Baltimore’s businesses fear investment, tourism will be hit

Daily News Article - April 30, 2015


NOTE: The situation in Baltimore is a big news story. This article only addresses the longer-term economic impact caused by authorities’ inability to stop the looting and burning of property. It does not intend to ignore the terrible, tragic death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. City officials are conducting a full investigation into the cause of his death and have said they will determine by May 1 whether any criminal charges should be brought against the police officers involved in Mr. Gray’s arrest.

1. Why are Baltimore business owners concerned over the arson and looting that took place in Baltimore recently?

2. How does the Baltimore city government maintain a stable budget with higher unemployment and incomes than the national average?

3. a) What specific concern does Will Runnnebaum, owner of a Baltimore real estate company have?
b) What first-hand experience has he had that shows his concerns are valid?

4. List other types of business directly affected by the destruction of property that took place. How might each be affected?

5. How will the destruction affect retailers (like a CVS Pharmacy) from investing in new stores in Baltimore?

6. Who do you think will be most affected by the business decisions made in the aftermath of the rioting? Explain your answer.

7. Watch the first video under “Resources” with mother Toya Graham.

What do you think of the comments made by each of these adults? Are they right or wrong? Explain your answer.

8. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made a controversial comment on Saturday before the burning and looting erupted. She said, "I've made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. It's a very delicate balancing act because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well, and we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate." Mayor Rawlings-Blake went on to deny saying they were giving space to "those who wished to destroy” and accused the media of taking her comments out of context. (Watch the video clip at

It is believed that the Mayor ordered the police to back off from rioters, which resulted in 20 officers being injured, 144 vehicles being destroyed and 19 businesses being burned.
Watch an interview with former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani (the second video under “Resources”). What do you think is the best way for a mayor to handle a situation like this? Is former Mayor Guiliani too aggressive? Is Mayor Rawlings-Blake not tough enough? Explain your answer.