Tag Archives: Baltimore City

Serious Questions

Dear Stephanie (I feel like we’re on a first name basis),

You wrote an editorial published in the Baltimore Sun on February 24 where you claim Republicans only offer criticisms, Democrats offer solutions.

Democrats have had complete control of Baltimore City government since 1967.

Do you consider the results in Baltimore City the results of effective solutions?  Or did Democrats just misunderstand the problem, and provide solutions, but the wrong ones?

Do you consider a 68% graduation rate a success?  Why is the rate so much higher in Baltimore County?  Why, after 50 years of complete Democratic control and policymaking, is the graduation rate so much lower than the county, where there is not full implementation of Democratic ‘solutions’?

Democrats have had 50 years, I don’t understand how there could possibly still be problems after all these ‘solutions’.

Help me understand.  And do it without blaming Republicans.



The next time someone suggests we need to raise taxes (again) in Baltimore City…

Show them this.

Alone amidst a wash of concrete and bricks, paving and sidewalk, the tiny unidentified greenery struggles to spread its sprouts into a seemingly intractable blanket of shade.

But do not mourn this poor forlorn seedling, for the city’s Board of Estimates just approved $8,800 for its care and maintenance. Along with 15 months of watering and pruning, the contract will also provide company for the lone greenery in the four-story concrete parking garage, with plans to add several additional planters to the darkened caverns that temporarily house the cars of motorists visiting the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood.

The money is part of $27,000 in landscaping contracts approved for four city-owned parking garages Wednesday. The contracts provide for 15 months’ worth of work by Grass Roots Landscaping, a Baltimore-based business that will now be responsible for nurturing the lone plant in Franklin Garage, along with other potted shrubbery withering on sidewalks or wilting in the exhaust-filled concrete facilities at three other parking garages.

The expenditure for the solo shrub, that comes amidst intractable budget shortfalls and higher taxes, was justified as key to presenting an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere inside the otherwise mundane parking garage, an important selling point for attracting out-of-town motorists.

Yup.  $8,800 for a plant in a parking garage.   The Lovely Mrs. Stagg, who, of above average intelligence, reminded me that it’s probably that expensive because plants can’t live in a dark parking garage.

Our property taxes are twice the surrounding counties.  The city implemented an additional sales tax on bottled beverages (that retailers are not allowed to call a sales tax, or even disclose to their customers) because if we didn’t, we’d have to ground the police helicopter.

Yet we’re spending money on this.  Awesome.

Egregiously Irresponsible

The brain trust that is the Baltimore City Government has recently decided that criminal activity is the responsibility of… the owners of apartment complexes.  Not the residents.  Not the actual criminals.  But the people who own and manage the buildings.

First, I find it ridiculous that a property owner has to get permission from the government to have apartments in the first place.  But that aside, according to the article there’s no code violations and the management company hasn’t even been notified of the action against them.

Second, we continue in this city to hold the wrong people responsible.  Everything from our screwed up tax system to this action shows the city government doesn’t understand what responsibility means.  The people responsible for the crimes in this location are… the criminals.

Not the owner of the apartment complex.

Looks to me it’s just another attempt at scattering poor people about thinking that will solve our problems, instead of addressing the real issues in the city.

Our city government, led by the mayor and city council are the egregiously irresponsible ones.

Same old story

Baltimore man convicted in 1991 for killing a 6 year old is not only out of prison, but done with probation.

And apparently didn’t learn anything.

His name is Arthur Tyler Felton, 38.

A check of the records reveals a stunning fact: Arthur Tyler Felton shot and killed 6-year-old Tiffany Smith in July 1991 during a gun battle with a rival drug dealer in West Baltimore’s Walbrook community.

The shooting outraged the city much in the same way Sunday’s stabbing death of Stephen Pitcairn does today, complete with similar complaints of lenient prison sentences for prior crimes and failures of judges and others to hold criminals accountable.

Felton pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, agreed to testify against his rival and got a 30 year sentence, with all but 18 years suspended. He was released in 2005, after spending 13 years behind bars, and completed his probation just three months ago.

Yet we continue to lock up people who’s only crime is intoxication.  Something’s just not right.

Baltimore priorities

Call me crazy, but doesn’t it make more sense to make sure the Baltimore City Police have a helicopter to help reduce crime on the West Side before we try to make it a new Arts District?  How many redevelopment tries have failed over there in recent years?

City Hall and the City Council need to get their priorities straight.  I’m still hopeful the Sun will report on all the items in the budget, so we can all see what the Mayor thinks is more important than the police helicopter and firefighters; until then we’ll just have to pick up on stories like this one, which show a pretty clear gap between the priorities of the people of Baltimore and the politicians of Baltimore.

Baltimore City Official a Little Misleading About Snow Removal

My block was cleared today. For 13 days, it was impassable.  We (many of the residents) did our best to get as many of the cars out as possible, using a large SUV to pack the snow down for about 2/3rds of the block, digging it out as it got stuck every few feet.  As is often the case during events like this, we engaged the neighborhood, talked to people we only waved to before, and even had a little fun.

I’ve been pretty vocal on Twitter that the city had done nothing until today to clear the block.  The street is one way, and we cleared the ‘bottom’, so most of us had to back up the street to park.   This actually worked out fine, as no one trying to find a parking spot who didn’t live here would think to do that, so we didn’t have issues with parking spots.  We also worked together to make sure that folks had spots, letting folks block garages as long as we knew we could call them to move if someone had to leave.

There was a story in the Baltimore Sun addressing the slow cleanup this morning.  I understand this was a historic snowstorm, and I know there’s only so much the city can do.  The frustration for us was twofold.  First, city leaders kept telling us how well they were doing, that X% of streets were ‘clear’, which was clearly not true to anyone actually driving on the streets.  Second, there were efforts to clear streets closed to vehicle traffic, and special efforts to clear churches and schools before some streets were passable at all, putting into question the prioritization of snow removal efforts. Continue reading

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