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Best of Brew Comments

Readers react to recent articles about Baltimore.

“Gold-plated” parks for Harbor Point? City is budgeting $59 million for them

“As far as I can tell, we’d be spending millions and millions of dollars to renovate land we’d then have to rent back and it will be used for a precious few people to sit and have lunch. We will need to provide extraordinary maintenance services and security forever. We end up serving very few residents and they’d mostly be fairly wealthy.”

– bmorepanic

“Does anybody know how the city plans to deal with the congestion this development will cause? I’m not an expert, but I can’t see a future where harbor point isn’t creating mad congestion on Aliceanna and Fleet Streets.”
– Aaron Mirenzi

“I do not see what this development is actually costing the city. The money the city is ‘spending’ is coming from the money that the development generates. So the net cost to the city is nothing, and in time the development will bring in money to the city. I think other areas of the city lack the ability to generate enough revenue to pay for the TIFs.”
– Wally Pinkard

“The City has put millions into Harbor East (1992 – 2012) and many more millions into the Inner Harbor since 1975. Can taxpayers tell the City to focus on another area? Do the rest of the City neighborhoods deserve some investment and some top notch parks. Should the City look for a new neighborhood to spur development and to reverse decades of economic decline? It seems that Michael Beatty, and perhaps you, think only the affluent waterfront areas gets the City’s attention.”
– Lizzie 58

“My father worked for Allied and he told me years ago that Harbor Point would likely be developed one day and NEVER to consider buying there no matter how nice it was going to be because the chromium COULD NOT be safely mitigated. This from a man who had no problem with the fact that he had to make sure the thread in his suits was all cotton because the plant fumes would literally dissolve polyester thread!”
– Gina Kazimir, via Facebook
No affordable housing planned at Harbor Point

“At least 75% of the city’s housing is ‘affordable.’ Huge swaths of the city have average home values under $100,000. There are lots of reasons to complain about high-end housing and ‘gentrification,’ but it pays the bills.”
– Barnadine_the_Pirate

“This seems easy enough. I don’t want to provide them $107 million in tax dollars, they don’t want to provide affordable housing. Lets call it even. If they want to pay full freight, let them do what they want.”
– ham_snadwich

“Nothing will ever change in Bmore if there is not support for ALL efforts, especially low cost housing. The root causes of the recent increase in violence DEMAND attention that ALL citizens can live in and enjoy a thriving city not just the well off and tourists.”
– Lorrie Batton, via Facebook

“The City and HABC argue that a cost of $250,000 per unit to include affordable housing is too much. That amount, however, is not out of the ordinary. The City and HABC have regularly spent $250,000 per unit – more in the case of the HOPE VI redevelopment projects – for infrastructure and housing construction costs to develop affordable housing. Nor does this amount include on-going operating subsidies which are also typically provided (as they could be for Harbor Point). The real question is whether Harbor Point actually needs a public subsidy of this magnitude. But if the City decides, in its wisdom, to dole out subsidies to Beatty and Exelon, City residents are at least entitled to expect the project to comply with the already minimal requirements of the ordinance in return.”
– bsamuels

“Amazing they can budget money for BS like this but can’t find a dime to keep fire companies open to ensure public safety.”
– Michael Reisinger, via Facebook

“No, it absolutely shouldn’t be required to build low-income housing! The entire city of Baltimore is ONE GIANT LOW INCOME HOUSING PROJECT! There are so many empty buildings in this town and overall it’s a very cheap place to rent or own. Part of the public is the middle-class that needs (desperately) for the overall profile of this city to rise above crappy. We should pray that 200 more developers come and make similar investments. A rising tide lifts all boats.”
– Andrew

“Stick to your guns Carl Stokes.”
– Rhonda Wimbish, via Facebook
Sun celebrates powerful women for their bios – and body-hugging ball gowns?

“Nothing like praising women for their accomplishments and brains to then parade them around in pageant attire.”
– Molly Ann, via Facebook

“The whole thing is weird. When did the Balto Sun get taken over by Ladies Home Journal?”
– Aimee Pohl, via Facebook

“Hi, I am one of the women in the feature, but am not wearing an evening gown. I actually was not provided with any guidance about how to dress or how others were dressing, and spent some fretful hours in the fitting room trying to guess what would be appropriate. In terms of the formal wear, my best guess is that they took advantage of being able to promote local female clothing retailers by outfitting some of the high power women on the list in their clothes and accessories, which is pretty common practice in almost ALL photo-based features. That being said, I agonized over what to wear for this, just like I do for almost *every* meeting and event I attend. The fact of the matter is that female professionals are endlessly judged about their attire.”
– Jlgartner

“Thx Brew! Props to Jen Michalski (a friend who I congratulated earlier for not going there), Rosie Napravnik, the forever stylish Dr. Hayden, and the others who refused to make ornaments of themselves for this sad, silly pageant. I get that entertainment celebs, Erika Brannock, and other very young women not on the public-policy track would choose high styles. But the Mayor? Judge O’Malley? Are spangles really what they want to be known for?”
– eeby

“This gripe seems misogynistic to me. Nothing inappropriate about a fancy dress and I think she [Mayor Rawlings-Blake] looks great.”
– Heather Iliff, via Facebook

“SRB was once obese and unhealthy, she suffered a minor heart attack 30 days into being Mayor of Baltimore. I think that she’s proud of her new body to accompany her professional and personal growth as Mayor – after sharing a moment with me in Target last year, she gave me some good advice on my weight loss journey: ‘you have to change your eating habits AND exercise as well. You can’t just do one or the other.’”
– Billy Wilkins

“The fashion shoot very well sums up the culture at City Hall. The Mayor seems mostly interested in the celebrity lifestyle and living it up surrounded by her girlhood friends. The policy choices – developer tax breaks, grand prix, film production tax credits, even grants to high profile non-profits and causes – make more sense when you think about them as driven by lifestyle. Kudos to the women who choose not to participate in the fashion shoot! And kudos to everyone in sensible shoes out there making a difference in our City!”
– MC2012

“Why do the dresses all look like they are from 1997 prom?”
– Kathryn Gallagher, via Facebook
As part of crackdown, Baltimore gives dirt bike rider prison time

“Thank heaven someone is finally doing something about this horrendous nuisance. I have also been surrounded by numerous bikers who have attacked me. We have long gone to hearings and testified to no avail. At least our neighborhood rarely gets an influx of bikers but we have many friends who can’t sleep at night or use their front porches because of the crowds of thugs who come around at all hours.”
– Michele Rosenberg

“Why won’t the City give them a place to ride? They are trying to do something constructive and stay out of trouble.”
– Waferone

“Waferone, have you ever been totally surrounded by 25 or 30 of these vehicles? Well, I have several times. Driving in and out of two/three lanes, running lights, blocking cars in, etc.I did not feel that these drivers were doing anything constructive. I surely did not want to get into an accident with one of these uninsured/unregistered vehicles where the driver surely would have left the scene with his friends.”
– baltolady

“These illegal dirt bike riders create a sense of lawlessness, which makes the middle-class flee to the safety of the surrounding counties. Without the middle-class tax base, the City can’t afford to keep the rec centers open. The criminals cause the problem, and I’m so sick and tired of hearing the criminals are the victims because the government doesn’t provide them with something.”
– Fleeing Baltimore, via Facebook

“how bout break his legs and reset them in a position that will not allow him to ride one again.”
– Christopher Rhodovi, via Facebook

“long overdue, but too harsh a sentence.”
– Richard Herbert, via Facebook

“I believe that these bikes are means to an end and not means unto themselves. That means, these are drug runners. The city owes them nothing. The city keeps law and order in a best case scenario. These kids are really dangerous when they are on these bikes.”
– Andrew

“They are all drug runners? I’m sure some are, but not all of them no way. Care to justify your belief ?”
– Aaron Mirenzi
Mayor defends extension of consultant’s contract

“Wow. My City paid consultants a million bucks just to be told that one way to save money is to charge ‘higher out of pocket costs’ to employees and ‘to lease, rather than buy, future vehicles for police and other agencies.’ I’m sure Ms. Blake could have figured that out for free by reading the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal or by watching CNBC or the Fox Business Channel.”
– RickinBmore

“Basically the city is admitting that city employees are so stupid and incompetent that they need to pay an outside organization to hold their hands and explain to them what they should have learned in middle school math. Meanwhile the idiot employees that apparently need consultants are paid ludicrously high salaries for doing NOTHING! “
– Adam Meister

“Adam: it is not middle school math. It requires knowledge of sophisticated financial modeling, involving discounted cash flow, projecting future interest rates and investment rates of return, plus principles of actuary science to project cash required for immediate and long-term pensions and health benefits. You should not even assume all CPAs could do it.”
– Lizzie 58

“A hypothetical 20 million by simply recommending we buy cheaper employee insurance is not worth 1 million. If city needs actuarial services for pension projections for budget scenarios why not go to its pension board to co-ordinate and at least buy just one actuarial projection. . . This (& TIFs) is how you wreck a ship of state, not how you right it.”
– Lanas

“Shouldn’t the public be City Hall’s consultant(s)!?!  We’re free. We live here. We know Baltimore. We’d like to save that money and have it go back to the services we have to sacrifice or maybe even create new ones.”
– Adam Van Bavel, via Facebook

“I *think* the 100k salary is to replace the consultants with in-house staff. 100k is probably for one position and it is relatively reasonable instead of 100’s of thousands going to consultants.”
GX Walsh

“GX: The $100K salary is for the 2014 fiscal year, which will overlap with the PFM extension to September 2014. And tucked into the original contract is another extension to retain PFM until September 2015. So it looks like $400,000-a-yr consultants and $100,000-a-yr staff will become the fiscal future of the mayor’s plan to save the city money.”
– baltmorebrew
Spontaneity, Diversity, no cars – an urban studies seminar with a side of fried dough

“Yes, ArtScape is a good event. But why can’t we have local craft beer? Why aren’t local restaurants more involved?”
– Rocky_Ground

“I appreciate the [commentary] about making the city more enjoyable for those of us who live here. This is often a neglected thought while bringing in businesses and new residents. Pride and joy by people who live in the city could be the ticket to Baltimore’s success.”
– Kate Scherr-Adams, via Facebook
Inside City Hall: The Grand What?

“Grand Prix 3 = Another year, more money down the drain, more headaches for those who live and work here. . . and a mayor that doesn’t realize that doing the same thing and expecting different results is a form of insanity.”
– Matthew Riesner

“The prix was a bad move. The city’s losing money, and the inhabitants aren’t happy.”
– Mary

“Another Race debate to move beyond.”
– davethesauve
Possible source of Jones Falls pollution and Inner Harbor fishkill

“I have also documented brown (highly sedimented) water coming from that exact pipe over the last several years. The orange is likely sediment (red-oragne clay sediments abound in this part of Hampden) and they are doing a lot of work on storm sewers in Hampden right now…including an street width hole open to the storm sewer at Keswick & 37th since June 17th.”
– lanas

“That’s sanitary sewer work. The sinkhole is not related.”
– ham_snadwich

“If folks want to i.d. sewage leaks in the Jones Falls they should start and end with outfalls right at the south end of the old Maryland-Pennsylvania Rail platform at 2122 Falls Road. If you walk the length of the jones falls from where it disappears into the aqueducts under Penn station, back to this spot at Union ave, it never smells more like raw sewage than right south of the M&P station. All the time. Sample there.”

– lanas

“There is so much wrong with this city b/c of the terrible way it’s (not) managed. It absolutely breaks my heart.”
– Barbara Ogden, via Facebook
City demolishing two vacants – and the pointed mural activists painted on them

“You can bet it is retaliatory. Point out their incompetence and they give you arrogance.”

– Brian Vaeth

“Why is she furious? Isn’t this the result they wanted? Or is she just angry that her art is going away? As the article says, street art is temporary, and since hers/theirs is designed to force the city into action, she should be thrilled!”
– gracie

“Maybe furious was a little strong. My ire isn’t so much that the city is tearing them down – one of them is quite unsound and could topple over and kill someone. What annoys me is the fact that the City took so long to do something about these properties at all.”

– Carol Ott

“I came up with ‘furious’ and maybe it should have been ‘peeved,’ ‘irritated,’ ‘ticked-off’ or ‘annoyed.’ Thanks Carol, I was hoping you would hop in here and clarify!”

– fs

“I can see why she’s mad. She’s thrilled too, but to her it seems that the city didn’t do anything about the state of these buildings on their own.”
– Daniel Benbow

“The number of buildings in Bmore that need demolition is staggering. I think it is more a failure of capitalism than it is a failure of government. Where are the investors with all that excess capital on Wall St.? Vacants to Values program is a drop in the bucket.”
– Heather Iliff

“Can the city point to another example of posting a notice without a permit number?”
– Robert Strupp

“So whats your point here? The city is finally doing something and people are now complaining about them doing something?”
– Ethan Giffan

“Ethan, the point is that the building has had a condemnation notice for 3 years now, and Baltimore Housing is only now tearing it down in response to being embarrassed by the mural artist and Baltimore Slumlord Watch. That property would have rotted for another five years had that mural not been painted.”
– Matt Gonter

“Mural everything, I guess.”
– Jedediah Mackenzie Weeks

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