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Best of Brew Comments

Setting off tremors with the p-word (privatization).

tenniel top

Photo by: Sir John Tenniel

Mount Vernon Place privatization approved by city

“The headline is pretty funny, but sadly typical for this website. First of all ‘privatization’ is an incorrect classification at best and hysteria-baiting lie at worst. Are the four squares of MVP all of sudden for private use only? No, of course not.”
- Commodity, Firmness and Delight

“Where has The Brew said that ‘privatization’ means ‘for private use only’? And where has The Brew said this is a categorically bad idea? Now if the trees were chopped down in Bryant and Central Parks, maybe your parallel would make a real point.”
- Gerald Neily

“Regarding our choice of the word ‘privatization,’ not only will the physical restoration of the park grounds and Washington Monument be under the control of the Conservancy, but day-to-day management – including park events such as the annual Flower Mart and Baltimore Book Festival – will be under its purview. Article 6.2 of the agreement says: ‘The City hereby authorizes the Conservancy to arrange Concessions, and Conservancy events, in Mount Vernon Place and charge a fee for such arrangements . . .’ In addition: ‘The Conservancy may enter into a contract with one or more vendors of merchandise or food to operate such Concessions other than during events taking place in Mount Vernon Place.’”
- baltimorebrew

“The $35,000, approved two years ago in a different agreement, ends in three years. After that, virtually no taxpayer funds  will be spent in Mount Vernon Place. That’s not ideal, but it’s reality. Nobody on the Conservancy stands to gain financially. . .  It is likely, as you point out, that the Conservancy would contract out services, but the goal is to provide services that the city no longer provides.”
- Afrank

“The Conservancy can’t get started a moment too soon. Huzzah for Andy Frank and all the folks putting their money and time on the line!”
- James Hunt

“I hope Mr. Andy Frank and the conservancy truly support similar partnerships occurring throughout my home town. Similar agreements should and must be undertaken by our cash-strapped municipal government to sustain access to a host of other neglected City-owned gems like recreation centers, pools and parks. The blatant inequities inherent in this Conservancy agreement lead me to stand in protest of it purely because it is so NOT aligned with recent agreements the City has pursued for partnerships with neglected recreation centers – a real double standard. BMore Politricks and its Elitist class WINS again!”
-Ktrueheart

“This is different than the selling of historic properties by the city, right? While it sounds like the plan has some flaws (in terms of cutting trees), I hope the best comes from it. I live next to the Roland Park Water Tower, which has been trying to put together to funding to do its own renovations of the area, since the city seems totally un-interested in even the most basic of upkeep, and really hope that when the time comes, they’ll be able to execute on their plan.”
- Ben Kutil

“The modern municipality is mostly a healthcare/employment agency/consulting sop interested solely in self-preservation. It offers some feeble, mediocre services on the side (almost as if they’re an accident), but as long as most of a municipality’s income and attention continue to be diverted to benefits and perks for its employees and consultants, then I don’t see the maintenance of parks, rec centers, and other public spaces becoming a municipal priority in my lifetime. So IMO it’s better to hand over their upkeep to reputable private parties/groups who have a real interest in keeping those public spaces beautiful and functional.”
- Marc
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Why bees and people swarmed at Sherwood gardens yesterday

“Excellent, just excellent. It isn’t all about mega-arenas or convention centers. Simply quality of life enhancements can go along way, especially a beautiful park. Make a park beautiful and people want to be there, live next to it, businesses then want to serve the people and on and on.”
- Baltimoreplaces

“‘Wouldn’t permanent ‘scenes’ like the one at Sherwood Gardens yesterday persuade some suburbanites and visitors to nest here?’ Probably not. Few see it, while the St. Patrick’s Day beatdown of a drunken tourist from Virginia is all over the Web and was in papers as far away as Ireland.”
- James Hunt

“Organizations like the Project for Public Spaces (of William H. Whyte fame) have long argued that it’s amazing how bad we are at making lovable public spaces when they’re actually quite easy to make. . . Sherwood Gardens is impeccably maintained. Some of Baltimore’s other parks have gone to seed: you can see many traces of former glory and elegance in parks like Clifton, but the out-of-control undergrowth suggests neglect.”
- Marc (whose long, thoughtful comments we include here in full)

“Maybe the next time some city cop is about to do something incredibly stupid that will result in yet another massive lawsuit settlement, we can implore him think of the tulips.”
- Barnadine the Pirate

“This is why planning matters!”
- FarronNGeorge, via Twitter

“The city is investing in Herring Run Park by adding trees, then letting the park to overgrow. That way they have less space to maintain. The area residents have less open space. The city slowly adds trees year after year so people don’t notice.”
- parkside
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Campaign contributor wins big award for replacing Baltimore’s water meters

“It’s important to know about the campaign contributions, but an unresponsive bidder is an unresponsive bidder. If I’m looking for a contractor to build a house and someone proposes building a garage instead, why would I select them?”
- Able Baker

“AMI metering requires a substantial infrastructure investment to make work – you need to deploy a wide-area wireless network to read these meters. I’m wondering how much of that cost is included in this contract or if the city is even going to bother since they don’t care about reading water meters anyway.”
- Peter

“Somebody please give our Mayor’s spokesman a dictionary ‘undisputed’. . . he’s got to be kidding??? Does he even remember the innumerable times he’s had to defend the many disputed/questionable actions by this administration?”
-  Ktrueheart
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Taxpayers give the mayor an earful about the 2013 budget

“Honestly, for Jack [Young] to say they have tried to be as transparent as possible is, well . . . just not an honest statement at all. If the city council president is (honestly) unaware of how incredibly NON-transparent their spending habits are, then he probably isn’t qualified to be in this position. An audit by Federal Investigators is desperately needed to truly have transparency.”
- Gayle A. Grove, via Facebook

“Between the Brew and the citizens who want answers, it is becoming a close shave for the rulers – and YET – they manage to be obdurate, corrupt, obfuscatory and absolutely set in their ways. Remarkable tenacity of wrongheaded purpose is all I can say. KTrueheart is a sterling activist – she defines the meaning of a true democracy.”
- Unellu

“Educate thyself.”
- BmoreFreeSchool, via Twitter

“I think we need to hire some more consultants.”
- Westside Resident
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Inside City Hall: Fixing up the Benton Building gets pricey

“‘Go over the estimate’ is a phrase that implies 10-20% in my mind – not $1.4 million or an overage of about 82%. I do have a suspicious mindset about the constant horrendous overages. It smells really bad to me. What does the city’s budget actually mean when all the money is bled off into constant civil suit settlements and EWO’s. . . It’s hard for me to ignore that to ‘go over the estimate’ on one project = entire sum needed to fill pools and recreation centers’ budget shortages for three years.”
- Bmorepanic

“When will the baltimore brew understand that anytime you do rehab work it will almost ALWAYS go above the original estimate. esp when it comes to interior work. Its not the contractors fault the drawings/instructions from the city were inadequate. Another non story. I am not suggesting that all of the EWO’s are squeaky clean, but baltimore brew has failed time and time again to find a smoking gun.”
- PCCP

“‘. . . anytime you do rehab work it will almost ALWAYS go above the original estimate.’ With that line, you have delivered a broadside attack on the entire process. As such, who needs smoking guns?”
- Gerald Neily
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Big Baltimore police presence for small Trayvon Martin protest

“Police were prepared based on the group that assembled on March 26. Nothing wrong with that.”
- Roger

“The last gathering was one of the most peaceful large groups I’ve ever seen – much less violent/rowdy than an equivalent number of football fans. If the city government didn’t have reason to be afraid of its own people, this reaction would not happen.”
- Leo
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 Spiniello low bidder for replacing problem water meters

“I guess the question is – Does Spiniello have a history of underbidding contracts in order to win them, but then making up their actual cost through EWO’s?”
- Josh Hall

“I have a major issue in that the city basically gave Spiniello a chance to figure out what it takes to do these things before they advertised 4 contracts simultaneously. . . I am dying to know how Spiniello plans on replacing these within the contract time(s) allotted.”
- PCCP

“Oh me of little faith. My meter is out front, under the manhole in the sidewalk, no snow meant no estimated reading, and my last bill was wrong. Methinks there are problems other than ‘ARBs’.”
- Mair

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More of the Daily Drip »

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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