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Best of Brew Comments

A sampling of reaction to last week's Brew posts.

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Photo by: monkbot.com

What a federal audit tells us about City Hall

“All I’m wishing for is financial transparency. We’ll deal with accountability later. Let’s just start with the baby step of actual, meaningful, rigorous audits, and transparency about the results. We can deal with blame and punishment later. It took the feds to bring this to light; if the city had its way, nobody would ever know how any money was spent.”
- Barnadine_the_Pirate

“Excellent article, though upsetting for us city residents. I think I’m through with this mayor, in spite of some good things she’s done. Any realistic alternatives on the horizon?”
- Nick Sheridan

“Absolutely shocking.”
- Ian P. Sokoloski, via Facebook

“It appears Baltimore gov’t treats audits as political weapons/negotiation fodder rather than accountability tools.”
- Poe Knows, via Twitter

“What consequences are there from this poor accounting? Can city officials (not rank and file workers) be held criminally/civilly responsible for these actions?”
- p johnson

“Not at all surprising. Same song yesterday, same song yesterday.”
- Brenda Alston, via Facebook

“Corruption, incompetence, and mismanagement isn’t limited to Baltimore City. You should read some of the recent audit reports issued by the Office of Legislative Audits on the problems with State agencies.”
- MarylandEsquire

“This is terrible. Baltimore is a sad city and any city or state agency within it is full of ignorant people who don’t want to do their jobs. . .  The people who desperately need help are punished because someone in the office screwed up. Yes speaking from experience here.”
- Aleta Coffey

“It is a fact that all of these people, some of whom I have known for years, fall silent when developments like this audit happen. I can see their faces daily in the paper and on Facebook attending a feel-good event of one type or another, or reading to third graders, or celebrating one little event after another, but not a one of them, save Jack Young, Carl Stokes and a couple of others even come close to crossing the threshold. This Has to Stop—our city is being fleeced. Rather, these people, including the leadership of the GBC, and the non-profits, legal firms, accounting firms—all of the interests who have something to gain or lose with the city—remain stuck, sidelined by FEAR, yes fear, that they might not get the next invitation in the mail.”
- Chris T. Delaporte
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Hopkins takes on neighborhood building in its own ‘hood

“Although there’s a weak promise to preserve low-income housing, the gentrification initiative which has been proposed involves pushing out renters and renovating not just properties but whole neighborhoods to attract (white) ‘upper-middle-class homebuyers’ in from the county.”
- faU1

“The only thing that can turn Baltimore and its neighborhoods around is private & institutional investment and people giving a damn. They go hand-in-hand. The great communist wealth redistribution ‘aint going to happen. Let’s come back to reality. Johns Hopkins making a $10 million investment is a pretty damn good thing.”
- Day_Star

“This is taking WD Schaefer’s ‘Shadow Government’ to the next level, adding further layers of government when the current levels don’t work. . .  Each new level is exempt from the otherwise imposed taxes and constraints, leaving it free to engage in various ‘but for’ deals.”
- Gerald Neily

“Hopkins is no longer a private non-profit, it is a corporation and as such should have long been paying taxes to the city’s general fund. It is starting to patent its research and follow MIT and Stanford in openly running corporate R and D on campus. It is a business. . . When a business that is not paying taxes tells the city that it will donate money to projects for its own benefit. . . You have Bahrain or Nigeria, you don’t have America. Corporate politicians like we have in Maryland will not protect public assets and interests. They will allow this quasi-public transfer to happen openly.”
- cwals99

“This investment is creating a win-win for the neighborhoods around the campus and JHU. As long as there are lines open for community input into the process I don’t see the harm. . . If people want to see Baltimore get better, Baltimore needs a bigger tax base (and lower taxes, but I digress) of well paid professionals that can pay the taxes needed to support this great city’s redevelopment. If people with jobs and kids don’t want to live in the city then it is game over, hello Detroit.”
- BmoreFree

“10 million dollars/10 years/200 blocks. Thinking about $5k per block per year and comparing it to the photo of east 20th Street above, I can’t help wondering what can be accomplished. Demolish one house per year? Pay for one day of street cleaning every 3rd week? Work with another non-profit and fix up 3-4 roofs per year?. . . I strongly agree with Mr. Neily. Why can’t government work for us?”
- bmorepanic
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Big news from the ‘burbs: bike lane coming to Towson

“I’m skeptical of the sharrows portion of this plan, as they’re quite ineffective on major roads.”
- Jed Weeks

“During rush hours, several segments of the proposed bike route are congestive nightmares, so the last thing that is needed is the addition of spandex clad impediments. . . A far better use of the grant and tax money would be to extend the running track at Towson High School. Then, the bicyclists could safely ride around in circles without needlessly blocking the travel of the majority.”
- HS
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City Council set to approve $22M in tax breaks for the Superblock

“As the article states, Lexington Square hasn’t secured financing, and worse, they have yet to sign a single retailer to fill the box stores they have yet to build. . . The Superblock project has been attacked repeatedly in the courts and by activists at the Department of Planning. It seems this Leviathan cannot be stopped.”
- Arabella_Woodhope

“Do you think we could get a city ordinance passed that would require basic tax and math lessons to our Council members? It seems they are a bit lost with the whole concept of investment and return, allowing themselves to be lead around by numbers put together by these developers.”
- BmoreFree

“There are so many things wrong here it’s hard to know where to start. But two things come immediately to mind. First, what’s wrong with a retail district made up of small shopkeepers who cater to low and moderate income Baltimoreans? That’s what we’ve had on the West Side for 40 years and I can’t see why that needs to change. Sure, the area has its ‘grungy’ parts, but I bet that small business loans and facade enhancement grants would do more to improve things than multi-million dollar PILOTS for out of town developers. Second, if SRB wants more families in Baltimore, she needs to explain to those of us who already own homes here why we carry the property tax burden while corporations from out of state get mammoth tax breaks. It’s not fair and I have yet to see how all of these tax-free downtown projects make life in my neighborhood one bit better.”
- RickfromBmore

“Is there anyone in Baltimore political circles actively opposing this horrible sort of development? . . . I know there are quite a few of us who are frustrated with this stuff, but I’m not aware of any organization actively agitating for different development models.”
- peter matchette
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Slow progress of ShopRite supermarket frustrates Howard Park

“The election is over. Why would the mayor suddenly take an interest in enforcing the development of this land? Besides, the developer already has been granted the tax breaks he needed; why build the market? Until citizens understand how their tax dollars work and that a one-party system is the worse thing for our neighborhoods, these projects will continue to wait.”
- AuthorShereeseM

“Note to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: Tell Mr. Nilson that his answer is UNACCEPTABLE and he needs to move with the same level of urgency for Howard Park that he has for Lexington Square, Harbor Point, Horseshoe Casino and Harbor East. Enough of your preference for downtown development. This is about neighborhoods!!”
- trueheart4life

“So stupid and bureaucratic! I wish they would start just start construction of the grocery store and worry about the pharmacy as they are building.”
- sundried tomato, via Facebook
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Firefighters tell their stories at holiday model train display

“Fantastic….one of my favorite things about this time of year in Baltimore.”
- Rocky_Ground

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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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