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Photo by: Sir John Tenniel

Can big, bold murals bring value to Baltimore’s many vacants?

“Oh, word! Excellent project.”
- Tom

“They’re a meager ‘holding pattern’ at best. The city would do better by eliminating its bureaucratic ‘land banking’ of buildings – i.e. the process in which it sits on large tracts of vacant buildings/land for decades waiting to award them to speculators who never show up. . . The city needs to make it easy (and fun! and safe! and cheap!) for small adventurers to restore these places at a finer grain one building, one lot at a time, as was kinda the case in neighborhoods like Fed Hill and Fells Point.”
- Marc

“Whatever happened to the home for a dollar program?”
- westside resident

“Dollar? Try FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS, that’s what our city paid for the New York Fried Chicken building, pictured at the top of the page. It wasn’t vacant until the city bought it for the purposes of delivering it to a developer who planned to build a steakhouse-theater-abattoir on that corner.”
- Lars Peterson

“Every time I come upon art–
on a building,
as I am driving my car–
I am jolted, I sit bolt upright,
I slow down, I pull over,
I stop–
I think to myself –
we are never better
than when we are doing art–
over dereliction–
when we are splashing color over drab–
when we are giving our sense of space–
a new sensory input–”
- Unellu,  from “Murals — Baltimore”

“Answer: Yes, the murals can bring value, but only the spiritual kind – ‘The artist community is extremely afraid of gentrification,’ Gaia said. ‘They’re scared to death the owners are going to sell the Copy Cat Building.’ Keep out the damn Yuppies who measure things in monetary terms. Keep Baltimore spiritually pure, broke and beholden to the state and federal governments and corporate patrons.”
- Gerald Neily
_________________________________________
Community groups up in arms over new methadone clinic near B & O Museum

I get that folks don’t want this, and I understand why. But the alternative is what, exactly? Not providing addiction treatment services to their community? How is that better?”
- Jed Weeks

“Jed, there isn’t a call to end treatment. We are not asking that all treatment be removed, however we want all to share the burden of having them. don’t concentrate the treatment, disperse them around the city.”
- Adam43

“If there is an unmet need for treatment in this specific area, the community would welcome UMMC to provide that information. As it stands, no one has addressed the community to say there is a need – or to say anything. They have not attended community meetings, or reached out to local association leaders. We had to find out in the paper, and thank goodness for the investigative news industry! … There are currently between 1200 and 2000 people being treated for substance abuse, and this would add another 700. I’ve heard that the people being treated will be coming from as far as PA, the Eastern Shore of MD, Carroll County, and Howard County.”
- CLBrad

“The Abell Foundation is complicit in this deal. Mr. Embry’s failure to admit any responsibility as a landlord by stating that ‘we just bought the building’ is shocking … Embry’s cavalier attitude toward the placement of this exceptionally large drug treatment in an already highly impacted, high poverty neighborhood struggling to revitalize further underscores Abell’s lack of concern for the community.”
- No United Way $ for Abell

“Back in the ’80s, Mount Clare Junction started out as very much the same kind of mixed use office/retail complex anchored by a Safeway supermarket as is McHenry Row, which just opened up in Locust Point with Harris Teeter. Except Mount Clare was much more ambitious and historically attuned. Back then, Barre Circle/Hollins Hill/Union Square was a much hotter area than Locust Point. Now the retail is almost all gone and this is what it has all come to.”
- Gerald Neily

“The comments made by Mary Lynn Carver, Senior VP of Communications for University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) are an absolute disgrace and an embarrassment to the reputation of such a prestigious institution… Not one word about the new UMMS methodone maintenance center was communicated by Mary Lynn Carver (or any other University representative) to the community at any level before the center opened.”
- UMMS Lost in Translation

“Good people are being driven out of Baltimore City every day. A NEW documentary just rapped about this phenomenon. You can get details at www.fleeingbaltimore.com. A good portion of the documentary was filmed in this area of Baltimore.”  
- Jane
__________________________________
Cluster of drug treatment programs driving old and new residents away, protesters say

“The city has forgotten the southwest, southeast, northwest and northeast corners in general. Unless you live in a new development like Harbor East or a redesigned area like Brewers Hill, everyone else takes a back seat.”
- Edfitz

“This issue brings up a lot of sadness for me. For about 20 years, I lived and worked around 25th and Charles … I saw the area between 25th and North Avenue become hollowed out – as the advertising agencies that used to be the commercial focus moved out into the county and were replaced by points of service. When the ad agencies folded, the service businesses that depended on them (lunch places, dry cleaners, etc) also folded or moved. Less people from the surrounding area would visit because the things they used were gone. The street level population makeup became mostly users of the points of service and the housing became vacant. . . I feel sad every trip up Calvert from downtown. When I first moved to Baltimore, every house on Calvert was occupied.”

- Bmorepanic

“This area is very fragile … It has wonderful housing stock, close to downtown, major highways and transit. It has the makings of being an attractive, stable, diverse city neighborhood. I have watched this area over the years take a step forward and take two steps back since the 90′s…I think it is great the citizens are standing up.”
- Baltimoreplaces

“We are the 10,000.”
- PigtownPrincess, via Twitter
__________________________________
New on-line database of city contracts misses many of them

“We will continue careening into a world of total privatization lest the people in government bring an attitude of excellence and a passion for transparency to their jobs. This database should be a wonderful tool for citizens to keep an eye on where their money is going. Instead, it’s more proof that government can’t even do the little things right.”
- Richard

“a campaign of disinformation
can be waged against citizens
with transparency as weapon. . .”

-Usha Nellore, excerpt

“The term ‘agency-specific needs’ is lacking an explanation by the Department of Finance, the source of this data dump. One can infer a host of definitions, but an official one is preferable. So here’s one for our new Finance Director, Mr. Harry Black. . .  What say you, sir?”

-KTrueheart
_____________________________________
Jimi Hendrix and me: Bob Hieronimus reflects on a man few really knew

“It is Jimmy Hendrix as Vishnu in that picture – completely inappropriate  and audacious even by my lax religious standards.  We Hindus suffer a lot of insults for our tolerance.  My mom would go berserk if she sees that. . . When desperate and out of ideas borrow from the religions or when bored satirize a faith or a belief – that should get you attention – not considered prostitution but liberation.”

- Unellu

“The back of the bus is the cover of Hendrix’ “Axis: Bold As Love” album.”
- Gerald Neily
__________________________________
Inside City Hall: BOE approves quickly a lot of spending

“Any time a city contract is awarded for a certain amount ($500k-$1M), they should have a direct representative of the organization or company there to answer questions about how this money is going to be used exactly.”
- Baltimoreplaces

“what you don’t realize is the city directs the contractor to do the work ahead of time. the agency reviews it, but the contractor doesn’t get paid until it goes before the board formally. The other thing that really really is awful is the contractor could go YEARS without being paid for work performed. not chump change either. 6 figure money.”
- PCCP

“Nobody trusts their decisionmaking anymore.”
- Rhonda Wimbush, via Facebook.

“Dear Brew, every time you write budget, you write good stand-up comedy.”
- Unellu
___________________________________
City Water Bureau moves to replace problem meters

“Just for the record, my meter is out front, under the sidewalk and the bill is wrong.”
- Mair

“Mine, too, Mair. A one-person household should not be paying twice as much as a family of four two doors down.”
- Sobohon

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Below the Fold

  • March 24, 2014

    • Last Thursday, I sent an email to the Mayor’s Office of Communications asking for some basic responsiveness: Please return our emailed queries and phone calls about stories. Please send us the same routine emails you send to other members of the media. Lately, more so than usual, they haven’t been. It’s a shame because, even [...]

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