It's nearly impossible for anyone to end up in a middle-class lifestyle when the city in which they live has been systematically dismantled in favor of tourism and suburban expansion. And that is what defines Baltimore--there's plenty to do downtown, but don't even think about living inside of the Baltimore beltway.
For me, it comes down to tolerating a level of racism that isn't going to be sustainable anymore. There are plenty of poor whites in Baltimore, as well as a host of other ethnic groups. Their plight--and the plight of the African-American community--can be laid at the door of the idea that Baltimore can function as a downtown tourist trap with a great retail and eating district by the waterfront and nothing else. It's a city with tremendous potential that made terrible choices decades ago.
For me, it begins with the idea that we should stop thinking poor people are the problem. They're the result of bad policies and not values or choices.
Couple all that with the crippling war on drugs and the dismantling of the police department, and you have what you have today--a dysfunctional city with enormous potential. Someone has to run the city in the right direction. Someone has to find a way to police the city without terrorizing the people being served. Someone has to run towards building middle-class jobs in areas that are falling apart. Some measure of political compromise and pragmatism is needed, but how are you going to convince people to stop feeding off of the enormous carcass that is the spoils system?
How do you get people to abandon the insanity of racism and embrace doing the right thing for the greater good? How do you reconcile deal making with solving problems for everyone?
Someone legitimate to the governing of Baltimore--and that means someone who isn't walking around with a billion dollars or a host of bought-and-paid-for lackeys--has to step up. There's a real moment here where people who haven't been hitting it out of the park have to find the strength to go long. It doesn't matter what they look like. But someone has to step up and do the job of fixing the city without ramming cash into their pants.
The media will try to destroy them of course. After all, that makes for a better story.