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Show Me the Money

Posted 6/27/2001

Your readers should know that the Nose's description of salary increases for the Baltimore Development Corp. (BDC) in your June 20 issue is wrong.

While the format of the city's Budget Book can be confusing, a call to BDC would have revealed that there are no salary increases for anyone at BDC proposed for the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2001. In fact, the salaries listed in your article are the current salaries.

In terms of the results of our work, in calendar year 2000 we assisted 76 businesses, resulting in the retention or attraction of 6,263 jobs and the investment of $145,848,732. Since BDC was reorganized in 1996, our total results, including calendar year 2000, are 298 businesses assisted, 28,591 jobs retained or attracted, and $1.169 billion in investment produced.

And the state's Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation recently reported job growth in the city of 8,200 jobs between December 1999 and December 2000.

We are proud of this progress and look forward to even more significant economic- development success in the years ahead.

M.J. Brodie
President, Baltimore Development Corp.


News editor Molly Rath responds: The Nose's source of information on the BDC raises was the Fiscal 2002 Agency Detail issued by the Baltimore City Board of Estimates, a public document that states clearly the BDC salaries that were adopted in the city's Fiscal Year 2001 budget, and those proposed in the FY 2002 budget. And the difference between the two budgets was the amount the Nose noted--raises for top officials ranging from 8 percent to 9.4 percent. Upon receiving BDC President M.J. Brodie's letter, we called city Budget Director Henry Raymond for clarification. It turns out Brodie et al. did get those hefty raises--only it was months ago, on the heels of the mayor's adoption of the FY 2001 budget. So while they technically will not be getting raises in FY 2002--they'll maintain the same levels of pay they've had since the mid-FY 2001 raise--according to city budget documents, they will. Asked why that change isn't factored into the FY 2002 budget document, Raymond says it should be. "Maybe we need to have another column called 'FY 2001 amended,' and that's what we're going to start doing with the FY 2003 Agency Detail," he says.

McVeigh Removal

In reading Sandy Asirvatham's article on Timothy McVeigh (Underwhelmed, June 20), I noted that even a gifted writer like Ms. Asirvatham can tend to overlook a simple fact during research for a column.

While concentrating on justification for capital punishment in the areas of deterrence and closure, the point is missed that in both a secular and theological historical setting, neither deterrence nor closure (that '90s psychobabble word) was in view.

The concept was simply to remove a person guilty of a capital crime from society. That individual would no longer pose a threat and/or repeat such a crime.

But, as the article points out so well, has it ever been done properly?

Luke E. Flannery

Female Trouble
Mike Giuliano's review of Divine, currently appearing at Theatre Project, went right for the jugular (Theater, June 13). I wonder if we both saw the same musical. Apparently, Mr. Giuliano's focus on weight, makeup, height, and the idea that no one ever shouts, clouded his ability to see the audience's robust approval, or the other, more important critic's acclaim for David Shapiro's empathic portrayal of the complexities of Divine.

Of interesting note, Divine's mother sent a representative to the musical to assuage her concern over what might be a distasteful characterization and demoralization of her son's life. The representative was Steve Yeager, who produced a very definitive documentary on the life of Divine. I heard that Mr. Yeager expressed Divine's mother's concerns to Shapiro. Yeager concluded, however, that they were unfounded. He stated, in fact, that Shapiro had captured Divine in a most favorable light.

Once again, I wonder where Mr. Giuliano was or wasn't that night. I recommend you see Divine for yourself. You won't be sorry.

Marie Capp

Walkie Talkie
The Nose job I got about my resignation from the Baltimore (not the Maryland) Green Party got a bit scrambled in the details (The Nose, June 6).

Although neither my accusers nor a single person in the Baltimore Green Party cared enough to ask me why I became separated from several groups in my 54 years (so far) of social activism, those reasons are infinitely more important than the details of the final separations.

When four little girls were murdered in the 1963 Birmingham, Ala., church bombing, members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE, of which I was a founding member in 1951) were understandably angry. The action they proposed--a picket line at the post office--didn't seem commensurate with that anger. I suggested a more fitting response to the increasing racist violence that the FBI was ignoring was a sit-in at the post office. "Climb up on the parcel counter and stay there," I said. "Capitalism can't function without the post office."

A few days later I received a court order barring me from attending CORE meetings. I called American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Fred Weigel, who told me, "They can't do that." We met with CORE leadership, who openly stated that what I had said had frightened some of their members. I told them I would violate their court order and continue to attend their meetings, and if they chose to physically expel me, I would resist nonviolently.

The Committee to End the War in Vietnam is another interesting case. I had proposed and organized the first Baltimore march against the war, the first chain-in at the post office, and the first anti-war rally. Various people began to hold gripes and grudges. I think they felt uncomfortable over the things I "made them" do. At a stacked meeting I was surprised with an expulsion vote. I appealed and won. By then I was sick of the group and said I would not attend another meeting. Their response? They disbanded--and the war in Southeast Asia had just begun!

Apparently, the only thing that held them together to oppose the war for three or four years was their mutual hatred of Kaufman.

Finally, the New Jewish Agenda (NJA).

When Israel invaded Lebanon, I was the only Jew to publicly protest at the two events the Jewish establishment organized to rationalize the invasion.

I was happy to help found the NJA. At my urging, the NJA set up a picket line when the fascist Meir Kahane spoke at a local synagogue. I got them to picket the Argentine tall ship at the Inner Harbor (when Argentina was "disappearing" people like me) and orchestrated a well-publicized weekend of lectures by ex-Israeli general and peace activist Maher Piel.

Then a kangaroo court brought me up on spurious expulsion charges. This was the only of the five organizations the Nose mentioned I was expelled from.

So what do we learn from such meshugas? Those who talk the talk but don't walk the walk are uncomfortable with those of us who do.

A. Robert Kaufman

Editor's note: With this week's issue, we bid so long to Cyberpunk. After six years of offering his own unique spin on technology and its discontents, Joab Jackson is retiring his alter ego to concentrate on pursuits more closely related to his actual life. Joab will remain an occasional contributor to these pages; we thank him for Cyberpunk and wish him Godspeed.

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