I found the article about the Baltimore Comprehensive Master Plan (even the term makes me squirm) very unsettling ("Mr. Boh's Neighborhood," Feature, June 27). From a strictly personal perspective, I can't help but think that the "exclusive access to data" the city provided has had something to do with the fact that, in the last couple of years, I am hounded relentlessly by unsolicited offers--via the U.S. Postal Service--about things like my empty lot, my actual home, and my (obviously no longer) "personal" financial matters.
On a more community level, I agree with Joan Floyd that not only do most Baltimoreans not have access to this important information, but that there would be no reason to even think to look for it if they did have access, or to have any concept of the long and damaging reach these plans/programs have. You may think there are steps being taken to improve your neighborhood, but Ms. Floyd is right--it is a divide and conquer operation, a purely economic investment by entities that have no interest whatsoever in you as a homeowner in Baltimore. Any appeasement of a given community is purely for PR, and if push comes to shove, and it's you and your community vs. dollar$, guess who wins ?
I am also sick to death of Johns Hopkins (which I used to love living in the shadow of) and its bottomless pit of money, its insatiable appetite for property, and its narrow, self-centered vision.
As for the "biotech districts" around University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins hospitals and the special privileges they receive, it was my supposedly paranoid fear from day one that eventually the same monster would move into our community on the coattails of the helipad at Union Memorial Hospital. Now I am more convinced than ever.
Maybe by then I will be old as dirt and on my way out and won't care . . . or I will have already lost my home and community to the Corporation of Baltimore, some Grand Master Plan, and her buddies JHU, SBER, TRF, and other IFH (Initials From Hell).
The story on the United Workers Association ("Temporary Injustice," Mobtown Beat, June 27) was an excellent discussion of the forgotten workers in Baltimore. You'd never see a story like this in The Sun, so I hope City Paper follows up.
It seems like there were a couple of missing pieces, however. Why doesn't the Maryland Stadium Authority just hire these cleaning crews directly instead of letting the labor contractors pick money off the top? Next Day Staffing says it gets $10 an hour for each worker, and pays out $7. The Stadium Authority could just pay each worker the $10 and help out both the workers and the local economy. It would not cost taxpayers anything--"revenue neutral" is the term, I think.
The other missing words in the story are "Peter Angelos." Where is this champion of the working class when the peons are cleaning up his mansion?
Mount Auburn Should Be Mount Auburn's Problem
It's touching to see that Mount Auburn Cemetery has finagled some financing to clean up its own mess ("Back From the Grave," Quick and Dirty, June 27), but why are my gasoline taxes and MVA fees being granted to pay for the cemetery's upkeep costs? Oh, and by the way, which road, as mandated by the terms of the grant, is under "construction" or maintenance"? This simply looks like a bailout of a private enterprise's self-inflicted troubles at the taxpayers' and fee-payers' expense. And the state government wants to raise gas taxes even more? For what--to lay flowers on Poe's grave?
Carter, Not Dixon
As a Eurocentric (Scotland) humanistic male, may I respond to letter writer and Afrocentric feminist Larnell Custis Butler that I also have the "sight and touch" gift--albeit Celtic ("Dixon Has Favor of the Lord," The Mail, June 27)? It tells me that Ms. Butler is an awesome lady, but that Jill Carter might make a better mayor than Sheila Dixon, because, like her father, Walter Carter, Jill has that "vision" thing.
I'm sure that Ms. Butler will agree that we don't want a male as mayor! Males in this society are too violent, too fragile, no matter what their ethnic backgrounds. Matter of fact, we need a female president.
"Fair" This, Liberal
Brian Morton needs to get a better grasp of fundamental business principals before he espouses his conspiracy theories regarding the supposed "corporate" media kowtowing to the current presidential administration (Political Animal, June 27).
The reason "91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming is conservative" (as espoused by a study by a thoroughly left-leaning think tank, the Center for American Progress) is laughingly simple: Conservative talk radio has successfully marketed itself to the small segment of the market that devotedly listens to talk radio, whereas liberal talk radio has bombed miserably. (Air America, anyone?) Yes, dammit, Mr. Morton, that's precisely what "the market" wants. Don't believe me? Think there's a market for liberal talking heads? Gather a group of investors and start your own Air America. Or find sponsors for the liberal talking heads and bloggers and find a way to disseminate their viewpoints outside their own inner-circle "choir."
Those clamoring for a "fairness doctrine" are in reality simply upset that more Americans have refused to embrace their so-called "progressive" values, and are willing to violate one of those supposed values--a free press--in order to force their viewpoints upon others. Supposing we use that same philosophy of "fairness" to force you to find a couple of conservative writers to replace your recently discontinued Right Field column by Russ Smith? Or to force thoroughly left-leaning National Public Radio to carry Rush Limbaugh (famous for pompously boasting, "I am `equal time!'") or Sean Hannity?
Incidentally, the blogosphere that Morton calls a "corrective mechanism for political thought" has apparently done a thorough job of discrediting the Center for American Progress study as well, as a simple internet search will reveal.
Alexander D. Mitchell IV
It is getting really old reading Brian Morton's stuff as he seems to be obsessed with beating up on George W. Bush. Sad, as Bush is on his way out and really doesn't care what we think of him, and at this point most of us don't care about him.
I wonder, though, why Mr. Morton can't seem to squeal about the Democrats, who are in charge, hold the majority in both houses but have failed to live up to any campaign promises, and have yet to do the biggest thing they should have done, which was to seal both borders to provide the national security the feds are supposed to do.
They had also promised a transparent government, but they conducted the immigration writings in private, away from scrutiny, à la Stalin. Nothing said by ol' Morton about this. Gotta love a hypocrite, I guess.
Correction: We misidentified the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus' Mr. Pennygaff's Solid Steel Sword Swallowing as the Cowboy from the Boogie Down Bronx in a photo caption in last week's Baltimore Weekly Highlights. Musta been the hat.
Editor's note: It's time for awards news. Former CP staff writer Christina Royster-Hemby recently won first place in the Association of Black Media Workers 2006 Media Choice Awards for "Fighting the Power," her two-part series on the Baltimore chapter of the Black Panther Party (Feb. 1 and Feb. 8, 2006). In addition, the results of the 2007 Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards were announced recently, and City Paper won notice in two categories: Online editor Tim Hill won third place in Website Content Feature for our online No Cover section, and staff writer Edward Ericson Jr. won honorable mention in Investigative Reporting for his "Collapse" series (Feature, July 26 and Aug. 2, 2006). Congratulations to one and all.
In other news, you may have noticed some new bylines under the Omnivore banner. While we are hoping to bring a whole smorgasbord of new food writers and types of food coverage to the section in the coming months, Richard Gorelick's restaurant reviews will appear exclusively under the Omnivore name, and our other food coverage (such as Henry Hong's treatise on cooking steak) will appear under the heading Eat Me. Bon appétit.
Coming next week: the Big Music Issue.
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