Best of Brew Comments

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Hope and a haven for a neglected population: homeless teens

“The reason the homicide total is up for 2012 is because an astonishing 22 of the victims are between the ages of 18-19, up from 10 in 2011. Already in 2013 there have been 3 teens murdered. Most of these kids are homeless or near-homeless. “
- Cham Green

“As bad as life on the streets is for these kids imagine how much worse their home life was for them to see homelessness as a better alternative.”
- discer

“Many of these kids are not homeless out of choice or because their home life is worse. While some are runaways, many are homeless because no one will have them after their parents have died. Among this population parents have a high incidence diabetes and other chronic diseases. Parents do not have ready access to drug rehab centers to get themselves cleaned up. Parents do not have financial or emotional help. The children are victims of a torn social fabric. These teens are anxiety ridden with a vagrant lifestyle they cannot help. It is horrible we have so many of them now in urban areas across the land. . . The drop in center activists are angels.”
- ushanellore

“This is not a good sign that in big cities like Baltimore, there are so many homeless young people, young mothers, unemployed etc.”
- matselde
Concierge who “agitated” for better treatment says he was fired for it

As someone who marches with these Hyatt employees and the many labor and social groups that support them I thank these workers for saying ‘enough is enough’. . . We thank the National Labor Board for selecting this case to pursue as their budget has been slashed to make it difficult for them to do oversight. None of this would be happening if Baltimore wasn’t #1 in the entire country for allowing businesses to get away with impoverishing its working class. These labor organizations like Unite Here 7/ Workers United/ and SEIU are doing a good job making labor’s voices heard.  We want more to come!!”
- cwals99

“Didn’t the concierge-bellman also receive tips? Citing the base wage without this fact is a bit misleading as it should have doubled or tripled his pay, at either post. Guests stiff the maids, but not the bellman. Not that it is relevent to whether or not he was treated fairly, but I’m guessing anyone who refuses to help a guest is not really Hyatt material.”
- MC 2012

MC 2012, you really are 2012 or you are from management. Look, it is not management’s concern if the guy is earning tips. Just because he can earn tips and generous tips at that does not mean they can stiff him. The problem was that they exploited him as a bellman, paying him less and stretching him thin. Then they expected him to play the role of a  concierge on the salary of a bellman. . .”
- ushanellore

“Thank you Brew for this. I know many don’t think it’s newsworthy anymore that companies view workers as disposable, but some of us do. I hope people make it to the end of the piece, to this on-the-mark statement from Pollard: “It gets me how these politicians, it’s always ‘We want to bring in people with money.’ It’s never ‘We want to help the people who have always been here.’”
- Claudia Balog, via Facebook
Juvenile jail scrapped, but state still plans $70M for facilities

“It is fascinating that with all of the talk about youth violence, I rarely hear about child abuse. There is nearly a 1 to 1 correlation for children who were severely as children and adult violence. Yet it is never talked about. We live in country that treats it children terribly and often use them for selfish gains. Every day in this country 5 children die directly from abuse, untold more are hurt and scared forever.”
- Christian Dunn, via Facebook
State Center opponents score a major victory

“This is probably for the best. The project was always a boondoggle. A better idea would be for the state to invest its time and resources in restoring and rejuvenating some of the historic commercial structures in the downtown core. . . There are plenty of underutilized or empty historic buildings downtown that could be renovated for far less than what the State Center redevelopment would cost taxpayers”
- richard chambers

“This is the second major victory in the last couple of months in favor of the party that challenged the State for failing to follow the procurement procedures. The other matter is at the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals and involves the inmate pharmacy contract, which was discussed at the last Board of Public Works meeting.”
- MarylandEsquire
Activist Kim Trueheart arrested at City Hall

“They hate when she goes to the meetings because she is usually the only person who tries to keep them in check. She is one of few that will call them out for spending exorbitant amounts of money in a matter of minutes. . . She is non-violent, magnificently smart and informed, and she knows her rights. Not to mention her main concern is how the children of the city are being treated and educated. I do not believe for a second that Kim has done anything outside of her rights.”
- Abigail Fanara

“The authorities will say, ‘She makes it impossible for us to do our jobs. She is a career activist! We have things to do. We can’t be answering all her questions. We have places to go and decisions to make. She stymies the process. She doesn’t understand the issues. She doesn’t see the difficulties of the decision makers. She is looking for attention! She is a public nuisance.’ I say to the authorities. Go join Bashar Assad. He needs you in his cabinet.

The ones that need meds and rehab are the politicos and the police of Baltimore. SRB is running an autocracy and is using her police and the opaque BDC to intimidate her vocal opponents. She wants a smooth sail for her lopsided budget decisions and her brutal cost saving measures that usually inflict pain on the poor, the elderly and essential services even as she cozies up to her developer friends and her campaign contributors.”
- ushanellore

“While her enthusiasm is admirable and her cause just you simply can’t continually get up in peoples faces and not expect a reaction. Long term problem is that now you are labeled a trouble maker and your credibility is diminished.”
- discer

“So after you have been nice, polite, ask the right questions, get no answers and are being abused, then what? Nice does not always do it. That is Kim’s whole point. We need to know what is happening and stop staying in the middle.”
- lutherh

“As for discer saying Kim’s credibility is diminished – yes, indeed that’s what the authorities want. In the good old USSR they sent activists to mental institutions and to jail to decrease their credibility.”
- ushanellore

“A month-long ban from your right to be at city hall is a major thing. If it’s happening simply because someone is raising inconvenient points, then that is a major assault on our liberties.”
- Paul Harrell

“Could be this was an abuse of power to silence a dissenting voice. Could be this was an appropriate reaction to repeated disruptive behavior. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle – an overreaction to someone deliberately pushing the envelope of acceptable behavior. How much of an overreaction and how much pushing is probably unknowable, in any objective, epistemological sense.”
- Barnadine_the_Pirate

“Ooooh, Bernardine is invoking the ‘he-pissed’em-off-logical’ argument which has been used many times in the history of Baltimore politics. BOLO-gate is only the latest.”
- Gerald Neily

“Those who are informed troublemakers are often surprisingly successful. The authorities hated the Baltimore Algebra Project who kept on protesting the Youth Jail, but look what happened. When Martin Luther King was in a Birmingham jail, local pastors wrote to him advising him to moderate his tactics. You should read his eloquent reply: ‘Letter From a Birmingham Jail’. Often people with power will only respond to people who confront and expose them.”
- Nick Sheridan

“To: Discer: ~ Your blurred vision provides an interesting perspective on my advocacy which you know nothing about, but I do thank you for recognizing that I am right!!! For the record I am NOT too aggressive, militaristic or combative. Working within the system is one way to effect change, however it is NOT the only way and for you or anyone else to discount the impact of nonconforming individual advocacy is naive and disrespectful to our forefathers. . . “
- trueheart4life

“Kim, glad you’re out. Thank you so much for your courage and your dedication. Your courage is admirable.”

- krisnorthrup
Trueheart released in the wee hours

“This story gets more appalling by the second. BOLO: ‘Be on the lookout’ for anyone who regularly attends public hearings and has the fortitude to inform and educate herself on issues concerning the process and budget appropriations that impact the children and families in her community.”
- claudelaw

“What is going on in Baltimore? Is @MayorSRB trying to silence her most vocal critics.”
- SheWhoMustBeObeyed, via Twitter
ACLU: City Hall bans “improper” and not constitutional

“Thank you for this article. I appreciate your evenhanded reporting and am thankful to the ACLU for stating why I felt dismay at the concept of someone being ‘banned’ for being confrontational with government officials but in a non-violent way that didn’t interrupt anything but political showboating.”

- bmorepanic

“I have seen where [she] can be confrontational and abusive at times. This is unfortunate as it clouds what are legitimate concerns.”
- discer

“Ms.Trueheart has never been abusive on this site. . . She is not a cuddly kitten. She is a tigress and she roars but that’s what makes [her] interesting, illuminating and fun. Let her roar.”
- ushanellore

“I wouldn’t know what’s going on in City Hall if it wasn’t for Kim Trueheart!”
- Kurt Tesnau, via Facebook

“The First Amendment is sacred. Our country has been built upon it.”

- Gerald Neily

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  • Gerald Neily

    I eagerly await each new episode of the Usha’n'James Show, but they’ve outgrown mere Brew articles. The Brew needs to bottle Usha’n'James and let us drink their distilled spirits straight up, not watered down. Usha won this round of “Best Of” 5 to 0. I won’t question your score, Fern, but clearly they need each other to bounce off their patted sell. How about giving them their own alternating column to pour over?

  • James Hunt

    Gerry Neily wrote:

    ” …. I won’t question your score, Fern, but clearly they need each other to
    bounce off their patted sell. How about giving them their own
    alternating column to pour over?”


    Esteemed hombre, homonyms will be your undoing: “patted sell” s/b padded cell. “pour over” s/b pore over. At any rate, if the judges are scoring this 0-5, then it’s time to retire the field to the prolix poetess from the House of Usha.

  • macnac

    Lost in this weeks news is the Mayor’s plan to offer tax “forgiveness” to developers in certain, blessed neighborhoods.  Apartments developed in these designated zones will be exempt from property taxes for up to 15 years, even though the City will provide certain infrastructure upgrades that are necessary to the development.

    The traditional justification for these sweetheart deals is that it provides “incentives” to build in the City where, under other circumstances, investment would be financially unwise. The thinking is that the developers would not build in Baltimore if they had to pay normal City taxes.

    But there are problems with this formula.  First, by relaxing the burden of taxes for these chosen ones, the Mayor increases the tax burden on the rest of us…. thus increasing the  incentive for homebuyers to choose the County over the City.   This would not be an issue if those properties exempted from taxation were also required to provide their own police, trash and civic services… but as it stands, the property tax payers throughout the City are subsidizing the apartment developers in these chosen areas by providing them free services.

    Of course, there is always the question of why the City should be choosing to line the pockets of chosen developers, but the close relationship between the Development Community and the Mayor’s Campaign funds has been explored enough to make that answer obvious to most.

    But we also have to ask why we are effectively transferring tax money from homeowners to renters.  Shouldn’t we be offering tax breaks to those who want to build or buy in the City as well as to those who want to build rental properties?  Better yet, shouldn’t we be trying to equalize and lower the tax rate so it makes sense to invest in Baltimore even without special tax breaks?   Are these “spot solutions” really going to make the City a more attractive place to own a home or do business?  The answer is probably “yes” for a chosen few… but a resounding NO for those of us who will foot the bill…..

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 [...]