Most people use a pistol to shoot themselves in the foot. Only Wiley Hall would use a shotgun to blow it off. I normally don't agree with what he has to write, but his opinion in Urban Rhythms about Mayor O'Malley and the citizens of Baltimore is out of line and is very difficult to ignore.
First, let's set something straight, Mr. Hall: Of the people who bothered to vote, the majority voted for O'Malley. There was a perfect opportunity to choose two other Democrats to be mayor, both of them African-American in a predominantly African-American city. It didn't happen, due to African-American voter apathy. And of those African-Americans who did vote in the primary, a full third of them voted for O'Malley anyway. If a person is an idiot/sycophant for supporting a mayor of their choosing, then what's the term for a person who didn't vote despite being given a number of choices?
Next, why aren't you as outraged as the mayor at the most recent string of failed court cases? They all dealt with African-Americans killing African-Americans, not to mention one case that involved a white cop accused of committing crimes against African-Americans! O'Malley has worked hard to get this city up and running again. Overall crime is down, murders are lower, there's still work to be done, and State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy is holding that work up via her excuses. In the Brian Sewell case, African-American jurors won't even get a chance to help stave off police corruption due to Jessamy's dismissal of the case.
Lastly, O'Malley's outburst has not done "irreparable" damage to the city. And your assessment that "reasonable citizens" will not look more closely at the criminal-justice system is ludicrous. At least read The Sun's letters to the editor on Jan. 31; they support O'Malley's outrage and are demanding more be done. Even as you read this, O'Malley is trying to find another way to get prosecutions done, since Jessamy won't even try.
Having read your column for the past year or so, I get the feeling that you think of yourself as something of a radical. But, really, you're just another opinionated hack writing for a wannabe-underground corporate-owned newspaper.
Who Let the Fans Out?
I just wanted to congratulate Tom Scocca for another one of his irritating, backhanded compliments of the Ravens (8 Upper, 1/31). If Art Modell were to discover a cure for cancer and AIDS, eradicate poverty, war, and hunger in the world, then walk across the Pacific Ocean but fall in and drown right before reaching the coast of China, Scocca's next column would be headlined "Art Can't Swim."
Tom Scocca has revealed once again his true, hateful self. He suggests that the Ravens could be the team America grows to hate. I imagine nothing would please him more, as he seems to despise all local teams. I suppose he projects negativity in the mistaken believe that criticism necessarily projects intelligence. Talk about your smoldering assholes!
Is Baltimore supposed to feel ashamed since Tom has cracked the case of the NFL Expansion Caper of '93? So Art Modell made a suggestion to Giants executive Robert Tisch that he get out off the expansion derby. Great work, Scoop! You sure blew the lid of that one. Is this news to anyone? If Tom were observant, he'd notice a very telling pattern in the cities that bid for expansion teams in 1993.
If memory serves, six groups were vying for teams in the expansion derby: Charlotte, Jacksonville, St. Louis, Tennessee, Oakland, and Baltimore. Hmmm . . . that's interesting--there were only two expansion teams, yet all six now have teams. Could it be that NFL owners took a "bottom-up" approach to expansion and awarded expansion teams to the two least lucrative cities, while reserving the sweetest plums for themselves? In the next few years, Georgia Frontiere moved the Rams to St. Louis, Bud Adams moved the Oilers to Tennessee, Al Davis moved the Raiders back to Oakland, and Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore. Of these four, only Art Modell is vilified, I suppose because he committed the cardinal sin of taking the Browns out of Cleveland. (Never mind that unlike Los Angeles and Houston, Cleveland fans were assured they'd get their team back.) Apparently, the citizens of Cleveland have some divine right to a football team that the citizens of Los Angeles, Houston, and Baltimore do not.
I assure you that Super Bowl and playoff appearances by the Titans, Rams, and Raiders were not greeted in Tennessee, St. Louis, and Oakland with the hand-wringing and self-loathing that Tom Scocca implies is proper. In all the criticism that's accompanied Baltimore's "stealing" of the Browns, I've yet to hear a single suggestion of what an appropriate response from us--the fans--should've been. Should we have risen up and said, "No, we won't tolerate this, we reject the new team"? Was a blockade of the Owings Mills football facility called for? Should we have marched on Annapolis calling for Gov. Parris Glendening's head for his role in bringing the NFL back? Of course not. Ravens fans have done nothing wrong by embracing the team and have nothing to be ashamed of, regardless of Scocca's mocking column closer, "Happy Festivus, everybody." The forces that brought the Ravens to town were big money and politics. Baltimore's fans have responded appropriately, especially the joyful expressions during the victory rally and parade that went on despite Tom Scocca's failed attempt to piss all over it.
Robert W. Smith
It amazes me that even in our time of celebration and unity Tom Scocca can still be a kill-joy. When the Browns left Cleveland, the NFL came in on the white horse and granted an expansion team right away. And somehow it is our fault that an idiot like Bob Tisch listened to Art Modell instead of following his heart? Teams can move from city to city, yet when one moves to Baltimore, we stole the team? Why isn't Indy vilified for literally stealing the Colts? And where was all the sympathy for Baltimore as other cities with great football traditions like Phoenix and Jacksonville got their teams and Baltimore was passed over time and again? Tom has this amazing ability to see only one side of every story--his.
How dare you, Tom Scocca? I cannot believe the horrible, horrible, mean, awful things you said about our Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. I practically fell out of my chair when I read the last half of your column. Why, I was ravin' mad!
You sure pushed my buttons, Tom Scocca. You are such a controversial writer. My god, Tom, how could you just reach inside of my chest and rip out my purple bleeding heart like that?
I got so mad, I picked up this pen and decided to write you to let you know how damn mad I am. That stuff about Art Modell was so scandalous. I had no idea professional sports politics existed all the way back to 1993 when Art made that "phantom" phone call. I guess Art's power of "suggestion" is why that Bob Tisch fella ran screaming in the other direction. And jeez, Tom, what about that insensitive remark about Tony Siragusa "waddling"? Just because "The Goose" is a big man doesn't mean he doesn't have big-man-sized feelings. And your comment that Brian Billick exhibited himself to the national press as a "smoldering asshole"--whew, that's some really mean, controversial stuff. I guess I'll just turn my purple battered cheek and pray for your forgiveness.
You sure pushed my buttons, Tom Scocca. Happy Festivus to you, assbreath.
P.S. Ray Lewis will be fair game for the rest of his justice-obstructing-ass life.
George M. Bowen
Dear Mr. Scocca:
Editor's note: For years, many a City Paperite has gotten through a sleepy morning or long work day with a jolt of the excellent coffee from City Café and a few friendly words across the counter with John Darda, the tireless and gracious co-owner. Darda, 43, was shot and killed the morning of Feb. 5 a few steps from his restaurant's door. We wish to express our sympathy to his family and colleagues, and our posthumous thanks to a man who made Mount Vernon a better place to live and work.
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