joint ventures with builders. When work is complete, each petitioner receives either a building representing his pro rata share of the new development, together with fractional cash payments, or a pro rata share as owner-in-common of it, as where a residential block is converted to commercial use.

    Land readjustment makes it possible to redevelop with reasonable speed, since the petitioners have a profit incentive to cooperate rather than holding out for a jury verdict or high offer from a developer. It also makes possible redevelopment without the necessity of raising large sums of public or private funds for land acquisition and carrying costs. So long as the scheme is approved by public authority and provides adequate compensation for dissenters, it presents no constitutional difficulties in the American system. Similar mechanisms have sometimes been used in America to reconsolidate lots in failed developments of recreational land95 and in connection with “unitization” of oil fields. The legal precedents developed in the latter context would be useful in sustaining the validity of land readjustment schemes.

    Land readjustment has two remote antecedents in American practice. The first of these was the use of the so called “benefit offset” principle in private eminent domain, which in the 19th century permitted railroads and utility companies to offset against the amounts of compensation due landowners the benefits to be received by landowners as a result of construction. The second was the practice of excess condemnation in which condemning authorities sought to capture the value added by improvements by condemning portions of the land to be benefited by them. More recently, there has been limited resort to the organization of special districts with the right to use tax-increment financing, in which anticipated future increases in value serve as security for revenue bonds.


    Among western nations, legislation in 1865 authorized formation of land development syndicates in France.96 It was not for over 100 years that initiation of schemes by landowners was authorized, however (in 1967).97 It was in Germany that the land readjustment system received its earliest systematic use. Because of the lack of primogeniture and resultant splintering of agricultural land, land-readjustment mechanisms were provided to consolidate farm land. Beginning in 1892, the burgomeister (i.e., mayor) of Frankfurt, Franz Adickes, agitated for 10 years for similar measures for urban land. The fruit of his labors was the Law Concerning Land Transfer of Frankfurt, enacted by the Prussian state diet in 1902. The measure is popularly called the Lex Adickes, after the burgomeister. Under the Lex Adickes, prior owners received shares in the newly plotted land proportionate to their shares in land as originally platted. Lots with buildings were restored to the owners with appropriate boundary modifications. Unavoidable differences in value were settled in money. A contemporary British writer observed, “The mere possession of the power to compel unwilling owners to come into the pool made its application unnecessary. During the first ten years 14 areas with a total extent of 375 acres were pooled and redistributed, with the assent of the owners. Originally consisting of 643 lots belonging to 149 different owners, the land was reparceled into 198 after a deduction ranging from 25 to 40 percent for street purposes.”98 The scheme is still in use today and, in some large and medium-sized towns, land readjustment accounts for more than half of new development; it has been particularly heavily used in the vicinity of Bonn,99 until recently the German capital.


    The first formal land-readjustment enactment in Japan was the City Planning Act of 1919 (CPA), though this was preceded by the Agricultural Land Consolidation Law of 1899 (ALCL). The 1919 CPA extended the ALCL system to urban areas, and was rendered more appropriate to them by enactment of the Special City Planning Law of 1923 following the great earthquake of that year.100 A special Town Planning Act, focusing on war reconstruction, was enacted in 1946. Today, projects completed or in progress involve areas totaling about 40 percent of the densely inhabited districts. Where projects are initiated by a land-readjustment association, the contributed land accounts for about 74 percent of the costs, the balance consisting of national road subsidies and local cost sharing. About a third of the projects are initiated by public agencies. Overall, contributed land accounts for 52.7 percent of the costs of all projects (private and public). It is said that as a practical matter a project should proceed only if 30 percent of the land is vacant.101 Private or conventional urban renewal would require the developing entity to raise all land acquisition costs from its own resources.

    Other Countries

    Other Asian and Pacific-rim nations have adopted land readjustment, also. “Today virtually all major residential development in Korea is done through land readjustment.”102 And agrarian land readjustment in Taiwan was begun on a trial basis in 1958 and extended to a national program in 1962. In the city of Kaohsiung, land readjustment was applied to 30 percent of construction land and 51 percent of undeveloped land.103 The Western Australia Town Planning and Development Act of 1928 authorized a system of land pooling under which land was transferred to local authorities and then retransferred to the original owners. The scheme has been extensively utilized in the Perth area since 1951 to consolidate lots on the outskirts of communities.104 Land readjustment of the Western Australian type was introduced in British India in 1915, with passage of the Bombay Town Planning Act; it continues in the successor states of Maharastra and Gujarat.105

    Land readjustment along the lines of the original Adickes plan has been extensively utilized worldwide: in the reconstruction of postwar European cities, including Kiel and Rotterdam, and in more than half of reconstructed housing in postwar Japan, in addition to much housing in Korea and Taiwan. Its possible application in America has been discussed and,106 prior to the creation of federal housing programs during the New Deal, several variant schemes were put forward, which have left some residue in the Illinois land trust system and the urban renewal laws of eight to ten states.107 Overall, however, little interest has been shown.

    Land readjustment would be easier to organize in a period of rising prosperity, such as the present time. As James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock explain, “The costs of organizing voluntary co-operative arrangements will not be so great in a dynamic situation as they will be in a static one.”108 Land readjustment in Maryland would have little application in undeveloped exurban areas, but it would have great relevance as part of Governor Parris N. Glendening’s (D) drive to revive older communities throughout the state. “It will be to the advantage of the individual owner of a parcel of land to allow the whole subdivision to be developed as a single unit…. Only through unified development can a ‘social surplus’ [i.e., benefit to all owners] be created. Individual bargaining seems likely to be considerably less intense here … it may be quite rational for individuals in the older residential areas of a city to choose collective action … and at the same time it may be irrational for owners of undeveloped units to agree.”109

    A scheme similar to land readjustment has been proposed by Robert Nelson: allowing established neighborhoods to sell entry rights by waiving zoning restrictions and by selling all properties. “Such sales of whole neighborhoods would be most likely to occur near subway stops, highway interchanges or in other circumstances where the neighborhood’s land had a much higher value in an entirely new use…. Neighborhoods and municipalities have little current incentive to make room for development, as long as there is no financial gain to them…. The creation of private neighborhoods with salable rights of entry would create such an institution.”110 The seedy areas around Baltimore City’s Penn and West Baltimore rail stations would be prime candidates in this respect. The piecemeal sale of individual semi-slum properties by their landowners is unlikely ever to result in wholesale redevelopment absent the willingness of a developer either (a) to buy such properties one by one as they came onto the market or (b) to approach each property owner with an offer, which would inevitably inflate prices. The other approach, that of eminent domain, is extremely unlikely ever to be utilized in these particular areas, given that the properties, while run down, are habitable, especially around Penn Station.

    The principal necessary contribution of higher levels of government to land adjustment would be: the provision of an appropriate mechanism for incorporation of associations, together with impartial tax assessment and mediation facilities and, in some circumstances, the deeding of streets and municipally-owned properties on the block and the waiver of tax liens (already authorized on a discretionary basis by statute as to Baltimore City). At a later stage, some consideration might be given to cooperative credit mechanisms for land-readjustment groups, such as the municipal bond banks or pools offered by some states to their smaller municipalities.

    The internal governance of such associations requires careful definition by statute of opt-out rights, and some provision for public review of these organizations’ decisions to guard against adverse effects on neighboring areas and the oppression of dissenters. Much work was done on this subject in the early 1930s in the United States but was largely abated by the availability of large-scale federal financing for urban renewal. The tax-increment financing statute newly extended to the city could be a useful tool for land-readjustment associations, by making possible the floating of bonds to fund the acquisition of the land of dissenting owners, and perhaps even of construction costs.

    The present writer has prepared a draft enabling statute for land readjustment associations.111 It appears at appendix II. This would-be statute makes clear that land readjustment would ordinarily be instituted and carried forward by developers who became experienced in organizing landowners into readjustment associations. While the introduction and perfection of this device would require several years because of the need for new laws and test litigation, it would provide a means of involving market actors and incentives in urban renewal. For this reason, the British government has recently commissioned a study of land readjustment involving several academics and the solicitors’ firm of Linklaters and Payne. As applied to Baltimore, this scheme might ultimately provide a method of redeveloping blocks in which a substantial fraction of the lots are either vacant or municipally owned with the balance being absentee-owned investment properties. This is a description which now fits large areas of Baltimore, a city in which there are said to be 40,000 vacant homes.112

    III. Law Enforcement

    Community policing has been a familiar slogan of the Baltimore police, who have instituted block-watch programs and cooperation with neighborhood organizations. The potentialities in this area, however, have been far from exhausted. American discussions of law enforcement generally descend quickly into arguments in which one (liberal) faction urges national government social programs to combat the alleged “root causes” of crime, while the other (conservative) faction seeks more police and harsher laws and sentences. There is, however, a third tradition that complements if it does not supplant the other two. It is a tradition that seeks to revive past localized institutions.

    Sub-local, parochial law enforcement survived in England well into 19th century without the aid of a professional police force. Law enforcement was the duty of the appointed constable, paid by the parish. (To this day, professional police officers of the lowest rank in Britain are called “police constables.”) What enabled parochial law enforcement to function was the fact that law enforcement and the relief of the poor were regarded as being related, and both a parish responsibility: “The powers of the vestry over locally administered poor relief and the tendency of local employers to dominate parish office holding gave the parish sanctions over offenders which diminished their dependence upon formal judicial committals.”113 In 1834, the Poor Law Amendment Act relieved parishes of their responsibilities for the care of the indigent, simultaneously relieving them of their most effective tool against crime. Not coincidentally, this period also saw the widespread creation for the first time in Britain of professional police forces: first in London, following the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829; then in other cities, following the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835; and finally throughout the rest of the country in the wake of the County and Borough Police Act of 1856. The last of the parish constables were abolished in 1872.114

    Reviewing the advent of centralized professional police forces in Britain a few years after the fact, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli concluded that “the parochial constitution had already been shaken to its centre by the [n]ew [p]oor [l]aw,”115 with its elimination of locally dominated parish poor relief, leaving sub-local authorities with no sanctions to bring to bear against transgressors save formal law-enforcement and judicial action. The new system was not without controversy. A number of commentators thought it would be too impersonal to function effectively. A contemporary critic of the new police legislation protested that “the only police system that can ever really be efficient, morally and truly, instead of physically and superficially, must be one which is founded on mutual confidence and immediate local responsibility.”116

    In Massachusetts, from the earliest time, constables were elected for terms of one year, and hired substitutes if they could. “They were powerful only insofar as they did what the community wished; they could command compliance only when almost everyone was prepared to give it anyway and so would assist them against any who proved recalcitrant.”117 The basic premise was one of initial private policing: “He that knows the Offence, first of all goes himself to the Offender, and seriously endeavors to bring him to repentance.”118 When law enforcement could only be carried out by the people at large, it could be employed only to enforce rules that enjoyed widespread agreement.119 “Town discipline in the Revolution resembled nothing so much as church discipline throughout the provincial [i.e., colonial] era. Reform rather than retribution was its primary purpose, because punishment could, at best, purge the community whereas repentance restored its moral integration…. Physical force simply could not compare with social sanctions”120

    The present author does not recommend the abolition of professional police forces in Baltimore or anywhere else. Nonetheless, the “professionalization” of law enforcement has reduced, almost to zero, citizen participation in it. There are a number of practices from the era prior to professional police forces that could easily be revived to the benefit of the community as whole. As described below, the most logical entity to oversee these citizen activities would be the neighborhood association.

    There were four primary institutions which provided the basis of English and American law enforcement for almost 600 years, from the Statute of Winchester (1285)121 until the statute of 1856 requiring all English counties to maintain professional police forces: (a) the local constable, appointed in England, elected from small precincts in the U.S.; (b) the neighborhood hue and cry; (c) the night watch, later supplemented by a day watch, on which in theory all adult males were bound to serve; and (d) the posse comitatus, consisting of all males over the age of 15, a variant of the citizen militia established by the Assize of Arms (1181),122 the antecedent of the “well regulated militia” of the second amendment. As functioning civic institutions, all four of these have fallen into desuetude. Their replacement by professional forces, initially created by Sir Robert Peel’s police legislation for London in 1829 has recently been ably recounted by Douglas Hay and Francis Snyder.123 These institutions were each and all institutions of direct democracy, non-bureaucratic in nature; these were the law-enforcement institutions taken for granted at the time of the enactment of the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    The development of fast means of transportation and communication, the massive migration from rural areas into large cities, and large-scale immigration rendered the old system inadequate, both in the United States and Britain. The older institutions had as their premise private prosecution; the protections they afforded thus varied sharply with the means of the victim. Hence the rise of the professional police, whom we take for granted as instruments of law enforcement, notwithstanding that they were the kind of hireling body traditionally considered dangerous. There was a felt need for what James Bryce referred to as “a force strong enough to suppress tumults in their first stage” having regard to the fact that “democracy does not secure the good behavior of its worst and newest citizens.”124

    Recent years, however, have seen not merely the dominance of the professional police but early signs of the spontaneous re-creation of the earlier institutions. Today, nearly 30 percent of the American population lives in RCAs with elected officers. A large percentage of these RCAs have assumed some security functions.125 The systematic publicizing of crimes and fugitive persons, once confined to the halfhearted posting of “wanted” posters in post offices, now extends to popular television programs, the sides of shopping bags and the regular publication of police blotters in neighborhood and metropolitan newspapers. “Neighborhood watch” groups have appeared in many communities. The ever-more widespread private ownership of firearms for purposes of individual self-defense revives a militia, albeit not a “well regulated” one. Law enforcement might benefit, without peril to liberty, from a more self-conscious organization and exploitation of these tendencies. The four institutions are discussed below.

    The Constable

    The English constable was an appointed feudal remnant whose archetype in literature was Shakespeare’s Constable Dogberry.126 In his American manifestation, the constable was an elected official, generally selected from a very small district akin to an election precinct. With the rise of professional police, he and his county equivalent, the elected sheriff, have increasingly either been abolished or had their functions restricted to service of civil process. Thomas Jefferson’s vision of ward government in which an elected constable would be the principal agent of law enforcement in an area of six square miles with a population of 500 has never been realized.

    In their inception, at least in the United States, the professional ward police departments were quite decentralized, adjuncts of the ward organization.127 However, professional police forces are mostly very centralized today. By 1977, it was predicted that there was “little chance that the authorities [would] reopen the old precincts and restore their former boundaries.”128 But this contemplated only the decentralization of the police bureaucracy, rather than recourse to older, popular institutions.129 As for the latter, the increasing involvement in security matters of the hundreds of thousands of residential community associations created by the developers of residential subdivisions since the early 1960s has given rise to a new sort of constable: the neighborhood watch or security committee chairman.130 He too is elected by a local community and is not part of a police bureaucracy. The function of these new residential security institutions is generally preventive in nature – the surveying of street lighting, locks, bars and alarms; the reporting of crimes to the police and to neighbors; and the mounting of watches whose purpose is to deter rather than to apprehend.131

    The instinctive reaction of many to these new developments is to reproach them as a recrudescence to the medieval walled town.132 Some express fear that the result will be a withdrawal of support from existing police institutions. Others condemn citizen-initiated security arrangements as a vigilantism of the elite against the “have nots.” While these warnings are not entirely without merit, they nonetheless represent an overreaction. So long as the functioning of residents’ patrols is limited to radio or telephone communication with the police, there is an adequate “degree of public regulation of self-policing.”133 It is fair to suggest, on the contrary, that the appropriate reaction should involve an effort to extend these new institutions to established blocks, streets and housing projects where crime problems are greater. This should be accomplished by enactment of state laws authorizing and assisting small street and block associations, giving them powers to assess limited dues and imposts to support their activities.134 These activities might include street regulation (as with the woonerf street associations of The Netherlands and the private street associations of St. Louis) and cooperation in law enforcement.135 There is precedent in Baltimore. The three benefits districts all have a security component. In Charles Village, the district in fiscal 2000 is spending $227,008 on security, which represents 48.7 percent of its budget for the year.136

    The Hue and Cry

    In its initial form, the hue and cry had as its object the organization of what Jane Austen called “a neighborhood of voluntary spies,”137 involving shouting, the blowing of horns and the ringing of church bells. With the advent of the press, these primitive mechanisms for organizing the general chase of an offender were replaced, first in Britain, by printed warnings and reward notices and directories of wanted criminals of the type outlined in Sir John Fielding’s “General Prevention Plan” of 1772-73. The best-known publications were John Fielding’s own broadsheet, The Hue and Cry, and Henry Fielding’s Covent Garden Journal. (A London magistrate, Henry Fielding was also the creator of the Bow Street Runners in the mid-18th century. In 1829, these privately employed security personnel were absorbed by Peel’s new professional police force for London.) The Fieldings’ publications proved very useful. In 1783, William Murray, earl of Mansfield, Britain’s chief justice (best known for declaring slavery illegal in the British Isles in 1772), rhetorically asked: “How are felons in general taken up? From descriptions of them circulated in handbills.”138

    One of the critics of Peel’s police bill observed in 1829 that the “complete and speedy publicity of all acts of delinquency would effect far more good without a police than a police could effect without publicity.”139 This observation, while a little overblown, is not without relevance today. According to one author, “during the second half of the nineteenth century, the circulation of information about criminal offenders and offenses increasingly became internalized within the police – narrowcasting to an audience of officials. Professional bureaucratic policing as it developed in England was not reconciled with a continuation of the kind of public participation that had underpinned the success of the eighteenth-century crime advertisement. The willingness of victims of property offenses to rely upon the new police and the tendency of the new police themselves to monopolize law enforcement played important roles here. So too, perhaps, did technological developments like the telegraph which was more suited to channeling criminal information through a police bureaucracy than to public broadcasting.”140

    It has been suggested that the police have used the new technology of the telegraph, radio and computer in pursuit of the mirage of instant apprehension of criminals and at the expense of information-based activities directed at prevention of crime or delayed apprehension. By deliberately restricting policing activities to professionals, government authorities and the police themselves may have made apprehension of criminals more difficult. Clearly, a great deal has changed since Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation that “the criminal police of the United States cannot be compared with those of France; the magistrates and public agents are not numerous. Yet … in no country does crime more rarely elude punishment. The reason is that everyone conceives himself to be interested in furnishing evidence of the crime and in seizing the delinquent … in America he is looked upon as an enemy of the human race, and the whole of mankind is against him.”141

    The advent of new means of information transmission such as the television set and the fax machine has not given rise to significant expansion of use of “wanted” posters and publications by the police. Yet the public hunger for this sort of information is attested by the fact that virtually all neighborhood newspapers now publish discouragingly long lists of offenses, unaccompanied by any information that would assist in solving them. The publication on shopping bags of pictures of missing children and the advent of television programs depicting wanted criminals are entirely products of private enterprise. “Privately funded reward policing is probably stronger now than it has been since the nineteenth century.”142 Critics of these programs allege that they constitute private distortion of fears about crime,143 but this comes about by reason of the failure of public authorities to systematize similar measures.

    It is hard to escape the conclusion that a revival of something akin to Fielding’s Hue and Cry would be a useful and beneficial contribution to law enforcement, particularly in the inner-city areas where clearance rates are lowest, the crime problem is greatest and policing cannot succeed without public participation. Indeed, the mere existence of such a newspaper-type collection of wanted notices, conviction and sentence reports, and information about how to identify drug factories and automobile “chop shops” published by each neighborhood association might have a significant deterrent effect.144 It might also be helpful if the Baltimore Sun, which now publishes daily listings of neighborhood crimes, was equally enthusiastic about reporting convictions and sentences. Other more community-minded newspapers, such as the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal just over the Pennsylvania line, manage to do so.

    The Night Watch

    The night watch as originally conceived was an uncompensated body drawn by lot from among all adult males. Its expiration began when the hiring of substitutes was permitted, leading it to be described in its American setting as a force of unemployables. With the rise of professional police, any effort to enlist or enforce public participation in law enforcement was abandoned. An “enlightened” Yale Law Journal article in 1992 reproached the 10 or 12 states which continued to maintain statutes allowing police officers to commandeer the assistance of bystanders.145

    Yet, the inevitability of this decline is far from obvious. “Until well into the nineteenth century volunteer watchmen, not policemen, patrolled their communities to keep order…. Their presence deterred disorder or alerted the community to disorder that could not be deterred.”146 And a relative of the nightwatch survives without controversy: The volunteer fire department continues to serve as a social instrumentality in many parts of the country.147 Its decline in large cities was initially due not to the present need for special training but to the desire for political patronage and the interest of insurance companies (many of which started as fire companies) in being relieved of the costs of upkeep of the volunteer forces. It is said of the volunteer fire company that “here the actual physical or social contact with one’s neighbors may create or reinforce feelings of empathy. The uniform uncertainty over whose house may catch on fire next guarantees that each will do ‘his fair share’ with respect to not only fire fighting but possibly other community activities as well.”148 In other words, it was and is widely understood that the intimacy between volunteer firefighters and the communities served were and are a contributing factor toward the efficiency of such arrangements. The same logic once applied to night-watch patrols, too, and would again if they once again become common in cities.

    The utility of these night-watch organizations would primarily be deterrent in nature, derived from improved security measures and reporting of crimes and crime suspects, particularly in city areas where the police are an alien force.149 The programs would have their limits: “We cannot rely too much on voluntary citizen ‘self-help,’ given the difficulty of controlling citizen use of force and the virtual absence of residents from many neighborhoods during working hours.”150 Moreover, “voluntary association cannot easily be initiated or sustained in poorer, high-crime areas.”151 Nonetheless, even in poorer areas, there is increasing recognition of the fact that professional police forces are insufficient to guarantee safety: hence, the increased emphasis on the social organization of housing projects, on concierge systems and concepts of “defensible space”152 (indicating that the relevance of this concept is not confined to the 12th century).153 This does not engender any particularly negative reaction from opponents of citizen self-help. There is no reason why night-watch groups should, either.

    To encourage the development of such neighborhood citizen security measures, a number of measures should be introduced in Baltimore City. First, contributions or dues to neighborhood associations performing such functions should be accorded the same tax deductibility as taxes paid to public bodies. Second, organization of block and street associations in established neighborhoods and housing projects should be facilitated by any means at the city’s disposal (these associations’ being useful facilitators in the organization of night-watch groups). Third, individuals participating in such watch functions should receive, as did 19th century and some contemporary volunteer firemen, recognition for their service, such as exemption from jury duty.154 Fourth, functions such as parking enforcement and the provision of school crossing guards should be transferred to such bodies where appropriate.155 This last measure would help institutionalize their role in the community.

    The Posse Comitatus

    Unlike the other institutions mentioned, the history of the militia and the origins and scope of the second amendment to the Constitution have not been neglected subjects in recent years. The controversy over gun control, however, has generated considerably more heat than light. Nonetheless, one thing is, or at least should be, clear: Private firearms ownership is now so widespread in the United States that any legislation curtailing it, if enforced by means consistent with the fourth and fifth amendments, would have only limited significance in the short term. The fact is that private firearms ownership stems from a loss of confidence in public law enforcement; its suppression or curtailment would therefore be difficult.

    The evils that flow from widespread gun ownership are twofold: (a) the possession and use of guns by those bent on crime and (b) some accidental homicides (four in Baltimore in 1998) and deaths in the course of family quarrels (25 in Baltimore in 1998, among a total of 314 homicides).156 These sordid events lead to endless rhetoric in favor of new gun-control laws, and it is difficult not to be sympathetic. All the same, the extensive ownership of firearms does undoubtedly operate as a deterrent to some store robberies, and to assaults, night-time burglaries and other property crimes. As for gun-free Britain, “The rate of assault is 13 percent higher in England, while the rates of burglary and motor theft are about double U.S. rates.”157 This deterrent effect has led some states to enact “concealed carry” laws in the hope of discouraging street crime.

    Licensing of gun owners is politically controversial. It is possible, however, to conceive of milder measures, which would deny the right of ownership to those not subjecting themselves to a training course, with periodic refreshments, in firearms safety, in self-defense (including alternatives to firearms use),158 and in first aid and emergency response by local police precincts. Under this scheme, the acquisition, possession or use of a firearm by a person who had not completed such a course would be subject to penalties. Some experimentation along these lines has been undertaken, in which the incentive to participation is not criminal sanctions but the award to participants of decals and certificates. The ostentatious display of these awards and stickers has been found to operate as a deterrent to crime.159

    A still milder approach, not resembling licensing, would enact a presumption of lack of due care with respect to any suit or prosecution where injury resulted from firearms use by a person not participating in the training program. While this program would not enlist the support of an existing criminal element, it almost certainly would reduce the incidence of accidental and intra-family homicides resulting from firearms, as well as fostering social solidarity in high-crime neighborhoods and intelligent cooperation with the police. Given the political and legal constraints on firearms regulation, such an effort to discipline, discourage and partially co-opt those claiming the right to possess firearms has greater promise than the present cosmetic restraints on ownership and sale, might yield a political consensus, and might, in time, alter the culture surrounding individual ownership of firearms.

    Adult and Juvenile Probation

    Although Baltimore City has eagerly surrendered control of its adult and juvenile probation services to the state, satisfaction with the functioning of these services has not increased. Indeed, the juvenile probation services have recently been immersed in scandal involving mistreatment of inmates at juvenile detention centers.160 The city retains sufficient influence in Annapolis for it to urge the adoption of new approaches – in this case reincorporation into the probation system of the church and community institutions from which it (probation) grew.

    In today’s America, supervision of probationers and parolees is carried on by harried bureaucrats, employees of a state or national government. Yet in underdeveloped countries, probation services have sometimes placed offenders under the care of traditional elders or village leaders.161 And in developed countries, extensive use has at times been made of citizen volunteers as probation officers, who in earlier times were frequently clergymen. In Britain, probation was originally provided for by the Probation of First Offenders Act of 1887, enacted at the instance of police court missionaries. Although employment of some full-time workers was provided for by the Probation of Offenders Act of 1907, that statute was worked almost entirely by volunteers. By 1922, there were 784 volunteer workers. A departmental committee reporting in that year recommended that the volunteers be superseded by a professional service,162 which was accomplished by the Criminal Justice Act of 1925. Later, a reaction set in against complete bureaucratization of the service. In 1957, one of the early evangelical volunteers recalled that “the volunteer probation officer of the old days was a private citizen, who interviewed his cases in a private house or a church vestry. The delinquent did not feel on such premises the restraint that inhibits him when he makes his fortnightly visit to a room in the court building, or to an office that looks like a department of a public organization.”163 The reintroduction of volunteers followed the Reading report in 1967.164 By 1978, volunteers were being more widely used.165 Their expanded use was promoted by the Home Office in 1984 and 1991.166 As of 1980, volunteers were being used in all regions of the British probation service and numbered more than 5,000. In 1985, a survey indicated that there was approximately one volunteer for each professional probation officer in the British service. About 56 percent of the volunteers were women. More recently, the Conservatives, while still in government, instead of pursuing the devolution of probation to church and community groups and parish councils, entertained proposals for the “contracting out” of probation to private-sector managers.167

    However, the British – to say nothing of the American168 – use of probation volunteers is limited compared to that in other countries. In Denmark, there are 194 officers and 1,000 volunteers, supervising 45 percent of the caseload.169 Likewise, Austria has 189 officers and 579 volunteers, overseeing 25 percent of the caseload.170 In Sweden, Becker and Hjellemo in 1976 found an average of 92 clients and 48 volunteers for each probation officer;171 another study of the Swedish system indicates that 9,000 volunteers handle 75 percent of the caseload.172 In Japan, the average field officer’s main responsibilities involve coordinating the work of approximately 65 volunteers, each working with about four clients, there being in all more than 56,000 volunteers.173 The French use volunteers less extensively (476 officers to 770 volunteers), but institutions may serve as volunteers, and use is made of chapters of the Croix Bleue (anti-alcohol league), the Red Cross, the Secours Catholique and the Emmaus Community.174

    In contrast, in the U.S. the only area in which probation volunteers have been extensively used is in so-called “big brother” programs. Suggestions have been made for parole of juvenile offenders to inner-city church and community groups,175 though little headway has been made. Assumption of such responsibilities by community organizations should require a large supermajority, and their powers as probation officers should be supervised either by a public probation officer, a court or both. The association might be given the power to petition a court to revoke probation, or to request a public officer to do so. Because of the external benefits and the concentration of the need in poorer neighborhoods, funding should probably take the form of either a voucher for each probationer or project grants from higher levels of government (the state, in the U.S. context).


    The present political dialogue on law enforcement postulates its problems as involving a balancing of (a) the rights and needs of the isolated individual with (b) the commands and requirements of society, conceived as a bureaucratic state. This suggests the need for reference to a third tradition, one which recognizes that there is “no security except in association and no freedom that [does] not recognize the obligation of a corporate life”176 and which calls for continued rediscovery of “the contribution an actively participating public can make to the detection and prevention of criminal offenses.”177

    In Paris, the police force has traditionally been organized on an arrondisement basis, there being several dozen such neighborhood districts throughout the city.178 This arrangement “identifies the individual policeman more permanently and closely with a particular neighborhood than is customary in any American city.”179 The Parisian vice squad, the usual source of corruption, “is entirely distinct, in its organization and work, from the patrol system.” This system conforms to the ideal voiced in an earlier time by Joshua Toulmin Smith: “No stranger ought to be allowed, except for very special reasons, to be employed as peace-keeper in any districts.”180

    According to two writers, “Small jurisdictions may well be able to supply superior services (in terms of citizen satisfaction) than large jurisdictions…. Subfunctions of a public service can most efficiently be provided by different-sized organizations.”181 This premise informs the French legislation of January 1983 which allows the 25,000 French communes, analogous to English parishes and which typically have populations of barely a thousand, to establish their own police. These commune forces have primarily a crime-prevention function, but are trained and uniformed and have some arrest powers.182

    In America, any devolution of law-enforcement related activities to a sub-local level will require careful regulation to ensure that the ability to adjudicate and punish is left in the hands of more detached and neutral officers. This should also apply in most situations to arrest powers and the use of deadly force. Assumption of security functions by an RCA or neighborhood association should not be undertaken except by consensus. These limitations however do not vitiate the need for and utility of sub-local activity in “target hardening” (i.e., encouraging use of better locks, alarms and gates), discouraging and reporting crime, monitoring higher-level law enforcement and assisting in reintegrating offenders into the community. Because of the benefit to property and property values of these activities, they are appropriately funded by property assessments, aided in poorer neighborhoods by inverse wealth grants from higher levels of government.

    Many other areas of the country have moved forward, while Baltimore has not. In Indianapolis, portions of such functions as traffic control, report-taking, accident investigation and transportation of prisoners are conducted by “civilians,” including contractors and volunteers.183 Other cities have also used volunteers, extensively so in the case of San Diego. The San Diego police force possesses a volunteer work force of over 1,000 residents. This volunteer usage provides meaningful activity to an otherwise non-active group of (mainly) retirees and saves the department over $1.5 million in personnel costs.184 Though few match San Diego’s volunteer program, many other cities rely heavily on volunteers, among them Charleston (South Carolina), Orlando (Florida), Phoenix (Arizona), Atlanta (Georgia) and Salt Lake City (Utah).185

    IV. Human Services

    City living is nameless living, at once a blessing and a curse. The eloping lovers attracted in the first place to the anonymity of the metropolis may in later years become the lonely seniors one hears rumors of but rarely sees; their grandchildren, the disaffected teenagers so readily drawn to delinquency. For this reason, human services are a vital component of urban life. Yet, a city whose social services are more bureaucratic than human is doomed to failure. This section examines how Baltimore has traditionally approached this issue, and what it can do to improve matters by harnessing one of its few remaining strengths: neighborhood institutions and attachments.

    Child Day Care

    The Baltimore City budget contains several appropriations to provide expensive but state-financed preschool child care to small and select populations, including provisions for five child-care centers at Cherry Hill, Dunbar, Jonestown, Federal Hill and the Baltimore Community College. An alternative method of provision – cooperative day care organized by neighborhood associations – has not been explored.

    Observers of a series of carefully orchestrated White House conferences during the Clinton administration will have gained the impression that the only road to progress for preschool children is found in central or state government provision of institutional day care, a cause that has its partisans among both feminists and public-employee unions. Both these interest groups contemplate with equanimity a current condition in which 55 percent of mothers – as against 31 percent in 1970 – enter the work force while their children are still under a year old. There are demands for emulation of French and Swedish day-care systems, although Professor Barbara Babcock, a supporter of the Swedish system, has acknowledged that the associated levels of taxation give mothers no option but to enter the work force: They must be forced to be free. Although promoters of this agenda express concern for the quality of care of the poor, it is noteworthy that the percentage of female labor-force participation is highest among the professional classes, which of course have the least need for the sorts of subsidies proposed.

    Here also there is a middle way, through neighborhood organization, between those demanding expansion of central government programs and those trusting to existing private arrangements. Preschool children are a local and immobile group. In Britain, preschool playgroups, which are voluntary associations receiving small amounts of central and local government assistance, provide services to about 40 percent of three- and four-year-olds. (The remainder are cared for either by stay-at-home parents, nannies or professionally run, fee-for-service day-care centers of the sort commonly found in the United States.) The British playgroup model is one that should be emulated in Baltimore as a means of strengthening community involvement by residents and making the city more attractive to the middle class (at least for as long as Baltimore remained the only subdivision encouraging such associations). The present writer has encountered one that exists in the city, a voluntary cooperative group that operates in a Quaker meeting house in Charles Village. However, this receives none of the grants or tax advantages of its far more numerous U.K. counterparts.

    Although advocates of public provision speak glibly of “market failure,” in fact day care is not a universal “public good,” since the need for it varies sharply among families. As with care of the elderly, any attempt to exclude others, particularly parents, from its rendition runs athwart important civil liberties. Once again, we are confronted with an ordinary market good in the rendition of which neighborhood associations may have some competitive advantages, namely, preexisting means of communication among neighbors (newsletters, mailing lists), control of physical facilities (church and community buildings), knowledge of personnel and confidence in local control. The alleged lack of supply of child-care arrangements exists only because of exceptionally rapid change fueled by shifts in demography and mores: the explosion of single-parent families and new vocational expectations on the part of women. The removal of regulatory and information barriers to cooperative forms of provision would be a more appropriate role for government than direct provision.

    Community-run playgroups in Britain have proved wildly popular since their inauspicious inception in 1961. That year, a lone British mother, Belle Tutaev, wrote a letter to the Manchester Guardian seeking the help of others similarly situated and in search of low-cost child-care options. Her letter brought forth a tidal wave of interest and, by 1968, some 3,000 voluntary playgroups existed in the U.K. providing services to children from two-and-a-half to five years old. These groups functioned, as they still do, with supervisors, only three quarters of whom are paid, and with volunteer workers chosen from among client parents on a rotation system. The paid workers in 1987 received an average wage per session of £4.64, or about £1.85 per hour (approximately $2.80 an hour). Rates in London were about 50 percent higher.186 The playgroups conduct their own fund raising, liaison with local authorities, parents’ meetings and training courses. Many groups include children whose parents cannot the afford fees; such children are subsidized by the fees levied on others’ parents. The central feature of these groups is that they are run by unpaid or low-paid volunteers, drawn from among parents (usually mothers) who have opted out of the full-time work force (though the rotating nature of staff schedules permits part-time employment elsewhere). This keeps costs and therefore fees low, making playgroups a possibility even for low-income parents.

    Since enactment of the Childrens’ and Young Persons’ Act of 1963, British local authorities have been empowered to make direct grants to such voluntary agencies. Impetus was given to the expansion of nursery education by release of the Plowden report, more formally named Children and their Primary Schools, in 1968.187 The Conservative government of the early 1990s was “committed to the continuation of a range of provision that will meet a variety of needs, in both the public and private sectors,”188 including professional day-care centers, community playgroups and public-sector facilities. Its Labour successor is more sympathetic to government grants rather than vouchers as a means of delivering services, but is not hostile to the maintenance of association-run playgroups.

    By 1994, there were more than 19,000 playgroups. Two-thirds of the groups were organized under church or community auspices, while 29 percent were private, some profit-making. In 1992-93, the number of subsidized places was about 13,000, while total enrollment exceeded 800,000 in 1994. Approximately 230,000 of the children attending playgroups were from families whose incomes derived from state benefits, a result made possible by low playgroup fees. Only about one-third of playgroups (but three-fourths of those in London) receive external funding, this funding amounting to about 10 percent of the budgets of the groups receiving it, or less than five percent of the national expenditure by the groups, which totals approximately £250 million ($375 million).189 In 1988, there were 10 regional associations of playgroups, 42 county associations190 and 430 local branches.191

    The playgroup movement has spread to several other countries, including The Netherlands, where playgroups for two- and three-year-olds in 1986 enrolled 132,520 children in 3,313 playgroups (or 38 percent of the relevant population), and Ireland, where it is estimated that playgroup participants number about 20,000 in some 1,500 groups (or about 15 percent of the relevant cohort).192 (As a matter of interest, 185 of the Irish playgroups are Gaelic speaking.) The Dutch system, unlike the British, is heavily subsidized by the government. The 1989 New Zealand budget provided for vouchers for nursery care, usable at playgroups.193 Even in Sweden, where state nursery provision is highly developed, recent years have seen tax concessions to promote the “emergence of parental child care cooperatives which by the end of 1992 involved about 25,000 children or some 6% of all child care amenities. This type of care emerged in response to a shortage of child care amenities and also because parents wanted to have a say in the organization of child care. Similar user cooperatives mainly in caring services for the elderly and disabled are now growing up in many municipalities.”194

    Day care, and particularly cooperative day care, is a civic amenity which lends itself to organization at the sub-local level and which is likely to call forth the amount of resident energy necessary to become effective. It is significant that a 1970s study negatively assessing the amount of civic energy generated by covenant-created village boards in Columbia, Maryland identified day care as the primary area in which such associations were active.195 Once again, this is a service which lends itself either to voucher funding, on the British pattern, or funding through a central government tax credit, as already partially provided for in the United States. Such groups can be organized by neighborhood associations as free-standing groups, with the government role confined to vouchers and subsidies and publicity to facilitate organization.

    Care of the Elderly

    The Baltimore City budget also contains substantial appropriations of state and federal funds for programs for the elderly, including $38 million to maintain four health centers. Yet, no conspicuously cost-effective approach has been seriously explored.

    When the elderly are discussed in current American politics, it is as passive recipients of government bounty, in the form of Social Security, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) benefits, Medicare and Medicaid. The “progressive” position is entirely defensive in character: variations on the theme, don’t let them take it away. The rising proportion of the old in the population produces an assumption that the politics of aging involves only discussion of the nature and degree of retrenchment.

    It is possible to do better than this, as other countries have recognized. New neighborhood institutions hold the promise of less impersonal as well as more economical services, and a renewed concern with fraternity as well as equality with respect to a sector of the population conspicuous in the United States for its social isolation. The present writer has suggested elsewhere that it is no longer appropriate, if it ever was, to have land- use regulations that zone the elderly into the next county, and that the promotion of accessory apartments and “granny flats” might give the forgotten “babushka” a new social function.196 It is here also worth emphasizing that the old should have a role, not only in care of the young, but in care of each other.

    The elderly tend to be persons of limited mobility. This is particularly true of the portion of the elderly most in need of care. Nonetheless, most old or infirm people are ill or immobile only a portion of the time, but are in need of constructive activity regularly. So considerable scope exists for organizing the delivery of many types of social service by the use of mutual-aid groups. Among the services that can be thus organized are meals on wheels, domestic cleaning and local transportation, and services designed periodically to check on the health and welfare of the infirm and to provide companionship. These can provide a means of avoiding, or at least of drastically postponing, the need for highly expensive institutionalization. Such services are ordinary private goods in the organization and rendition of which neighborhood associations possess some important competitive advantages. Other countries have appreciated the appropriateness of delivering some forms of care to the elderly through very local entities. Primary health care in Sweden is partly delivered by neighborhood councils, some of which have budgets in seven figures.197

    But it is the Japanese have carried this approach further than any other country. This has been in response to felt need: an unusual graying of the population resulting from Japan’s low wartime and postwar birth rate. In 1980, it was estimated that, by its projected peak in 2020, the old-age population of Japan would reach 18.8 percent of the total population. By comparison, the peak old-age population at the same time projected for western countries was much lower: 14.1 percent in Britain (reached in 1980), 16.1 percent in Sweden (in 1990), and 13.7 percent in France (in 2000).198 Subsequent improvements in life expectancy have caused some to estimate that the proportion of aged in Japan may go as high as 24 percent by 2025. The population over 65 is estimated to increase from 10 million in 1979 to 26 million in 2020. The ratio of productive-age population (15-64 years old) to the elderly (65+) is projected to decline from 7.5:1 in 1980 to 3.3:1 in 2020. At the same time, Japan has been beset by many of the same disintegrating influences on family structure as the west, including greater mobility, a rising divorce rate and the large-scale entry of women into the labor force.

    The Japanese system was formalized by a Law Governing Volunteer Workers in Welfare Services in the early 1970s and by related policy changes throughout the 1980s. It has had two major components: (a) the use of volunteer workers organized on a neighborhood basis and (b) the organization of old-age clubs for mutual assistance. Government response to the projected demographic problem also has included curtailments in health-care expenditures; this policy is designed to increase the already high savings rate and to promote the extended family and neighborhood institutions. The elderly must now bear a portion of the cost of hospitalization. Tax credits are allowed to family members caring for the elderly. The government actively promotes “a land policy aimed at pressing for three family generations to live in the same place or for family members to live within easy reach” of each other, and provides government loans for home remodeling in order that an elderly person may join the household.199 (Similar policies have been pursued in the allocation of public housing in Singapore, which gives “priority for nearby flats for members of the same family, to preserve the extended family structure, thereby ensuring care for the elderly.”)200 As late as 1988, a five-country study revealed that, while only three percent of Americans over the age of 60 wanted to live with their children, 58 percent of the Japanese expected to do so. For this reason, nursing-home care, except for very short stays in acute cases for people without relatives, is little developed in Japan and recent government spending has focused on day-care centers and home health services. As of 1980, 70 percent of Japanese over the age of 60 lived with children, as against 28 percent in the U.S. and 42 percent in the U.K.201

    Japanese social worker volunteers (minsei-iin) typically call on elderly people and inquire of neighborhood organizations and storekeepers to identify those who have problems, and remind the elderly of the availability of free annual medical examinations and x-rays. They arrange for attendance at day centers and for home health care and other benefits. These neighborhood leaders do not supply the sole route to local services, and do not function as political bosses.202 Likewise more concerned with neighborhood relationships than professional health-care institutions, the old-age clubs (roojinkai) are organized by the minsei-iin to create networks of friends within the locality who can visit each other when someone is sick, call a doctor in time of need and run errands. The involvement of the elderly in club activities also provides respites for younger caretakers. (A similar organization of mutual-aid groups at the block level using social workers was carried out as a matter of government policy in Hong Kong during the 1970s, the number of mutual-aid committees increasing from 1,214 to 3,132 between 1973 and 1980.)203

    The Japanese roojinkai have been fostered consciously by the government. The percentage of persons over the age of 60 participating in them increased from 12.8 percent in 1962 to 47.2 percent in 1973. Among their functions are the organization of trips, social events and hobby clubs, the maintenance of community rooms, lobbying for local improvements such as changes in bus routes and organizing the receipt of certain city health services (such as free medical massages, quarterly health classes at which the elderly are instructed in diet and exercise and taught to measure blood pressure and, above all, mutual aid, particularly to those who are ill).

    The roojinkai receive approximately 60 percent of their operating budgets from membership dues and contributions, roughly 20 percent from neighborhood associations and roughly 20 percent from the municipal authorities. (Health-care funds administered by the roojinkai are provided by the national Ministry of Health and Welfare.) Since dues approximate ¥2,500 per year ($25), the ratio above illustrates that the amounts provided by the city governments are exceedingly modest, perhaps $10 per member. The lessons for American policy are obvious. Yet, the emphasis of American lobbies for the elderly such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has been on the defense of national government benefits rather than the creation of local institutions to take up the slack as demographic pressures cause those benefits to contract.

    It would be difficult, given present western rates of female labor-force participation, to recruit a comparable cadre of minsei-iin volunteers (most of whom are women), or to give them meaningful authority and honorific positions where they were being supervised by a social work professionals. However, it could and should be state and municipal government policy to recruit part-time assistants through the use of modest stipends and to stimulate the self-organization of old-age clubs. This might be fostered in two ways: (a) by widespread distribution of guidebooks on such organizations, including samples of by-laws, lists of possible activities and listings of government and private organizations in a position to provide further resources to interested clubs, particularly those relating to health maintenance and home care; and (b) by providing a very small tax deduction or credit for the first $50 or $100 in dues paid such organizations. Baltimore could and should lead the way in this respect. Neighborhood identities are far stronger in Baltimore than elsewhere in the state, and the city’s relatively dense population would permit volunteers to walk to their neighbors rather than drive.

    Youth Programs

    Mention has already been made of the sharply divergent approaches of Baltimore City and Baltimore County as to the administration of recreation programs in the parks. In addition, the city budget is replete with other appropriations of scarce general funds to bureaucratically staffed youth programs. In this area, too, there are approaches laying greater stress on voluntary, sub-municipal organizations.

    In current American politics, concern about juvenile behavior usually manifests itself in demands for tougher sentencing of juveniles, or is an adjunct to controversies over welfare and abortion involving the design of state welfare programs and criminal laws. Here also, there is a neglected dimension of neighborhood organization and involvement. The U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations suggested in 1967 that neighborhood units be allowed to impose fractional property taxes, or capitation taxes, for the purpose of funding “after-school programs for neighborhood children.”204 On a related theme, Winnipeg in Canada grants to its neighborhood councils 25¢ per capita to be allocated to community youth and cultural groups.205 In Sweden, evening use of schools is coordinated by neighborhood councils.206 These are all relatively non-controversial activities lending themselves to administration by neighborhood councils; nothing precludes their funding by formula or inverse wealth grants by higher levels of government. Funds which Baltimore now directly spends on recreation centers, and the centers themselves, should be devolved to neighborhood units able to make more extensive use of volunteers, including parent organizations in schools and churches.

    Advice Bureaux

    The Baltimore City budget is abundant with appropriations to professionally staffed advocacy and legal-services groups, many with highly partisan agendas. The city maintains a Community Relations Commission to enforce anti-discrimination laws which would otherwise be enforced by the state as to private employers; in 1998, this body heard only 34 cases involving municipal employees. Yet it has 16 employees and a general fund budget of $742,000. The city also enforces a largely redundant minimum-wage law at a cost of $409,000 and sponsors advocacy groups for women, community projects, children and youth, and aging and retirement education – between them expending nearly $1.5 million in general funds. In addition to the normal upkeep of the city Solicitor’s Office, there are line appropriations of $715,000 for special legal fees, $200,000 for legal contingencies and $500,000 for asbestos litigation. (All budget figures are for fiscal 1999.) The avowed purpose of most of these legal-service entities is to promote the better assimilation into the community of groups assumed to be excluded. The fragile state of race relations in Baltimore suggests that this money has not been well spent. It would be beneficial for Baltimore to abolish all these institutions and programs immediately, channeling the funds instead to entirely non-partisan and non-political general advice centers along British lines.

    For the last 60 years, the British have operated a superior instrumentality for the dispensing of advice to the public. Citizens’ Advice Bureaux (CABs), a distinctive British social institution, were established at the outset of World War II by the National Council of Social Service, having been planned beforehand. Two hundred of these bodies began operations on the day war was declared. One thousand existed by the end of the war. Their initial function was assisting the public in dealing with wartime call-up, evacuation and rationing regulations. At war’s end, a National Standing Conference of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux was established, and the functions of the bureaux were redirected to assisting individuals with the regulations of the welfare state, including housing and consumer-protection legislation.

    By 1994-95, there were 721 bureaux and 1,006 associated outlets in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (or about 29 primary and secondary offices per county on average).207 A study by the National Consumer Council revealed that 80 percent of the population had heard of CABs. In 1995, the CABs received 6.5 million inquiries, of which about 28 percent related to National Insurance (like Social Security), about 15 percent to debt and consumer matters, and about 10 percent each to family, housing and employment matters. The CABs had 28,000 workers, about 90 percent of them unpaid, including 15,743 volunteer staff, 9,000 volunteer management committee members and 3,321 paid staff. Two-thirds of the bureaux functioned without any paid help at all.

    Far from being adjuncts of the state, the bureaux have been described by Geoffrey Finlayson as “a watch-dog in keeping the statutory services up to the mark.”208 Unlike bureaucratic agencies, the advice bureaux are said to offer their clients “the luxury of time to talk” and volunteers are expected to present all options and abstain from revealing their political complexion.

    Margaret Brasnett has noted that the advice bureaux have been successfully imitated in many countries. A significant number of bureaux have been established in Ghana and Israel, and the concept has found more limited use in South Africa, Zimbabwe, India and Guyana. Councils of Social Service in a number of Australian states have also imitated the service.209 However, the proposals in Alfred J. Kahn’s 1966 study of American neighborhood information centers sponsored by the Columbia School of Social Work were stillborn. The American “War on Poverty” was explicit in its favoring of class advocacy over individual casework, and its neighborhood offices were manned by professionals, not volunteers; they devoted themselves to efforts to overthrow, rather than to produce conformity with, existing social institutions. The prevailing ideology in American programs has stressed legal services rather than social work, and has fostered a culture of complaint rather than constructive endeavor.

    A new approach in this country should involve federal, state or charitable funding of American variants of the CABs, designed to provide lay advice in depressed or troubled communities. The financial demands of such institutions would be modest, and the need to maintain enthusiasm and consensus among volunteers should operate to limit abuses of the groups by transient majorities. The CABs are readily adapted to administration by neighborhood units. That, at least, has been the experience in Britain. What is needed is a small central office to prepare manuals and training courses and assemble data, directories and government regulations for volunteers and a few storefront offices funded by neighborhood associations with limited property assessment powers.

    V. Fiscal and Political Reform

    This section describes the archaic nature of Baltimore City’s systems of taxation and political representation, both of them better suited to the heavy industrial city of the 19th century that Baltimore was than to the technological city of the 21st century that it aspires to be.


    The sorts of devolved activities described above in the preceding sections would in many instances be self-funded, in the sense that much of the funding necessary to carry them out would be raised by the sub-local entities by means of newly conferred revenue-raising powers. This in turn would render unnecessary the broad taxing powers that currently reside at City Hall. If the localities were enabled to fund and execute their own (considerably broadened) array of services, there would be no need for the central municipal authority to do the same. The citywide government would be left essentially with an ombudsman role, overseeing a city composed of a series of semi-autonomous neighborhood entities, each providing services in the manner sought by its residents.

    Not all neighborhoods are created equal, however, and any proposal for decentralization in government must meet the objection that its effect would be further to disadvantage poorer neighborhoods and, by extension, poorer people. As pointed out, the use of voucher formulas providing additional aid with respect to disadvantaged citizens is one way of avoiding such consequences. Limited citywide taxing powers could be used to redistribute wealth from one area to another, as with the Maryland foundation program for education and the British rate-support grant.

    However, attention should also be given to the ways in which the existing tax system disadvantages persons of modest means. It is here, rather than on discouragement of devolution, that egalitarian impulses should be focused.

    Property-Tax Reform

    The yield of the Baltimore City property tax has been essentially flat over the last eight years but the municipal budget documents are curiously unrevealing as to the reasons for this flatness. While the documents include a table itemizing “tax expenditures” reducing property taxes, such as the credits for homeowners making improvements, they omit exemptions conferred by ad hoc agreements between the city with politically well connected developers. These agreements are nowhere reputed or accounted for in the budget documents.

    This is largely the result of the General Assembly’s unwise decision to allow the city authority going far beyond that allowed any other subdivision to grant publicly unreported ad hoc exemptions from property tax. For example, §§ 7-504 and 7-506 of the Tax-Property article within the Maryland Code, expanded by chapter 8 of the Acts of 1985 and applicable only to Baltimore City, allow property to be exempted from taxation under several circumstances: (a) if exempted “under the express terms of an approved urban renewal land disposition agreement,” (b) if exempted by a post-1976 agreement “which provides for the owner to pay a negotiated sum in lieu of tax” and (c) if structures or facilities are limited distribution partnerships or are governmentally controlled as to rents. The latter exemption extends not only to housing but to associated commercial facilities. Section 7-504.2 of the Tax-Property article confers a brand new exemption on vacant or underutilized 25-year-old commercial buildings in the downtown business district where developers provide $500,000 in private capital for the renovation of at least 75 percent of the buildings into rental housing.210 Section 7-504.1 of the Tax-Property article confers an exemption on real property of a developer making investments exceeding $50 million in an urban renewal area.211 All these exemptions provide for Board of Estimates rather then City Council approval. Although some are required to be reported to the General Assembly, the amounts surrendered and properties affected are not ascertainable either from Baltimore City budget documents or Baltimore City ordinances. This is an invitation to waste and corruption.

    Proposals recently adopted by the General Assembly allow unlimited ad hoc exemptions with respect to all investments of $10 million or more in virtually all parts of the city: an institutionalized exemption for “fat cat” campaign contributors. The owner of a Vietnamese luncheonette improving her property with a $50,000 investment gets no exemption; that privilege is reserved for hotel developers who are household names. Unlike the tax-increment districts provided in Chicago, these ad hoc agreements reduce the pre-existing tax base, are not time-limited, discriminate as between persons, and are not publicly visible. For practical purposes, Baltimore City does not have a general property tax which recaptures, either immediately or in the future, the value gains resulting from publicly subsidized projects. Whoever benefits from these, the public fisc does not. Too much of the city’s and state’s economic-development incentives take the form of gifts and grants. Many southern states, by contrast, instead provide new industries with manpower training assistance which, instead of depleting the tax bases, adds value in the form of enhanced skills for local citizens.

    Income Tax Reform

    Other aspects of taxation also require adjustment. The state income tax since its revision in the late 1960s has cast a heavier and heavier burden on the city’s low-income residents by reason of the failure to adjust personal exemptions. The 1998 legislature partly restored the value of exemptions to the state income tax, but not as to the 50 percent piggyback tax (the local income tax pegged at a certain percentage of the state income tax, 50 percent in Baltimore’s case). By 1992, Baltimore City’s working families – those with household income between $25,000 and $50,000 – were paying 16.23 percent of income in combined state and local taxes of all sorts. This represented the fifth-highest tax burden proportional to income of any of the 50 largest cities in the nation.212

    Fully restoring the value of exemptions for moderate-income Baltimoreans will require a small rate increase in the higher brackets. The 1998 state tax legislation also provided a complicated earned-income credit which in all probability will be claimed by only a small portion of eligible persons. A superior approach would have been a state counterpart of the new federal family tax credit. The city’s delegation to Annapolis should lobby heavily to bring about the measures outlined above, if necessary as pertaining solely to the city and not the other 23 subdivisions in the state.

    Business Tax Reform

    State unemployment taxes burden low-wage workers, since the wage base to which the tax is applicable is capped at $8,500, notwithstanding that benefits are payable in far higher annual amounts, computed on far higher wages.

    The state’s corporate income and property taxes heavily burden manufacturing industry, and thus jurisdictions like Baltimore City with concentrations of manufacturing industry. Service businesses can readily avoid the income tax by paying out profits as salaries, since they do not need to retain earnings to improve plant, and such businesses own little property. Few American jurisdictions have as yet emulated New Hampshire which has imposed a small business enterprise tax, in effect an income value added tax (VAT), at a low initial rate of 0.25 percent of gross receipts to shift the burden of taxation toward service industries. Again, the city’s delegation in Annapolis should make such reforms a focus of concerted action.

    Sin Taxes

    A disproportionate amount of the state’s lottery revenues and alcoholic beverage taxes are raised in Baltimore City. Except for a brief period of two years in the early 1980s when Lotto revenues were returned to the subdivisions of origin, the yield of these “sin taxes” is entirely state revenue. Its redistribution to the originating subdivisions would make possible the elimination or reduction of some of the more arbitrary and undependable grants to the city now made by state government. If Baltimore residents are foolish enough to purchase lottery tickets in quantities disproportionate to their numbers in Maryland, they should at least profit disproportionately by the resulting revenue to the state.

    Correction of these anomalies, in the interest of the city, its industries and its citizens is an appropriate redistributive agenda which should be pursued by the city’s representatives and lobbyists ahead of future demands for state and metropolitan area assistance.

    Political Reform

    Given its penchant for top-down management, it is not surprising that Baltimore has one of the most centralized municipal governments in the United States though, to be fair, this is in part a statewide phenomenon in Maryland. A recent study, co-produced by the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Greater Baltimore Alliance business groups, revealed that the Baltimore metropolitan area had 2.8 units of local government per 100,000 population,213 fewer than in any of the other 19 metro areas examined by the report.214 It needs to be added that this is not in any way indicative of government efficiency but, rather, of an extraordinary degree of government centralization in the Baltimore area. As to Baltimore City proper, no mayoralty enjoys more authority than Baltimore’s. The city council, large as it is, has very limited independence. It cannot originate budget proposals and can only cut the mayor’s budget, not augment it. Additionally, the city is without a truly independent comptroller, which has the effect of increasing the centralization of government by rendering unlikely a thoroughgoing look at the books.

    City Council

    At present, Baltimore’s city council consists of 18 members, elected from six three-member districts, each with a population of more than 100,000. These constituencies are comparable in size to those of the Maryland General Assembly and the national legislatures of Germany and Spain; they are larger than the constituencies of the French National Assembly and British House of Commons. (For the latter, the size of constituencies was set in 1949 at approximately 65,000, though the average size has increased since then.)215 For a municipal council, districts the size of Baltimore’s are absurd. A comparison of Baltimore’s districts with some national legislative districts, and with Maryland’s General Assembly districts, is shown in figure 3.216

    The effect of Baltimore’s huge constituencies is to render difficult or impossible “shoe-leather” campaigning, to devalue local reputation and to require either attachment to an existing political organization or fund-raising from special interests in order to attain office. The effect also is to demand of councilmen a range of local knowledge that renders them ineffective as neighborhood representatives. A further effect is to limit or destroy the representation of racial, ethnic or political minorities. There has been no Republican member of the council since the 1930s.

    There are several possible approaches to eliminating the present “democratic deficit”:

    First, proportional representation in local elections would assure the presence of an opposition party as a check upon the political majority.

    Second, there may well be a case for an indirectly elected council of 18 or 20 members, appointed by the officers of neighborhood associations newly empowered as described herein. So long as the delegates were not popularly elected, reapportionment decisions would not apply,217 making possible the use of permanent neighborhood boundaries. Democratic control would be maintained through popular election of neighborhood officers and councils, whose functions would gradually eclipse in importance those of the citywide council.

    Third, an alternative model would use fixed neighborhood boundaries and popular election of delegates. Weighted voting by delegates could be used to assure compliance with reapportionment decisions.

    Fourth, the easiest model to implement would leave the present council, or something like it, in place, but would devolve control of infrastructure-related functions to a blanket of business and neighborhood improvement districts, like the Downtown, Midtown and Charles Village districts. So long as the latter were not accorded general legislative or police powers, their franchise could be restricted to favor property owners without posing any constitutional problem. The umbrella, citywide council could concern itself with those issues not expressly devolved to the sub-municipal districts.

    Very small units of government, such as those advocated herein, are not without their critics. An objection noted by James Madison in The Federalist, No. 10 is that “only if the tasks of basic units are very limited can small communes provide a sufficient basis for their recruitment.”218 This is a legitimate concern. However, what is known as “co-optation” can provide a means of acquiring necessary talent. Several European countries including Britain, Germany,219 Sweden and The Netherlands allow co-optation of members by committees of local councils.220 It has been suggested that functional representation of such bodies as universities, churches and charities might be appropriate at the sub-local level. This is provided in two of Baltimore’s improvement districts, the Downtown Partnership and Midtown Benefits District,221 though such provision does not apply to the Charles Village district.

    The use of co-opted members appointed by an elected council is a method once employed in both Britain and Germany to improve the quality of municipal councils. Such members can be either voting or non-voting, but it is important if this device is used that former council members not be eligible for appointment. British parish councils until 1972 were still permitted to co-opt persons not parish councilors as chairmen; this was often done.222 Members may still be co-opted to committees, though not to the chair, but co-opted members cannot vote unless the committee relates to management of land, management of a festival, tourist promotion or a harbor authority. Committees may not be used to deal with loans, taxes or lotteries.223

    City Auditor

    Baltimore, like most American cities, lacks a truly independent auditor, the comptroller being frequently elected on the same ticket as the mayor or being the product of the same political interests. The last comptroller but two was found to be seriously corrupt; the last one was supported by then-Mayor Schmoke in order to prevent the election of a truly detached candidate, former state Senator Julian L. Lapides (D).

    An effective and independent audit system is a necessary accompaniment to the decentralization of government proposed here. The city charter should be amended to provide for either (a) selection of the comptroller by a special commission similar to that used for the state prosecutor or (b) state audits (either periodically or on demand of a specified number of citizens). The recent loud protests of the city administration against the possibility that the municipal Department of Housing and Community Development might be subject to federal audit was significant and revealing.224 An equally therapeutic effect might result if other city agencies were periodically threatened with the same sort of examination.

    The importance of independent audits where power is devolved to neighborhood units cannot be overemphasized. Residential community associations have been successful because annual outside audits are required by statute. Large neighborhood school districts in New York and Chicago failed because of both excessive size and corruption resulting from inadequate audit provisions. Colonial Massachusetts audited the accounts of town committees and treasurers.225 Prewar Danish communes required audits by two auditors and by the Union of Danish Towns, and approval of accounts by the county council.226 British parish councils are subject to annual audit by the district councils within whose boundaries they fall.227 The French communes are annually audited by a Court of Accounts.228 In his early book on grants in aid, Sidney Webb described the earliest stage of supervision of local government by saying, “It was desirable that there should be, at any rate, some external audit of local government accounts, and that some external approval should be required before the members of a local government body were permitted, not merely to spend the rates paid by those who elected the [councilors], but also to embark on enterprises mortgaging the future.” The absence of superior audits was described as “the anarchy of local autonomy,” which was said by the Webbs to have “given the United States the worst local government of any country claiming to be civilized.”229 De Tocqueville in his time also suggested that “the authority which represents the State ought not … to waive the right of inspecting the local administration, even when it does not interfere more actively.”230

    American local government is characteristically audited by elected officers who are not infrequently part of the same political organization as those being audited. RCAs, by contrast, are characteristically subject to the requirement of an outside private audit. These devices might perhaps be supplemented by provisions giving a specified number of electors of an RCA or sub-local government the right to request a municipal audit.

    VI. Conclusion

    This review describes a variety of ways in which Baltimore City has failed to help itself, or to provide the means for its citizens to organize to help themselves. This record of failure is in part a product of a bias toward top-down, paternalistic government. It is abetted by pressure groups stressing a toxic compound of radical egalitarianism in economics and radical hedonism in personal behavior. It is also in part the product of a more traditional and understandable demand for municipal patronage by leaders of a new African-American majority previously excluded from it. For black leaders, the difficulty is that municipalities, Baltimore included, can no longer afford to follow the practices prevalent during the periods of boss rule by other ethnic groups.

    Municipal corruption and inefficiency had little immediate consequence in the early 20th century. Railroads and ports were labor-intensive and the facts of geography and of high transportation costs kept them in business. The economy of cities was largely a heavy-manufacturing economy, involving huge, expensive and immobile work places. Today ports and railroads employ few, the significance of manufacturing has greatly diminished, and the economy of cities rests heavily on service industries which can readily flee and are doing so with speed and enthusiasm. The banquet has indeed been removed as new groups approach the table, but many among their leaders are insisting on dining sumptuously nonetheless.

    Despite secretly held wishes to the contrary, “regionalism” is no way out of the dilemma. Whatever lip service is politely paid to the concept in Towson, Bel Air, Ellicott City and the other seats of government of the surrounding counties, regionalism is a non-starter so long as Baltimore has nothing positive to offer in return. The city is aware of this, and thus couches its arguments for regionalism in the form of negative threats: If regionalism does not come about, we’ll slip even further down the tubes, dragging the counties with us. This sort of logic may play well in the editorial office at the Baltimore Sun, but it is unlikely to find many takers in the newly minted developments in the suburbs – populated as they are largely with people who left the city because they could no longer tolerate it. A Baltimore that flatly refuses to help itself can scarcely expect others to come to its rescue.

    Nor does the state benefit if its mobile middle classes are driven ever further into the hinterlands in their efforts to escape large, incompetent governments: Agglomeration economies are a cultural and material benefit that has already been impaired by the suburbanization of America. Metropolitan government has not been found to be a panacea abroad. Efforts to have Paris contribute to its poorer suburbs failed. Metropolitan governments in Barcelona, Copenhagen and Rotterdam have been dissolved. Redistributive concerns are best addressed in the local-aid formulas of higher governments, not through mergers making local government more remote, inefficient and impervious to citizen control.

    The proposals detailed within this essay offer a way out. First, these suggestions, once implemented, would increase Baltimore’s self-sufficiency by cutting costs and enhancing the attractiveness of the city to the middle classes. Second, a Baltimore composed of thriving, cost-conscious, semi-autonomous special districts would find itself in a far stronger position from which to approach the counties with suggestions about regionwide policies; the mayor could approach the county executives from something akin to a position of equality, rather than as a supplicant with hand outstretched.

    Any program to reverse Baltimore’s decline is necessarily a work of years. It should consist of the following specific measures. First, to lay the groundwork for everything to follow, citywide statutory authorization for the creation of business and neighborhood improvement districts is essential. Articles 23A (§ 49-51), 24 (§ 9-1301) and 41 (§ 14-201ff) of the Maryland Code should be extended to Baltimore City to allow formation within the city of special taxing districts and tax-increment districts and to allow the city to contract for delivery of ordinary municipal services by such districts as well as by existing community associations and special districts. The sub-local effort would in time largely supplant citywide service delivery, not merely supplement it. There is every reason to suppose a reduction in costs to taxpayers, given the sub-localities’ ability to use non-union labor and to marshal volunteer forces.

    In terms of street organization, there should be an immediate enactment of an ordinance allowing street abutters to petition for traffic-calming or street acquisition modeled after the St. Louis ordinance. A thorough review should be conducted with a view toward possible street closings. Neighborhood and block organizations should be permitted to purchase and manage sections streets either closed, traffic-calmed or redesigned to incorporate dual pedestrian/ vehicular usage, as with the Dutch woonerf model.

    As for land assembly, the city should enact an ordinance providing for the creation of land-readjustment associations at the block or neighborhood level. This would greatly lessen the land-assembly difficulties that hinder urban redevelopment today. This should be coupled with zoning reform, providing for mixed residential and commercial zoning, ending the artificial segregation that exists today.

    To improve transportation within the city, the General Assembly should end the taxicab medallion system, by amending § 10-202 of the Maryland Code‘s Public Utility Companies article. It should encourage alternative forms of transportation by allowing van transportation provided or organized by community associations within the city. Currently, the Maryland Code at article 23A, § 44 allows formation within municipalities of special taxing districts to administer ride sharing and bus systems, parking facilities, pedestrian malls and commercial-district management authorities approved by municipalities. This provision does not extend to Baltimore. It should be thus extended, with a provision specifically authorizing RCAs to become involved in transportation through ride-sharing and the provision of bus and van services.

    Crime remains an issue of the utmost importance in Baltimore. The city should do all in its power to encourage citizen involvement in the law-enforcement process, through assistance to neighborhood security patrols, establishment of neighborhood law-enforcement newspapers, training in firearms safety and cooperation with law enforcement, and devolution of parking enforcement and provision of school crossing guards.

    In regard to human services, Baltimore’s traditionally heavy-handed and bureaucratic approach should give way to sensible policies involving volunteers “from cradle to grave” so to speak – by discouraging the warrantless professionalization of basic social services and instead encouraging neighborhood service provision resting on a cadre of volunteers. This should apply to child care, youth services, elder care, and adult and juvenile probation. On a related theme, the money the city currently spends on divisive advocacy and legal groups should be redirected in its entirety to non-political citizen-advice offices, as in the U.K.

    These measures will not solve all of Baltimore’s problems. They will, however, give the city a story to tell: It will have an adequate and flexible system of local transportation and a non-wasteful government, delivering services through small districts which in turn will engage private contractors and volunteers.

    It will have a system of private land assembly which will encourage development of new “villages” within the city limits; a zoning law encouraging mixed uses, revitalization of commercial and industrial areas, and convenience services for homeowners; and a housing and building code fostering creation of small second units and expanding the affordable housing stock.

    It will have mechanisms for enlarging social capital and enlisting civic participation by a much larger number of its citizens, and it will have broken the professional and bureaucratic monopoly that holds back all of them.

    Vitally, it will have a political system accessible to candidates of moderate means and responsive to neighborhood interests.

    If problems remain, they will no longer be ascribable to inertia by the city. Nor will anyone then seriously propose as a first resort looking for answers to ever larger and more remote governments.

    Appendix I. Proposed Zoning Law

    Section 1. Grant of Power

    For the purpose of promoting health, safety, morals or the general welfare of the community, the legislative body of cities and incorporated villages is hereby empowered to regulate and restrict the height, number of stories and size of buildings and other structures, the density of population, access to light and air, architectural harmony, and the location and use of buildings, structures and land for trade, industry, residence or other purposes, provided, however, that:

    (a) No permit application meeting density and other physical development requirements shall be denied on the basis of the form of housing type (single or multi-family) or housing tenure (owner-occupied, cooperative, condominium or rental) employed.

    (b) Any person may be allowed to reduce any minimum lot size and dimension requirements, providing the following conditions are met:

    (1) The resulting net lot density of the area to be developed, after excluding land on which development is proscribed by state law or regulation (including but not limited to wetlands, critical habitat for threatened species, and flood plains), shall be no greater then the net lot density of the said area without regard to this provision; and

    (2) All lands other than streets, building lots and private recreational areas shall be deeded to a public agency or homeowners’ association simultaneously with the grant of final subdivision approval.

    Section 2. Districts

    For any and all of said purposes the local legislative body may divide the municipality into districts of such number, shape and area as may be deemed best suited to carry out the purposes of this act; and within such districts it may regulate and restrict the erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair or use of buildings, structures or land. All such regulations shall be uniform for each class or kind of building throughout each district, but the regulations in one district may differ from the regulations in other districts, provided that:

    (a) Such districts shall be classified in the order of intensity of use permitted in each district and that any kind of development permitted in a district classified as having less intense use shall be cumulatively permitted in any classified as having greater intensity of use other than an industrial district.

    (b) With respect to land development of 5 acres or more in a residential zone, any ordinance shall permit commercial facilities designed and intended for the use of the residents, not visible from public roads, and occupying up to 5% of the site and offices occupying up to 10% of the site not involving show windows, exterior display advertising or frequent personal visits of persons not employed on the premises, or retail sales.

    (c) No person shall be prevented from constructing in a new development:

    (1) duplex homes; or

    (2) single-family homes containing an accessory unit as defined in Article [insert appropriate provision here], nor shall a person who has been an owner-occupier of a single-family home for a period of one year or more and who continues to be an owner-occupier be precluded from maintaining, for the duration of his occupancy, upon notice to local government, a single accessory apartment complying with housing codes and not involving exterior alterations visible from a street.

    (d) Retail facilities shall be a permitted use on the ground and basement floors of industrial, office and apartment buildings and restaurants on the ground, basement and top floors where there is no separate outdoor entrance and no exterior evidence thereof.

    (e) No residential zone shall exclude community day-care centers providing day care for not more than 15 persons per site.

    (f) With respect to new developments of 5 acres or more, no residential zone shall exclude automobile rental agencies or demand/response transportation facilities.

    (g) Each subdivision shall accord a single density bonus of at least 25% over the otherwise maximum allowable residential density under a local zoning ordinance where a developer of housing, by binding agreement tendered to the local subdivision and the Commissioner of Housing and Community Development, agrees to construct at least 25% of the units of a housing development for households of limited income as defined in Article [insert appropriate provision here].

    (h) No regulation may infringe on the right of any resident to use a minor portion of a dwelling for gainful employment that does not change the character of the surrounding residential area, does not include show windows, exterior display advertising or frequent personal visits of persons not employed on the premises, or retail sales.

    (i) No regulation relating to zoning shall prohibit a homeowners’, cooperative housing or condominium association, organized pursuant to state law, from:

    (1) Operating, directly or under contract, a retail store having not in excess of 600 square feet and meeting generally applicable health regulations, not accepting deliveries from vehicles in excess of 2 tons in weight, and not displaying signage other than a single unilluminated sign of not more than 2 square feet in area, a community day care facility for not more than 15 persons, or a health clinic, car rental agency, or demand/response transportation facilities for the area served by the association; or

    (2) From authorizing by rule of general applicability the creation of a single accessory apartment within each owner-occupied residence.

    Section 3. Purposes in View

    Such regulations shall be made in accordance with a comprehensive plan and designed to lessen congestion in the streets; to secure safety from fire, panic and other dangers; to promote health and the general welfare; to provide adequate light and air; to prevent the overcrowding of land; to avoid undue concentration or scattering of population; to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks and other public requirements. Such regulations shall be made with reasonable consideration, among other things, to the character of the district and its peculiar suitability for particular uses, and with a view to conserving the value of buildings and encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout such municipality.

    Section 4. Enforcement and Remedies

    The local legislative body may provide by ordinance for the enforcement of this act and of any ordinance and regulation made thereunder. A violation of this act or of such ordinance or regulation is hereby declared to be a misdemeanor, and such local legislative body may provide for the punishment thereof by fine or imprisonment or both. It is also empowered to provide civil remedies for such violation. Any developer denied local government permission pursuant to a local restriction the imposition of which is placed beyond local government authority by sections 1 or 2 of this act may appeal the denial of development permission upon such ground or bring an appropriate action to require issuance of a permit, or may develop without regard to such unauthorized local restriction and any unauthorized restriction imposed on a developer shall be void and unenforceable.

    Appendix II. Proposed Land Readjustment Law

    Section 1. Organization

    The owners of 25% of the privately owned land area and representing 25% of the assessed values of all the property within an area designated for such purpose and within any incorporated municipality may file a petition for organization of a Land Readjustment District.

    Section 2. Contents of Petition

    The petition shall include: (a) the names of the petitioners, the area in square feet of land held by each, and the assessed valuation of the land held by each, (b) the exact proposed boundaries of the district, and a map of such boundaries, (c) the names of the recorded owners of each parcel of land within the district, the area in square feet of land held by each, and the assessed valuation of the land held by each, and (d) a certificate from the municipal planning department, or, if none such exists, the clerk of the municipal council, that the boundaries of the proposed district do not overlap any existing Land Readjustment District.

    Section 3. Notice of Petition

    A copy of the petition shall be sent by both certified and ordinary first-class mail to each owner identified in it and a copy shall be sent to each municipal department required by statute to receive notice of zoning special exception proceedings, giving all such persons 60 days’ notice of the right to file objections with the clerk of the municipal council. Notice of the petition and right to object shall also be posted within the district in the same fashion required in zoning special exception proceedings and shall be published at least once in a journal of general circulation utilized for the publication of such notices. Civic organizations, legal services organizations and organizations representing tenant interests may by special or blanket requests require notice to them of Land Readjustment District petitions. Where an owner or owners are unknown, a copy of the petition shall be filed in the Circuit Court which shall forthwith appoint a guardian or attorney for unknown property owners following the procedures set forth for such appointments in eminent domain proceedings, with the right to file objections.

    Section 4. Disposition of Objections

    Any objector who shall have been an owner-occupier of property within the proposed district and who shall request to be excluded if the district is created shall be excluded from the boundaries of the proposed district. The municipal council shall provide for a legislative hearing of objections, and shall consider whether the district shall be created notwithstanding the objections. In considering whether to create a district, the council shall consider whether sufficient consensus exists to render the district successful, whether the interests of objecting owners are so exceptional and divergent that fairness requires their exclusion, and whether redevelopment of the district will unduly burden municipal services, including services to tenants. The council may approve or disapprove a proposed district or conditionally approve a district upon reduction of its boundaries. Its determination shall not be subject to judicial review unless arbitrary or capricious. The costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, of any unsuccessful review proceeding shall be taxed against the objector. Such proceeding shall be determined under expedited procedures within 30 days of its filing, and no stay or injunction pending appeal shall be entered except upon a determination of probable success of the appeal by the appellate court.

    Section 5. Organization of District

    Upon approval of a proposed district by the municipal council, or upon fulfillment of the conditions set forth in a conditional approval, the petitioners shall secure the signatures on the petition of such additional owners as are necessary to secure the assent of owners of two-thirds of the land area and the assessed value in the proposed district. Owner-occupiers electing to be excluded from the district shall be excluded from both the numerator and denominator of this calculation. Upon presentation of a petition meeting this requirement, the clerk of the council shall issue a Certificate of Organization to the district, and shall give to all owners within the district 30 days’ notice of an organization meeting at a time and place within or convenient to the district.

    Section 6. Conduct of Meetings

    At the organization and all subsequent meetings, the owners of at least 50% in area and assessed value of the district shall constitute a quorum. At the initial meeting, a person designated by the council but not a member thereof shall preside, and the owners shall elect a chairman, secretary and treasurer, who shall initially serve for terms of three, two and one year, respectively, and who shall be members of the board of directors, and three additional directors, who shall serve for initial terms of three, two and one year. The owners may elect to dispense with the election of additional directors, in which case the officers shall constitute the board. Upon expiration of initial terms, the officers and directors (if any) shall be elected for three-year terms. Remaining board members shall fill any vacancies until the next annual meeting, when a successor shall be elected for the unexpired term.

    Section 7. Assessment Roll

    The municipal council may, by statute, designate areas of the municipality in which the creation of Land Readjustment Districts will be considered, such statutes to be effective for periods of not more than three years. The agency conducting property-tax assessments shall, with respect to any assessment conducted within such three-year period, give notice on assessment notices to property owners within the designated areas that the resulting assessments may be made the basis of pooling for Land Readjustment District purposes and that they will be estopped from challenging the fairness of assessments in land readjustment proceedings if the assessment is accepted for tax purposes. On request, the agency conducting tax assessments shall make available to any owner the assessments of other properties on the same block. When conducting assessments in areas of the municipality designated as areas in which Land Readjustment Petitions may be considered, the agency conducting tax assessments shall make special effort to secure uniformity of assessment methods within city blocks, including the use of the same assessor or assessment team for all properties within a block. Where the special notice has not been given, upon grant of a Certificate of Organization, the land within a Land Reorganization District shall be reassessed, upon giving of the notice, utilizing such special efforts. The results of such a special reassessment outside the normal assessment cycle shall not be utilized for tax assessment purposes.

    Section 8. Oath of Directors

    Each director shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths that he will impartially perform the duties devolving upon him.

    Section 9. Plan of Redevelopment

    The directors shall adopt a Plan of Redevelopment. The Plan may provide for the demolition or reconstruction of some or all the buildings within the district, and for the use of some or all of the land within the district for the purpose of erecting new buildings. The Plan shall include evidence of lack of necessity of any public streets or public easements which are to be vacated or abandoned. The Plan shall describe the old and new configurations of buildings and land uses, and shall contain a budget, a traffic study, a completion schedule, and a description of the basis of profit allocation and of any proposed continuing activities of the District. The directors may designate an operating officer, who need not be an owner within the district, to carry out the Plan of Redevelopment.

    Section 10. Relationship of Plan to Zoning and Subdivision Laws

    A Land Readjustment District Plan for property zoned for residential use shall not be disapproved because it contains provisions allowing the following: (a) accessory or duplex apartments in structures where one of the units is owner-occupied, (b) retail stores on the ground floor of units or restaurants on the ground or top floor of units for the convenience of residents whose floor area does not exceed 1,250 square feet, (c) home offices not generating traffic, or professional or business offices whose square footage does not exceed 10% of the total square footage of the District, (d) child and elderly day care centers, (e) meeting rooms for community organizations and health clinics, and (f) elementary schools, public or private. Approval of a Plan shall operate as an amendment of inconsistent zoning and subdivision requirements relating to setbacks, front and side yards, street access and minimum lot sizes; however, a Plan shall not increase overall allowable density of the District absent express amendment of zoning regulations to allow such greater density.

    Section 11. Compensation of Owners

    The Plan of Redevelopment shall specify the means by which owners shall be compensated. The Plan may provide for either the issuance of shares in the Land Readjustment District or the distribution in kind of redeveloped land accompanied by monetary adjustments. Upon preparation of the Plan, 30 days’ notice of a meeting of owners to consider it shall be given as provided in Section 3 above. The Plan shall be effective 30 days after its approval at such a meeting. Upon approval, it shall within 3 days be transmitted to the planning department and the municipal council; the council may by action within 30 days of approval suspend its effectiveness. In the event the Plan is not suspended, it shall forthwith be recorded on the land records.

    Section 12. Rights of Dissenters

    Any owner within the Land Readjustment District dissenting from adoption of the Plan by vote at the adoption meeting may, by notice given within 30 days of such meeting, demand payment for his property in cash. Upon such demand which shall be irrevocable, within 60 days thereof, the Land Readjustment District must either: (a) pay such owner in cash the value of his property as determined by the assessment provided for in Section 7, liens to be first paid in the order of their priority, or (b) deliver to such owner subject to the rights of lienholders shares in the District reflecting the pro rata value of his property to the total value of the District, and pay to such owner (and/or lienholders) in cash the amount by which the then current market value of the shares falls short of the assessed value of the property. If such payment is not made, the land shall thereafter be deemed excluded from the Land Readjustment District. Until payment is made, the District shall not enter upon, deny access to, or take any other action relating to the dissenting owner’s land. Upon such payment, the property shall belong to the District, and the landowner may challenge the adequacy of compensation by the procedures applicable to “quick-take” eminent domain proceedings. In any hearing relating to the adequacy of compensation, the trier of fact shall consider the notice to and rights of the landowner conferred by Section 7 above, and compensation shall be determined without regard to the creation of a Land Readjustment District or the adoption of a Land Readjustment Plan, except that the value of shares paid as compensation shall be determined at their market value. Evidence is admissible on the unsanitary, unsafe or substandard condition of premises, their illegal use and the enhancement of rentals from such illegal use.

    Section 13. Private Lienholders

    The rights of lienholders, other than municipal and state agencies, shall be unaffected by the creation of a Land Readjustment District or the adoption of a Land Readjustment Plan. The lien of any creditor shall attach to the owner’s interest in the Land Readjustment District. In the event of any default by an owner with respect to a lien on land within a Land Readjustment District whose Plan is recorded on the land records, the creditor shall be obliged to give the District the same notice given the owner, and the District may elect to cure the default within any contractual or statutory cure period by making the required payments, which shall be charged against the owner’s share in the District so as to reduce such share by the amount of such payment together with interest at the legal rate thereon. In the event of any non-monetary default resulting from proposed alteration, demolition, construction or new financing, the District may negotiate with the creditor arrangements for substituted rights, including the provision to the creditor of shares in the District, pro rata to its lien, which shall pro rata reduce the share of the owner; an agreed payment or payment stream to the creditor for its lien, which, together with interest at the legal rate, shall be charged against the interest of the owner; a payment to the creditor for its waiver or consent, which, together with interest at the legal rate, shall be charged against the interest of the owner; or a governmental guarantee of payment of the lien. In the absence of such negotiated arrangements, the creditor may enforce its rights against the owner under applicable law.

    Section 14. Municipal and State Liens

    The liens of municipal and state agencies, upon effectiveness of a Plan, shall attach to the owner’s interest in the District, and shall not be enforced against the owner’s property, unless and until property is revested in him upon execution of the Plan. The municipality may, by ordinance, waive liens attaching to a land readjustment project or exchange such liens for shares therein approved by a District board and by a vote of owners where it determines that doing so is in the public interest.

    Section 15. Rights of Tenants

    Upon effectiveness of a Plan, tenants shall have only such rights of tenure as they had with respect to the owner of the property leased by them. The District shall have the right to bring any applicable action for eviction or possession, or to exercise any right of termination possessed by the owner. In the event that the District seeks to terminate an unexpired lease, it shall have the rights of a public authority, if any, seeking to terminate an unexpired lease in eminent domain proceedings undertaken for the purpose of urban redevelopment, including, where applicable, any “quick-take” procedure. Any exercise of such rights shall be subject to any requirements of relocation payments to tenants whose leases are terminated under eminent domain, and any payments for the value of a tenancy or for relocation shall be charged against the owner’s share in the District, together with legal interest thereon. The District may lease or continue to lease any property after the effective date of a Plan, and any rents from the effective date until the revesting of property in the owner shall be collected by or inure to the benefit of the District.

    Section 16. Municipal Property

    A Plan may provide for inclusion in it of property under municipal ownership. In such event, the interest of the municipality in the District shall be pro rata to the assessed valuation of the property contributed by it, unless the municipality waives compensation for its interest in order to facilitate the land- readjustment project; the waiver may be conditional upon covenants requiring completion of the Plan by a specified date.

    Section 17. Street Closings

    A Plan may provide for the complete or partial closing of one or more streets. In the event such a Plan is adopted, the value, if any, of the street bed, shall be deemed to belong to the District and not the previous abutting owners. A Plan proposing the complete or partial closing of any street shall be submitted to the municipal agency responsible for transit and traffic concurrently with its filing with the municipal council; such agency shall make its report to the municipal council sufficiently far in advance of the expiration of the 30-day period provided for municipal council disapproval in Section 11 to allow council action if such is recommended. In considering the Plan, the traffic agency shall consider whether the benefits the closing confers on the District are outweighed by inconvenience to substantial amounts of through traffic which cannot be accommodated save by disapproval of the Plan.

    Section 18. Shares in District

    Where a Plan proposes a unified development and the distribution of shares to owners in proportion to their interests less unpaid municipal encumbrances, the board shall have such powers of management as are accorded the boards of business corporations under the state general corporation law and the shareholders shall have the rights of shareholders under such law.

    Section 19. Reallocation of Parcels

    Where a Plan proposes the reallocation of parcels and distribution to owners in kind, the members of the board shall be deemed trustees for the owners, and shall have a fiduciary obligation of impartiality as between them. Upon completion of the plan, parcels shall be distributed to owners in accordance with the Plan. The value of the parcels distributed shall be determined for both allocation and tax purposes by a special reassessment pursuant to Section 7, subject to the appellate remedies provided for tax assessments. Owners whose share of the total property being distributed is less than their share of contributed property as determined pursuant to Section 7 after subtraction of unpaid and unforgiven municipal encumbrances shall be compensated by the District by a payment determined by multiplying the difference in percentages determined under Sections 7 and 19 after subtraction of unpaid and unforgiven municipal encumbrances by the total value determined under Section 19. Owners whose share of the total property being distributed exceeds their share of contributed property as determined under Section 7 shall be assessed a payment, which shall be a lien against their property until paid, determined by multiplying the difference in percentages determined under Sections 7 and 19 after subtraction of unpaid and unforgiven municipal encumbrances by the total value determined under Section 19. In the event of nonpayment of the assessed amount within 30 days, the board shall record a notice of lien upon the land records, and the lien may thereafter be enforced by the board or by the landowner to whom the assessment is to be paid, the board to act for the benefit of the landowner.

    Section 20. Powers and Immunities of Board

    The Board shall have the power to let such contracts as are necessary to carry out the plan; to engage and compensate employees to carry out the plan, including employees engaged under incentive contracts according them a percentage of profits or rents; to sue or be sued; to obtain, at the expense of the District, policies of liability and officers’ and directors’ liability insurance; to borrow, grant District properties as security, buy and sell property, issue bonds, grant mortgages, enter into leases, and to receive grants; to construct, operate and maintain public works and utilities; and do any other things necessary to effectuation of the purposes of the District. The obligations of a District shall be permitted investments for banks and trust companies, local and state agencies, building and loan associations, credit unions and insurance companies, and a District shall be a permitted borrower or grant recipient from state and municipal economic development and housing promotion funds. The District shall not be deemed a public agency for purposes of prevailing wage, competitive bidding, domestic procurement or architectural selection laws.

    Section 21. Assessments

    Following redistribution of property to owners, where a Plan provides for redistribution, the Board shall have authority to levy an annual assessment to pay for necessary administration expenses in connection with the development, execution and protection of the Plan, and where the Plan so provides, for such neighborhood and community services as are not provided by the municipality in which such District is located, such assessment to be a surcharge on property taxes not exceeding that permitted to be imposed by business improvement districts in the municipality. The said assessments shall be collected by the finance department of the municipality in accordance with the provisions governing collection of property taxes, and shall be remitted to the Land Readjustment District imposing the assessment.

    Section 22. Exemptions from Taxation

    The transfer of land under a Land Readjustment Plan, whether to a Land Readjustment District or upon reallocation to owners, shall be exempt from any state or municipal transfer or recordation tax. Land Readjustment Districts shall be exempt from corporate income tax, and from state and local property taxes during the active execution of the Plan.

    Section 23. Audits

    Accounts of each District shall be annually audited by an independent public accountant, and shall be audited on a regular schedule by the municipal auditor.

    End Notes

    [Top] 1. Liz Atwood, “Growth Outside City Booms,” (Baltimore) Sun, March 30, 2000, p. 1A.

    [Top] 2. David Rusk, Baltimore Unbound: Creating a Greater Baltimore Region for the Twenty-First Century (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995). Compare this to Samuel Staley, “Bigger Is not Better: The Virtues of Decentralized Local Government,” Cato Institute Policy Analysis, No. 166, January 21, 1992.

    [Top] 3. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1997 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, October 1997), p. 318, table 501.

    [Top] 4. Walter Lee Dozier, “State Direct Aid Formula Needs Revision to Help Counties, Carlson Says,” (Montgomery) Gazette, March 31, 2000, p. A-6, quoting state sources.

    [Top] 5. Dozier, “State Direct Aid Formula Needs Revision to Help Counties, Carlson Says,” quoting state sources.

    [Top] 6. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1998 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, October 1998), tables 520 and 521.

    [Top] 7. State of Maryland, Office of Planning, “Baltimore County Demographic and Socio-Economic Outlook” and “Baltimore City Demographic and Socio-Economic Outlook,” Internet site (http://www.op.state.md.us/MSDC/index.html), downloaded February 8, 2000.

    [Top] 8. See Baltimore County Budget, 1999.

    [Top] 9. Gerard Shields, “Fuel Tank Problems Could Cost $250,000,” (Baltimore) Sun, January 21, 1999, p. 3B; Shields, “City to Pay Fine for not Fixing Gasoline Tanks,” Sun, March 18, 1999, p. 3B.

    [Top] 10. State of Maryland, General Assembly, Department of Fiscal Services (DFS), Local Government Fiscal and Social Indicators: Summary Analysis (Annapolis, Md.: DFS, February 1997), pp. 51 and 55.

    [Top] 11. Stephen Goldsmith, The Twenty-First Century City: Resurrecting Urban America (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 1997), pp. 47-49.

    [Top] 12. Jeffrey Raymond, “O’Malley: ‘We Need to Come up with Some More Money,'” (Baltimore) Daily Record, March 30, 2000, p. 7A.

    [Top] 13. Goldsmith, Twenty-First Century City, pp. 50-51.

    [Top] 14. Yellow Book USA, Inc., The One Book: Metropolitan Baltimore Yellow Pages, 1998-99, pp. 824-829.

    [Top] 15. Goldsmith, Twenty-First Century City, p. 26.

    [Top] 16. Gerard Shields, “City Finances Are Unspoken Issue,” (Baltimore) Sun, September 2, 1999, p. 1A.

    [Top] 17. See for instance Baltimore City Code, Article 1, § 253ff relating to the Charles Village Community Benefits District and the Baltimore City Charter, Article II(61)(a)(2) as to the Downtown Partnership.

    [Top] 18. See D. Kennedy, “Business Improvement Districts,” Yale Law and Policy Review, Vol. 15, No. 245, 1990, p. 290, n. 61, listing the 40 statutes in other states. See also R. Briffault, “A Government for Our Time: Business Improvement Districts and Urban Governance,” Columbia Law Review, Vol. 99, No. 365, 1999, p. 368, n. 7.

    [Top] 19. City of Baltimore, Ordinance No. 414, 1994, Art. 1, § 253(L).

    [Top] 20. U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, ACIR-RCA, Residential Community Associations (Washington, D.C.: ACIR, 1989), pp. 4, 11, 12, 21. (Hereinafter cited as ACIR-RCA.)

    [Top] 21. E. Savas, The Organization and Efficiency of Solid Waste Collection (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1977).

    [Top] 22. See N.J. Code, ch. 40:67-23.2, 1993 New Jersey Laws 6.

    [Top] 23. R. Dahl, After the Revolution (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1990), p. 126, citing studies collected in R. Dahl, “The City in the Future of Democracy,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 61, No. 953, 1997, p. 966, n. 14.

    [Top] 24. Goldsmith, Twenty-First Century City, pp. 34-35.

    [Top] 25. Goldsmith, Twenty-First Century City, pp. 18-19.

    [Top] 26. S. McManus, “Decentralizing Expenditures,” in R. Bennett (ed.), Decentralization, Local Government and Markets (Oxford U.K.: Clarendon, 1990), p. 167.

    [Top] 27. Goldsmith, Twenty-First Century City, p. 21.

    [Top] 28. Goldsmith, Twenty-First Century City, p. 123.

    [Top] 29. These privatization initiatives are described on the City of Chicago’s Internet site (http://www.ci.chi.il.us).

    [Top] 30. R.J. Oakerson, “Residential Community Associations: Further Differentiating the Organization of Local Public Economies,” in ACIR-RCA, p. 107.

    [Top] 31. City of Baltimore and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Memorandum of Understanding for Fiscal Years 1998-1999.

    [Top] 32. City of Baltimore and City Union of Baltimore, Memorandum of Understanding, Fiscal Years 1998-1999.

    [Top] 33. D. Mueller, The Public Choice Approach to Politics (Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar, 1993), p. 91.

    [Top] 34. D. Rowat (ed.), International Handbook on Local Government Reorganization (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1980), p. 330.

    [Top] 35. F. Foldvary, Public Goods and Private Communities: The Market Provision of Social Services (Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar, 1994), p. 25.

    [Top] 36. Foldvary, Public Goods and Private Communities, p. 48. See also H. Demsetz, “The Exchange and Enforcement of Property Rights,” Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 7, No. 11, 1964.

    [Top] 37. D. Boudreaux and R. Holcombe, “Government by Contract,” Public Finance Quarterly, Vol. 17 , No. 264, 1989.

    [Top] 38. See article 23A, §§ 49-51 of the Maryland Code, enacted in 1995.

    [Top] 39. See Article 23A, § 2 of the Maryland Code.

    [Top] 40. See Article 23A, § 44 of the Maryland Code.

    [Top] 41. See Article 41, § 14-201ff of the Maryland Code.

    [Top] 42. City of Chicago, “Review of Tax Increment Financing in the City of Chicago,” unpublished document circulated by the municipal government and dated July 1998.

    [Top] 43. H. Harlan, “BDC Chief Seeks New Incentives,” Baltimore Business Journal, December 13, 1999, p. 1.

    [Top] 44. Timothy B. Wheeler, “Bill to Help City Development OK’d,” (Baltimore) Sun, March 30, 2000, p. 2B.

    [Top] 45. P. Hall, Cities in Civilization (New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 743.

    [Top] 46. See Maryland Code, Public Utility Companies Article, § 10-202, applicable to Baltimore City and Baltimore County, requiring consideration of “the number of taxicabs to be used and … the services already available in the locality.”

    [Top] 47. Maryland Code, Transportation Article, § 7-502ff.

    [Top] 48. Maryland Code, Transportation Article, §§ 11-175.1 and 7-101(m).

    [Top] 49. Hall, Cities in Civilization, p. 965, n. 83.

    [Top] 50. R. Bish and H. Nourse, Urban Economics and Policy Analysis (New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1975), pp. 356-57, 376-77, citing (a) E. Kitch et al., “The Regulation of Taxicabs in Chicago,” Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 14, No. 285, 1971, (b) R. Eckert and G. Hilton, “The Jitneys,” Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 15, No. 294, 1972 and (c) R. Farmer, “Whatever Happened to the Jitney?” Traffic Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 263, 1965.

    [Top] 51. See British Local Government and Rating Bill, 1996, clauses 27-31.

    [Top] 52. In England, areas under the sway of the church have been divided into parishes since 7th century (first, the Roman Catholic church and, since 1533, the Anglican church). Parishes as units of civil administration were first created in the 16th century, after the Reformation, at first coextensive with ecclesiastical parishes; since then, the boundaries of civil and ecclesiastical parishes have diverged. See J.P. Kenyon (ed.), The Wordsworth Dictionary of British History (Ware, U.K.: Wordsworth Editions Ltd., 1994), pp. 273-274.

    [Top] 53. Encyclopædia Britannica, “England: Administration and Social Conditions,” Encyclopædia Britannica Internet site (http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/3/0,5716,120053+1,00.html), downloaded March 22, 2000.

    [Top] 54. The metropolitan counties were abolished in 1986 and their functions devolved to lower levels of government. They were: Greater London (London and environs), Greater Manchester (Manchester and environs), Merseyside (Liverpool and environs), South Yorkshire (Sheffield and environs), Tyne and Wear (Newcastle and environs), West Midlands (Birmingham and environs) and West Yorkshire (Leeds and environs). Encyclopædia Britannica, map at http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/single_image/0,5716,4901+bin%5Fid,00.html, downloaded March 23, 2000. At press time, London was in the process of being reconstituted as a metropolitan county, expecting to hold its first election for metropolitan mayor on May 4, 2000. See George Jones, “Livingstone Ready to Defy Blair and Stand,” (London) Weekly Telegraph, March 1, 2000, p. 13.

    [Top] 55. Civil parishes in Scotland were abolished in 1930. After the Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1973, Scotland was administered by means of three “island authorities” and nine “regions” (which replaced counties and “burghs,” the local spelling of “borough”), divided into 53 district councils. This two-tier system was itself abolished by the Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1994, which created 29 “local authority areas,” which replaced the district councils and which assumed the regions’ administrative responsibilities. The three island councils were retained. See Encyclopædia Britannica, “Scotland: Administration and Social Conditions,” Encyclopædia Britannica Internet site (http:// www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/8/0,5716,120058+1,00.html), downloaded March 22, 2000; also Kenyon, The Wordsworth Dictionary of British History, pp. 273-274.

    [Top] 56. In 1994, Welsh local government was reorganized on the basis of eight counties, divided into 22 sub-county districts. Encyclopædia Britannica, “United Kingdom: Local Government,” Internet site (http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/7/0,5716, 120037+2,00.html), downloaded March 22, 2000.

    [Top] 57. Northern Ireland historically was created from the six northeastern counties of Ireland in 1920. These remain as geographical entities only, having had their place taken in 1973 by 26 sub-county authorities, with which real local power lies. Encyclopædia Britannica, “Northern Ireland: Administration and Social Conditions,” Encyclopædia Britannica Internet site (http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/7/0,5716,128227+1,00.html), downloaded March 22, 2000.

    [Top] 58. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (U.K.) is made up for four constituent parts: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of these, England is by far the largest. Different customs and laws prevail in each. What applies in one does not necessarily apply in the other three.

    [Top] 59. R. McQuire and N. Van Cott, “Public v. Private Activity, A New Look at School Bus Transportation,” Public Choice, Vol. 43, 1984; J. Perry and T. Babitsky, “Comparative Performance in Urban Bus Transit,” Public Administration Review, January-February 1986; E. Marlock and P. Viton, “The Comparative Costs of Public and Private Transit,” in C. Love (ed.), Urban Transit: The Private Challenge to Public Transit (1985), as cited in J. Stiglitz, Economics of the Public Sector, 2nd ed. (New York, N.Y.: Norton, 1988), p. 196.

    [Top] 60. “Parish Voluntary Car Service,” Local Council Review, Summer 1981, p. 56.

    [Top] 61. P. Hare, Making Housing Affordable by Reducing Second Car Ownership (Washington: P. Hare, 1995), a self-published book; P. Hare, “Junking the Clunker,” Western City, October 1992, p. 3.

    [Top] 62. Hall, Cities in Civilization, p. 970, n. 94.

    [Top] 63. Randal O’Toole, “Is Urban Planning ‘Creeping Socialism’?” Independent Review, Vol. IV, No. 4, Spring 2000, pp. 501-516.

    [Top] 64. A. Moudon, “Grids Revisited,” in A. Moudon (ed.), Public Streets for Private Use (New York, N.Y.: Van Nostrand, 1987), p. 148.

    [Top] 65. R. Tolley, Calming Traffic in Residential Areas (London, U.K.: Beffi Press, 1995).

    [Top] 66. D. Appleyard, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Livable Urban Streets (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1970), pp. 249-51.

    [Top] 67. Alan Ehrenhalt, “Could all 21st-Century Politics Be Sub-Local,” Congressional Quarterly Governing, October 1999, Internet version (http://www.governing.com/10assess.htm), downloaded April 5, 2000.

    [Top] 68. C. Hass-Klau, The Pedestrian and City Traffic (London, U.K.: Belhaven Press, 1990), p. 223.

    [Top] 69. Local Government and Rating Bill, 1996, §§ 27-31.

    [Top] 70. K. Kolan, “Neighborhood Councils in the Nordic Countries,” Local Government Studies, Vol. 17, No. 3, 1991, p. 13.

    [Top] 71. J. Kray, “Woonerven and Other Experiments in The Netherlands,” Built Environment, Vol. 12, No. 20, 1986.

    [Top] 72. Tolley, Calming Traffic in Residential Areas.

    [Top] 73. S. Diamond, “Death and Transfiguration of Benefit Taxation,” Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 12, No. 201, 1983; D. Hagman and J. Miscynski, Windfalls for Wipeouts (Chicago, Ill.: American Planning Association, 1978), pp. 311-15, 612-14.

    [Top] 74. Moudon, “Grids Revisited,” p. 148. See also R. Fitzgerald, When Government Goes Private (New York, N.Y.: Universe, 1988).

    [Top] 75. B. Ryan, “Street Vacations,” in Moudon, Public Street for Private Use, pp. 284-85.

    [Top] 76. R. Dilger, Neighborhood Politics (New York, N.Y.: New York University Press, 1992), pp. 28-29.

    [Top] 77. R.J. Oakerson, “Private Street Associations in St. Louis County,” in ACIR-RCA, p. 56.

    [Top] 78. M. Frazier, “Seeding Grass Roots Recovery,” in ACIR-RCA, p. 63.

    [Top] 79. N. Elliott, Streets Ahead (New York, N.Y.: Whitney Library of Design, 1989). See also H.G. Cisneros, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Defensible Space: Deterring Crime and Building Community (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1995), pp. 14-21.

    [Top] 80. L. Mumford, The Culture of Cities (New York, N.Y.: Harcourt, Brace, 1938), p. 472.

    [Top] 81. Hall, Cities in Civilization, p. 633.

    [Top] 82. Hass-Klau, The Pedestrian and City Traffic.

    [Top] 83. Appleyard, Livable Urban Streets.

    [Top] 84. E. Ben-Joseph, “Changing the Residential Street Scene,” Journal of American Planning Association, Autumn 1995.

    [Top] 85. C. Rose, “The Comedy of the Commons,” University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 53, No. 211, 1986, p. 781.

    [Top] 86. Baltimore City Code, Art. 30, § 2.0-12.

    [Top] 87. G.W. Liebmann, “The Modernization of Zoning: Enabling Act Revision as a Means to Reform,” Urban Lawyer, Vol. 23, No. 1, 1991; Liebmann, “Suburban Zoning: Two Modest Proposals,” Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal, Vol. 25, No. 1, 1990.

    [Top] 88. G.W. Liebmann, “A Proposed Revised State Zoning Enabling Law,” in American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Housing America in the Twenty-First Century (New York, N.Y.: ASCE, 1992), p. 91.

    [Top] 89. State of Maryland, Maryland Housing Policy (Hecht) Commission, Report of the Maryland Housing Policy Commission (Annapolis, Md.: State of Maryland, 1990), p. 23.

    [Top] 90. M. Gellen, Accessory Apartments in Single Family Housing (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1987).

    [Top] 91. Hall, Cities in Civilization, pp. 920-31.

    [Top] 92. Daniel P. Henson III, Commissioner, Department of Housing and Community Development, City of Baltimore, in Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, “Vacant and Underutilized Urban Land: Advisory Panel Meeting,” proceedings dated May 16, 1997, p. 8.

    [Top] 93. See W. Fischel, Regulatory Takings (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994), § 2.3 on the difficulties of private land assembly.

    [Top] 94. J. Logan and H. Molotch, Urban Fortunes (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1987), pp. 117-18.

    [Top] 95. American Planning Association (APA), Model Subdivision Regulations (Chicago, Ill.: APA, 1995); 1988 Utah L. Rev. 569; Fla. Stat., ch. 163, part III.

    [Top] 96. The statute was the Loi du 21 Juin 1865 relative aux associations syndicales. See G. Larsson, Land Readjustment: A Modern Approach to Urbanization (Aldershot, U.K.: Avebury, 1993), p. 44ff.

    [Top] 97. Loi d’orientation fonciere du 30 Decembre 1967, div. 3, ch. 1.

    [Top] 98. W. Dawson, Municipal Life and Government in Germany (London, U.K.: Longmans, 1916).

    [Top] 99. W. Doebele (ed.), Land Readjustment: A Different Approach to Financing Urbanization (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1982), p. 177.

    [Top] 100. M. Miyazawa, “Land Readjustment in Japan,” in Doebele, Land Readjustment, p. 91.

    [Top] 101. Miyazawa, “Land Readjustment in Japan,” pp. 92, 98, 124.

    [Top] 102. I. Kim et al., “Land Readjustment in South Korea,” in Doebele, Land Readjustment, p. 127.

    [Top] 103. T. Chou and S. Shen, “Urban Land Readjustment in Kaohsiung, Taiwan,” in Doebele, Land Readjustment, p. 65.

    [Top] 104. R. Archer, “Land Pooling by Local Government for Planned Urban Development in Perth,” in Doebele, Land Readjustment, p. 29.

    [Top] 105. Larsson, Land Readjustment, p. 79.

    [Top] 106. M. Shultz and F. Schmidman, “The Potential Application of Land Readjustment in the United States,” Urban Lawyer, Vol. 22, No. 197, 1990.

    [Top] 107. M. Walker, Urban Blight and Slums (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1938), pp. 192-95, 200-01, 208-10, 216-39; Architects’ Club of Chicago (ACC), Rehabilitating Blighted Areas (Chicago, Ill.: ACC, 1932); National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB), Act for Neighborhood Protective and Improvement Districts (Washington, D.C.: NAREB, 1935); C. Perry, The Rebuilding of Blighted Areas (New York, N.Y.: Regional Planning Association, 1934); A. Holden, “A Basis for Procedure in Slum Clearance,” Architectural Record, Vol. 73, No. 217, 1933; New York Private Housing Finance Code, § 201ff.

    [Top] 108. J. Buchanan and G. Tullock, The Calculus of Consent (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 1965), p. 57.

    [Top] 109. Buchanan and Tullock, The Calculus of Consent, p. 57.

    [Top] 110. R. Nelson, “The Privatization of Local Government,” in ACIR-RCA, p. 49.

    [Top] 111. G.W. Liebmann, Land Readjustment for America: A Proposal for a Statute (Cambridge, Mass.: Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, 1998).

    [Top] 112. J. Haner, “When a Drug Lord is your Landlord,” (Baltimore) Sun, February 14,1999, p. 1A.

    [Top] 113. D. Eastwood, Governing Rural England, 1780-1840 (Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon, 1994), p. 213.

    [Top] 114. Kenyon, The Wordsworth Dictionary of British History, p. 285.

    [Top] 115. B. Disraeli, Coningsby, at pp. 118, 316, quoted in Eastwood, Governing Rural England, p. 265.

    [Top] 116. J. Toulmin Smith, Local Self-Government and Centralization (London, U.K: Chapman, 1851), p. 369.

    [Top] 117. M. Zuckerman, Peaceable Kingdoms (New York, N.Y.: Knopf, 1970), p. 87.

    [Top] 118. Zuckerman, Peaceable Kingdoms, p. 117.

    [Top] 119. Zuckerman, Peaceable Kingdoms, p. 236.

    [Top] 120. Zuckerman, Peaceable Kingdoms, p. 241.

    [Top] 121. 13 Edw. I , Stat. 2 (1285) . In pertinent part , the statute read “in every city, six men shall keep at every gate, in every borough 12 men, every town 6 or 4 according to the number of inhabitants of the town, and shall watch the town continually all night … and if they will not obey the arrest they shall levy the hue and cry upon them and such as keep the town shall follow with hue and cry with all the town, and hue and cry shall be made from town to town … in every hundred or franchise two constables shall be chosen to make the view of armor … view of armor shall be made every year two times … every man between 15 years of age and 60 years shall be assessed and sworn to armor according to the quantity of their lands and goods … they shall follow the cry with the country … the defaults shall be presented by the constables to the justices assigned.”

    [Top] 122. 27 Hen. II (1185).

    [Top] 123. D. Hay and F. Snyder (eds.), Policing and Prosecution in England, 1750-1850 (Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon, 1989). See also M. Greenberg, Auxiliary Police: The Citizen’s Approach to Public Safety (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1984), ch. l.

    [Top] 124. O. Handlin, “Preface,” in R. Lane, Policing the City (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967). See also J. Bryce, American Commonwealth (New York, N.Y.: Macmillan, 1888), pp. 569-70.

    [Top] 125. See ACIR-RCA, the best survey of the incidence and function of such associations.

    [Top] 126. W. Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing, Act IV, Scene 2. On early American constables, see H. Adams, Norman Constables in America (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1883).

    [Top] 127. R. Storch, “Policing Rural England Before the Police,” in Hay and Snyder, Policing and Prosecution in England, p. 212.

    [Top] 128. E. Monkkonen, Police in Urban America, 1860-1920 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1981).

    [Top] 129. J. Skolnick and D. Bayley, “Theme and Variation in Community Policing,” in M. Tonry and N. Morris (eds.), Crime and Justice (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1988), pp. 1-38.

    [Top] 130. On Japanese neighborhood association chairmen serving similar functions for groups of about 30 homes (Bohan Kyokai), see R. Thornton, Preventing Crime in America and Japan (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1992), pp. 61-62; also C. Fenwick, “Law Enforcement, Public Participation and Crime Control in Japan,” American Journal of Police, 1983, pp. 83-109.

    [Top] 131. R. Fogelson, Big City Police (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1977), p. 305. On the Japanese police koban system, said to have been borrowed from German practice during the Meiji restoration, see Thornton, Preventing Crime in America and Japan, pp. 43-45; W. Ames, Police and Community in Japan (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1981), ch. l. See also L. Lambert, “Police Mini-stations in Toronto,” R.C.M.P. Gazette, Vol. 50, No. 6, 1988. On neighborhood patrols, see J. Shapland and J. Vagg, Policing by the Public (London, U.K.: Routledge, 1988); R. Yin et al., U.S. Department of Justice, Citizen Patrol Projects: National Evaluation Program, Phase One Summary Report (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977); S. Smith, Crime, Space and Society (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1986).

    [Top] 132. The Economist, July 25, 1992, p. 25.

    [Top] 133. See L. Johnston, The Rebirth of Private Policing (London, U.K.: Routledge, 1992), pp. 176-77.

    [Top] 134. For a survey of association activities, see G.W. Liebmann, “Devolution of Power to Neighborhood and Block Associations,” in Proceedings of the International Association of Housing Sciences, 1992, pp. 668-94.

    [Top] 135. Monkkonen, Police in Urban America. See also S. Walker, Popular Justice: A History of American Criminal Justice (New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1980), pp. 18-24.

    [Top] 136. Derived from budget data made available by the Charles Village Community Benefits District, Inc.

    [Top] 137. J. Austen, Northanger Abbey, ch. 24.

    [Top] 138. J. Hall, “Legal and Social Aspects of Arrest without a Warrant,” Harvard Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 571, 1936.

    [Top] 139. E. Chadwick, “Preventive Police,” London Review, Vol. 1, No. 285, 1829, quoted in J. Styles, “Print and Policing,” in Hay and Snyder, Policing and Prosecution in England, p. 56. See also P. Pringle, Hue and Cry (London, U.K.: Dobson, 1969).

    [Top] 140. Styles, “Print and Policing,” p. 56.

    [Top] 141. Styles, “Print and Policing,” pp. 94-95. See also A. de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (New York, N.Y.: Knopf, Vintage ed., 1955), p. 99.

    [Top] 142. L. Sherman, “Policing Communities: What Works,” in A. Reiss and M. Tonry (ed.), Communities and Crime (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 351. See also D. Rosenbaum et al., Crime Stoppers: A National Evaluation of Program Operations and Effects (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 1985).

    [Top] 143. K. Carriere and R. Erickson, Crime Stoppers: A Study in the Organization of Community Policing (Toronto, Ont.: Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto, 1989).

    [Top] 144. See D. Rosenbaum, Evaluating Community Crime Prevention (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1986), ch. 13 on present-day anti-crime newsletters. See K. Carrierre, “The Organization of Community: Crime-Time Television,” F.B.I. Law Enforcement Bulletin, Vol. 58, No. 8, 1989; also T. Baxter, “Video Time to Stop Crime,” Law and Order, Vol. 35, No. 9, 1987 on the use of television for criminal apprehension, more common in Europe than in the United States.

    [Top] 145. J. Blue, “High Noon Revisited,” Yale Law Journal, Vol. 101, No. 1475, 1992. Contrast the reference to the posse comitatus in The Federalist, No. 29 (Hamilton): “It would be … absurd to doubt that a right to pass all laws necessary and proper to execute declared powers would include that of requiring the assistance of the citizens to the officers who may be entrusted with the execution of those laws.”

    [Top] 146. J. Wilson, Thinking About Crime (New York, N.Y.: Knopf, Vintage ed., 1985), p. 87. Also F. McChesney, “Government Prohibition of Volunteer Firefighting in 19th Century America,” Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 15, No. 69 , 1976.

    [Top] 147. See R. Ahlbrandt, “Efficiency in the Provision of Fire Services,” Public Choice, No. 16, 1973.

    [Top] 148. Mueller, The Public Choice Approach to Politics, p. 61.

    [Top] 149. See N. Morris and G. Hawkins, Letter to the President on Crime Control (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago, 1971), p. 30.

    [Top] 150. Sherman, “Policing Communities.”

    [Top] 151. W. Skogan, “Community Organizations and Crime,” in Tonry and Morris, Crime and Justice, pp. 39, 68.

    [Top] 152. See O. Newman, Community of Interest (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972); H. Shaftoe et al., “Crime, Design and Management,” in Proceedings of the International Association for Housing Sciences, 1992, pp. 692-703; R. Taylor and S. Gottfredson, “Environmental Design, Crime and Prevention,” in Reiss and Tonry, Communities and Crime, p. 387.

    [Top] 153. H. Summerson, “The Structure of Law Enforcement in Thirteenth Century England,” American Journal of Legal History, Vol. 23, No. 313, 1979.

    [Top] 154. See McChesney, “Government Prohibition of Volunteer Firefighting in 19th Century America” for a discussion of exemption from jury service, militia duty and road taxes.

    [Top] 155. See generally Koven, “Co-Production of Law Enforcement Services,” Urban Affairs Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 457, 1992; Institute for Local Self Government (ILSG), Alternatives to Traditional Public Safety Services (Berkeley, Calif.: ILSG, 1977).

    [Top] 156. Editorial, “Getting Away With Murder,” (Baltimore) Sun, February 14, 1999, p. 3C.

    [Top] 157. New York Times Almanac (New York, N.Y.: Penguin, 1999), p. 323, quoting U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Crime and Justice in the U.S. and England and Wales, 1981-96 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 1999).

    [Top] 158. J. Jacobs, “Exceptions to a General Prohibition,” Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 49, No. 5, 1986, p. 34.

    [Top] 159. D. Kates, “Value of Civilian Arms Possession,” American Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 18, No. 113, 1991, describing such an effort in Florida. For a survey of gun-control studies, see J. Wright, Under the Gun (New York, N.Y.: Aldine, 1990), p. 259, referring to a Dade County, Florida scheme conditioning a purchase permit on completion of a handgun safety and firearms law course. See also G. Kleck and K. McElrath, “Effect of Weaponry on Violence,” Social Forces, Vol. 69, No. 3, 1991, pp. 669-92; C. Bakal, No Right to Bear Arms (New York, N.Y.: Paperback Library, 1968), ch. 13, noting that Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island condition grant of hunting licenses to adults on completion of a firearms safety course, and that the rate of accidental gun deaths in these jurisdictions is about one-third the national rate. Ten other states require courses for minors.

    [Top] 160. Todd Richissin, “Camp Abuse May Move to U.S. Court,” (Baltimore) Sun, March 30, 2000, p. 1B.

    [Top] 161. J. Midgely, Community Participation, Social Development and the State (London, U.K.: Methuen, 1986), p. 130, citing W. Clifford, “Training for Crime Control in the Context of National Development,” International Review of Criminal Policy, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1966.

    [Top] 162. Report of the Departmental Committee on Training, Appointment and Payment of Probation Officers, Cmd. 1601 (London, U.K.: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1922).

    [Top] 163. W. Bolt, Letter, British Journal of Delinquency, Vol. 8, No. 232, 1957.

    [Top] 164. The Place of Voluntary Service in After Care (London, U.K.: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1967).

    [Top] 165. A. Holme and J. Maizels, Social Workers and Volunteers (London, U.K.: Allen and Unwin, 1978).

    [Top] 166. U.K. Home Office, Probation Service in England and Wales: Statement of National Objectives and Priorities (London, U.K.: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1984); U.K. Home Office, Community Work and the Probation Service (London, U.K.: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1991). The earlier history is reviewed in M. Gill and R. Mawby, Volunteers in the Criminal Justice System (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 1990), pp. 30-31.

    [Top] 167. U.K. Home Office, Crime, Justice and Protecting the Public (London, U.K.: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1990); U.K. Home Office, Punishment, Custody and the Community (London, U.K.: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1988).

    [Top] 168. On the U.S., see the various articles in Federal Probation, Vol. 33, No. 41, 1969; Federal Probation, Vol. 34, No. 12, 1970; Federal Probation, Vol. 35, No. 46, 1971; and Federal Probation, Vol. 47, No. 57, 1983.

    [Top] 169. C. Cartledge et al. (eds.), Probation in Europe (Hertogenbosch, Netherlands: European Assembly for Probation and After-Care, 1981), p. 72.

    [Top] 170. Cartledge et al., Probation in Europe, p. 44.

    [Top] 171. H. Becker and E. Hjellemo, Justice in Modern Sweden (Springfield, Ill.: Thomas, 1976).

    [Top] 172. Cartledge et al., Probation in Europe, p. 412.

    [Top] 173. A. Hess, “The Volunteer Probation Officers of Japan,” International Journal of Offender Therapy, Vol. 14, 1970; W. Ames, Police and Community in Japan (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1981); W. Clifford, Crime Control in Japan (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1976), p. 109; Gill and Mawby, Volunteers in the Criminal Justice System, p. 31.

    [Top] 174. Cartledge et al., Probation in Europe, p. 110.

    [Top] 175. R. Woodson, A Summons to Life (Cambridge, U.K.: Ballinger, 1981).

    [Top] 176. J. Weber, “The King’s Peace,” American Journal of Legal History, Vol. 10, No. 135, 1989, quoting Mumford, The Culture of Cities, p. 29.

    [Top] 177. Styles, “Print and Policing,” pp. 94-95, n. 26.

    [Top] 178. Styles, “Print and Policing,” p. 42.

    [Top] 179. Styles, “Print and Policing,” p. 41.

    [Top] 180. Toulmin Smith, Local Self Government and Centralization, p. 361.

    [Top] 181. R. Bish and H. Nourse, Urban Economics and Policy Analysis (New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1975), p. 195.

    [Top] 182. R. Kania, “The French Municipal Police Experiment,” Police Studies, Vol. 12, No. 125, 1989.

    [Top] 183. Goldsmith, The Twenty-First Century City, p. 125ff.

    [Top] 184. W.D. Eggers, T.J. Burke, A.T. Moore, R.L. Tradewell and D.P. Munro, “Cutting Costs: A Compendium of Competitive Know-How and Privatization Source Materials,” Calvert Issue Brief, Vol. III. No. 2, September 1999, p. 49.

    [Top] 185. Eggers et al., “Cutting Costs,” p. 50.

    [Top] 186. J. Statham, Playgroups in a Changing World (London, U.K.: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1989), p. 47.

    [Top] 187. Central Advisory Committee on Education, Children and their Primary Schools (London, U.K.: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1968).

    [Top] 188. Parliamentary Debates (Commons), Sixth Series, January 18, 1989, pp. 397-98.

    [Top] 189. J. Brophy, Playgroups in Practice: Self-Help and Public Policy (London, U.K.: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1992), p. 93.

    [Top] 190. The U.K. in total is composed of 71 counties and/or (in Scotland) “regions,” though not all of them still have administrative functions, such functions in many instances having been devolved to lower levels of government. See J. Kenyon, The Wordsworth Dictionary of British History, p. 95.

    [Top] 191. Statham, Playgroups in a Changing World, p. 6.

    [Top] 192. Statham, Playgroups in a Changing World, p. 16.

    [Top] 193. J. Statham, Playgroups in Three Countries (London, U.K.: Coram Research Unit, University of London, 1989); Brophy, Playgroups in Practice, p. 47.

    [Top] 194. Council of Europe, “Participation by Citizens-Consumers in the Management of Local Public Services,” Local and Regional Authorities in Europe, No. 54, 1994, p. 40.

    [Top] 195. R. Brooks, New Towns and Communal Values (New York, N.Y.: Praeger, 1974), pp. 133-34.

    [Top] 196. Liebmann, “Suburban Zoning.”

    [Top] 197. Kolan, “Neighborhood Councils in the Nordic Countries,” p. 13.

    [Top] 198. J. Lock, “Ideology and Female Midlife,” Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 25, 1994, pp. 46-51; see also A. Ernst, “A Segmented Welfare State,” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Vol. 138, No. 545, 1982; J. Ogawa, “Population Aging and Medical Demand: The Case of Japan,” in United Nations (U.N.), Department of International Economic and Social Affairs, Economic and Social Implications of Population Aging (New York, N.Y.: U.N., 1988), pp. 254-75.

    [Top] 199. Lock, “Ideology and Female Midlife”; see also Y. Kinoshita, “The Political Economy Perspective of Health and Medical Care Policies for the Aged in Japan,” in S. Ingman (ed.), Eldercare (Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1995); W. Coaldrake, “The Architecture of Reality: Trends in Japanese Housing 1985-89,” Japan Architect, October 1989, pp. 61, 66.

    [Top] 200. M. Castells et al., The Shek Kip Mei Syndrome: Economic Development and Public Housing in Hong Kong and Singapore (London, U.K.: Pion, 1990), p. 193; A. Wong and S. Yeh (eds.), Housing a Nation: Twenty-Five Years of Public Housing in Singapore (Singapore: Maruzen Asia, 1985), p. 272.

    [Top] 201. E. Ben-Ari, Changing Japanese Suburbia (London, U.K.: Kegan Paul, 1991).

    [Top] 202. See generally T. Campbell, “The Old People Boom and Japanese Policymaking,” Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 5, No. 321, 1974; J. Campbell, How Policies Change (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993); S. Linhart, “The Search for Meaning in Old Age: The Japanese Case,” International Congress of Gerontology, Vol. 12, 1981; D. Maeda, “Decline of Family Love and the Development of Public Services,” in J. Eekelaar (ed.), An Aging World: Dilemmas and Challenges for Law and Social Policy (Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon, 1989), p. 313.

    [Top] 203. M. Castells et al., The Shek Kip Mei Syndrome, pp. 136-38; A. Wong, “The Hong Kong Neighborhood Associations,” Asian Survey, Vol. 12, 1972, p. 587; J. Scott and K. Cheek-Milby, “An Overview of Hong Kong’s Social Policy Making Process,” Asian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 8, 1986, p. 166; Hong Kong Government, Services for the Elderly (Hong Kong: Government Printer, 1977).

    [Top] 204. U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Model State Legislation: Neighborhood Subunits of Government, 1970 ACIR Cumulative State Legislative Program series (Washington, D.C.: ACIR, 1969); ACIR, Fiscal Balance in the American Federal System (Washington, D.C.: ACIR, 1962), pp. 16-17.

    [Top] 205. A. Norton, International Handbook of Local and Regional Government (Aldershot, U.K.: Edward Elgar, 1994), § 9.12.

    [Top] 206. Kolan, “Neighborhood Councils in the Nordic Countries,” p. 13.

    [Top] 207. National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB), Keeping People Afloat: NACAB Annual Report, 1994/95 (London, U.K.: NACAB, 1995), inside front cover.

    [Top] 208. G. Finlayson, Citizen, State and Social Welfare in Britain (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 406.

    [Top] 209. M. Brasnett, Voluntary Social Action (London, U.K.: National Council of Social Service, 1969), p. 264.

    [Top] 210. Enacted by chs. 615 and 616 of the Acts of 1998, State of Maryland.

    [Top] 211. Enacted by ch. 403 of the Acts of 1996, State of Maryland.

    [Top] 212. U.S. Data in Demand, Inc. and State Policy Research, Inc. (USDD/SPR), States in Profile: The State Policy Reference Book, 1995 (McConnellsburg, Pa.: USDD/SPR, 1995), table D-14.

    [Top] 213. The report defines the Baltimore metropolitan area as Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Queen Anne’s counties.

    [Top] 214. Greater Baltimore Committee and Greater Baltimore Alliance (GBC/GBA), Greater Baltimore: State of the Region Report, July , 1998 (Baltimore, Md.: GBC/GBA, 1998), p. 63.

    [Top] 215. Kenyon, The Wordsworth Dictionary of British History, p. 178.

    [Top] 216. Average constituency size figures were derived by dividing population by the number of districts: For Baltimore City, 625,000 by 18; for Maryland, 5.2 million by 47; for France, 60 million by 577; for the U.K., 59 million by 659; for Spain, 39 million by 350. Baltimore City and Maryland population data taken from Office of Planning, “State of Maryland Demographic and Socio-Economic Outlook” and “Baltimore City Demographic and Socio-Economic Outlook,” Internet site (http://www.op.state.md.us/ MSDC/index.html), downloaded February 8, 2000; British, French, German and Spanish data taken from, “Country Listing,” in U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, 1999, Internet edition (http://www.odci.gov/ cia/publications/factbook), downloaded, April 25, 2000.

    [Top] 217. E.g., Sailors v. Board of Education, 387 U.S. 105 (1967).

    [Top] 218. A. Leemans, Changing Patterns of Local Government (Hague, Netherlands: International Union of Local Authorities, 1970), p. 49.

    [Top] 219. See A. Shaw, Municipal Government in Continental Europe (New York, N.Y.: Century, 1895), p. 313.

    [Top] 220. Leemans, Changing Patterns of Local Government, p. 186.

    [Top] 221. Leemans, Changing Patterns of Local Government, p. 187. On the benefits of co-optation see M. Saward, “Co-Option and Power: Who Gets What from Formal Incorporation,” Political Studies, Vol. 38, 1990, pp. 588-602.

    [Top] 222. C. Arnold-Baker, New Law and Practice of Parish Administration (London, U.K.: Longcross, 1966), p. 43; Local Government Act, 1933, § 49(1). On the change in 1972, see Arnold-Baker, Powers and Constitution of Local Councils (London, U.K.: National Association of Local Councils, 1979), p. 9; Local Government Act (1972), §§ 15(1) and 34(1).

    [Top] 223. H. Clarke, Parish, Town and Community Councils (Croydon, U.K.: Charles Knight, 1991), p. 16; Local Government and Housing Act (1989), § 13.

    [Top] 224. John B. O’Donnell, “Henson Sees Racism in HUD Probe,” (Baltimore) Sun, March 10, 1998, p. 1B.

    [Top] 225. Zuckerman, Peaceable Kingdoms, p. 214.

    [Top] 226. G. Harris, Local Government in Many Lands (London, U.K.: King, 1933), p. 82.

    [Top] 227. Arnold-Baker, New Law and Practice of Parish Administration, p. 181.

    [Top] 228. French Municipal Code of 1884, Art. 157, in Shaw, Municipal Government in Continental Europe, p. 491.

    [Top] 229. S. Webb, Grants in Aid (London, U.K.: Fabian Society, 1911), pp. 4-5.

    [Top] 230. Tocqueville, Democracy in America, p. 89, n. 1.

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