The Baltimore Sun published the following article today:
Councilwoman’s mileage expenses raise questions- Spector bills city for driving to district
I hope every single one of you takes a minute to read that article. It is the best investigative piece the Baltimore Sun has published in 2012 (the water bill article was important, but the Sun should be embarrassed that FIVE YEARS of the Waterbill Woman researching and complaining passed before they felt the need to mention this bureaucratic sham).
The Sun calls out Rikki Spector for living near the Inner Harbor and commuting to the district she represents (Baltimore’s 5th councilmanic district) in Northwest Baltimore. Here are some great quotes from the article:
“Spector, who has served on the council since 1977, filed for more than $3,000 in mileage for travel within the city during a 13-month period, according to her expense reports, an average of more than 400 miles a month.”
“While she maintains a home on Park Heights Avenue in her district, Spector does not dispute that she primarily resides in the Harborview development near the Inner Harbor and that she bills taxpayers for travel from that address. “
“And on Jan. 7, Spector said she traveled 46 miles to attend three events in or near the district: a breakfast at Sinai Hospital in the 2400 block of W. Belvedere Ave., a meeting in Howard Park and an evening event at the Bolton Street Synagogue on Coldspring Lane near Loyola University.”
These quotes brought up a few questions in my head:
1. Why should tax payers have to pay for Spector to attend an “event” at the Bolton Street Synagogue? The synagogue is located in the 6th district represented by Sharon Green Middleton (look it up here).
2. $3000!?!? She already is paid over $58,000 a year. I don’t care where she lives, she can pay for her own damn gas. She has been on the council for over 35 years and thus has collected over $1million (inflation adjusted) in salary from the taxpayers of Baltimore! There is no such thing in a bankrupt city as “Just $3000”. How many other Baltimore bureaucrats say: “Well it’s only $2000” or “It’s only $1500” or “It’s only $800”. IT ALL ADDS UP VERY QUICKLY and our elected officials should not be leading the way and setting a disgusting example in this sickening taxpayer waste.
3. The Sun’s investigation was not complete. Perhaps they should have read an article I wrote in 2011: Will Baltimore’s leaders investigate their associates with residency issues? In that article I wonder why Rikki Spector receives a homestead property tax credit at her Park Heights house. I AM STILL WONDERING ABOUT THIS! Look up 7404 Park Heights on SDAT and you will read the following at the bottom of the page: “Homestead Application Status: Approved 02/28/2012“. At the top of the page you will read: “Principal Residence: YES“. If you visit the Baltimore City Real Property page and look up the property tax information for 7404 Park Heights you will see that Spector already paid her 2012/13 property tax bill and that she received a $1,159.80 “CITY HOMESTEAD CREDIT”. The address is also listed as her “PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE”
Spector can not have things both ways. For commuting purposes she can’t say that she lives near the Inner Harbor while at the same time for tax purposes she says she really lives off of Park Heights. She should either give back the $1,159.80 tax credit, give back the $3000 in “travel expense” money, or resign from office immediately.
The home owners of Baltimore just suffered through a 9% water bill increase yet we allow our leaders to get away with crap like this for 35 years! The voters of Baltimore are a bunch of abused enablers. We should be out in front of Spector’s luxury Inner Harbor condo chanting for her resignation. She walks to work so she will see us on her walk back… YEA RIGHT!
Has anyone else had enough of this crap? How long are we going to let this go on?
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