Baltimore Sun Attacks Clean Up Effort.

Volunteers clear an alley strewn with trash near Fulton Ave Monday morning. They were inspired to come out and help by Scott Presler, a Republican activist who organized the cleanup via Twitter. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

The Baltimore Sun editorial board came out with a editorial that basically slammed the clean up effort of people in West Baltimore.

We assume it was pure motives that led a Trump supporter to launch a cleanup in Cummings’ district, right?

It made for good photos, compelling videos and catchy Twitter hashtags. A group of conservatives rolled their pickup trucks into one of West Baltimore’s most impoverished neighborhoods Monday for a cleanup day. Loaded down with trash bags and shovels, they cleared alleyways of old tires, food containers, paper and other debris. They pulled up weeds and cut away overgrown grass. The group posted before and after pictures on social media showing their progress.

The effort was organized by pro-Trump activist Scott Presler. He claimed the event was not political. Yes, he was inspired to come by tweets from President Donald Trump describing the area, represented by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, as a “rodent infested mess.” But the visit wasn’t about showing support or animosity for either man, he said.

Call us skeptical.

This is an interesting perspective. Assume for a moment that the Sun is right – that the clean up was politically motivated by Trump’s description of the area. If that is the case, shouldn’t the opposite have occurred as well? Shouldn’t the people in the district have shown support for Cummings and get out there and prove Trump wrong? Where were the supporters of Cummings running out of their homes to support the effort? Shouldn’t that have happened if the only motivation of people is “political?”

Look, we appreciate anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves to help Baltimore. More than 170 people came from all over the country and cleaned up nearly 12 tons of trash, according to Mr. Presler’s Twitter feed. He doesn’t post any photos of the totality of the trash, so we’ll have to take his word for it.

Please notice the above picture taken by Baltimore Sun photographer Jerry Jackson, who apparently went to the West Baltimore scene to photo-document the clean up. If there are no pictures of the “totality of the trash,” isn’t that on the Sun, and not on the people cleaning up?

The editorial board then attacks this tweet by Pressler.

We found this newspaper while cleaning up trash in West Baltimore.

It’s been 11 years. #AmericansHelpingAmericans
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) August 5, 2019

Here’s what they found:

The irony of a newspaper from 11 years ago being found on the street in a pile of trash cannot be overstated when the Sun, Cummings, and others are attacking people for pointing out the conditions in Baltimore. Perhaps the Sun Editorial Board is angry that the paper is from the Washington Post and not the Sun itself. Still, to attack the find and not take any lesson from it is mind boggling stupid.

But the stupidity wasn’t done:

Whatever he says his motives were, Mr. Presler’s presence in Baltimore reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores. That the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and all the public officials around them have failed as well. The bureaucratic, all-talk Democrats strike again. If a crowd of volunteers could clean up 12 tons of trash in 12 hours, how incompetent and helpless must Baltimoreans be if they can’t manage it in decades, right?

The Sun offers no other alternative to their own point.

That area of the City of Baltimore did not become what it is because of the actions of Pressler’s group, or any of the people who came to help clean up the mess. Instead of saying thanking the people for giving West Baltimore a hand up – a kick start of sorts – to what can be an overwhelming problem that the City and residents were not addressing, the left leaning Baltimore Sun attacked the people who donated their time, effort, resources and money.

Amazingly enough, Mr. Presler is not the first one to come up with the bright idea of a neighborhood cleanup. It is not really that remarkable of a concept. In fact, they happen all the time.

We agree that the idea of a neighborhood cleanup is not remarkable. They do happen all the time.

Neither Pressler nor any of the boots on the ground said their effort was unique or claimed to be doing something for the first time.

That argument from the Sun Editorial Staff is simply a strawman.

However, as the idea is not unique, and happens all the time, why didn’t the Baltimore Sun, the City and residents organize a neighborhood cleanup? Why weren’t the members of the Sun’s Staff and Editorial Board out there getting their hands dirty to make a community better?

If you are missing our point, while the Sun attacks the cleanup involving nearly 200 people from outside of the community as “nothing special,” the number of cleanups organized by the Baltimore Sun is less – much less – than one.

Sadly, it doesn’t take long for people (frequently from outside the community) to refill the alleyways with illegal dumping and for grass to grow again in front of vacant buildings with no resident available to tend the lawn.

Baltimore has a somewhat dysfunctional contact system with residents called “311.” You can call in, talk to a person and they will generate request to the appropriate department to address the issue. That’s the idea. So if people start dumping things back into the alley and the area, a call to 311 to have the City trash trucks come and remove the waste would solve the issue. It seems to us that the Sun is either implying the residents can’t dial a phone, the 311 system is horrible or the City doesn’t respond to issues.

As for the grass, we are certain that someone owns that vacant building. It is not free land. We would think that the City knows who owns the property. One of our friends up in Baltimore had a property next to them that was overgrown. The Code Enforcement Officer came out and looked at the property from the sidewalk and the adjacent property. When asked why they did not go onto the property, the response was “we aren’t allowed to go onto properties that appear to be in violation of City code.”


A few days later, a truck from the City rolled up, cut the grass and moved on. The owner of the property was sent a bill for $500 (yes, five HUNDRED dollars) and if they failed to pay, a lien is placed on the property. (They ended up paying.)

If there is trash and grass in front of vacant properties is an issue, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate the issue despite the Sun’s excuses and desire to attack those who helped rather than those who stood by and did nothing.

We also hope Mr. Presler keeps his promise to return to Baltimore once a month. It would definitely give his motives more credibility. It might also give him better perspective about the city’s problems than any single visit can provide. Maybe it could even lead him and his followers to advocate for federal housing, health care, transportation, education, criminal justice, civil rights and anti-poverty policies aimed at urban communities.

We don’t think that the people who helped clean up the community – who did what residents, the City and the staff of the Baltimore Sun failed to do – are responsible for any of the issues that the Sun lists. In fact, a case can be made that the issues they list are all failure of the City government and the residents.

In the meantime, we’ll see how clean the neighborhood still is when he returns in September.

Typical. If the area is not clean, it is the responsibility of those who cleaned it in the first place and not the responsibility of the residents in the area and the City to keep it clean.

In the world of the Baltimore Sun, it is always someone else’s fault. It is always someone else’s job. It is always someone else’s responsibility.

We are stunned, but not terribly surprised, that the Sun attacked the people who did what they would not do. That attack is wrong in every moral sense, but when it comes to the Baltimore Sun, like many other news outlets, “morals” is a word that is not in their lexicon.

One Response to “Baltimore Sun Attacks Clean Up Effort.”

  1. Percy Veer says:

    Kudos to Mr. Presley, he sets a good example for all of us (both left and right). I imagine this article would have had a slightly different slant if Corey Booker or Kamala Harris had led the cleanup. Another example of the bias in the mainstream media. Regardless of political leanings shouldn’t this cleanup effort have received rave reviews by the local media (if they were honest and truly cared about their city).