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Best Reason to Live Here

We Canít Wait To See What Happens Next

Posted 9/21/2005

Maybe itís because weíre journalists, but we tend to see the outlines of stories in everything, from backyard-cookout conversations to the unfolding of seemingly unrelated events on a citywide scale. Covering and living in Baltimore over the past few years have only fed this obsession. The intractable issues that have plagued the city over the past 20 yearsópoverty, crime, drugs, poor affordable housing, our flailing public schoolsóremain in place, some slightly improved, others no better or worse. Not much surprise there. But these predictable woes have been accompanied by a boom in development and, as discussed ad nauseam at any gathering of middle-class homeowners or would-be homeowners, a flabbergasting spike in prices for the same Baltimore housing stock that five years ago you were lucky to effectively give away. The best of times, the worst of times, indeed.

And the aforementioned are just the broad arcs; the characters and subplots scurrying around in the foreground are pretty engrossing, too. Will the ambitious golden-boy mayor be able to shrug off all that hasnít happened for this city during his tenure and take the statehouse from his bitter rival from the county? Which way will the bloody battle on the streets between criminals and criminals and criminals and cops turn? Will the vaunting visions of the big developers create an improved city or merely substitute new buildings for old? Will black and white Baltimore edge closer together or further apart? And how will the growing Latino Baltimore make its way? How will the rising generations of Baltimoreans come to grips with what we have built for them? Will the rich get richer (as they seem to be) and the poor poorer (likewise)? If these cliffhangers donít rivet you, the often absurd antics of local government and its bureaucracy are good for an occasional laugh or an unpleasant shock.

Donít mistake this overextended metaphor for flippancy. We realize that the stakes here are real, paid in blood and sweat and dollars and dreams. But just when we think we have Baltimore figured out, we find ourselves surprised at some twist we never saw coming. There is so much good, so much to be hopeful about here, along with so much that seems on the verge of ignominy and collapse. We canít wait to see what the next chapter brings.

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Other Awards for Best Reason to Live Here:

You're already prepared for the collapse of society, 9/16/2009

The Eternal Return, 9/17/2008

Crime, 9/19/2007

To keep it from being taken over, 9/20/2006

Because of What Weíre Not, 9/22/2004

Baltimore Needs You, 9/17/2003

It's Cheap, 9/18/2002

We're So Cool, 9/19/2001

Neighborhoods, 9/13/2000

It's cheap, 9/15/1999

One degree of separation, 9/17/1997

The architecture, 9/18/1996

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