Carnage in the streets fuels soul-searching (and conflict) on the page

Following several especially violent weeks in Baltimore, essayists take on City Hall, race, class . . . and each other

trash and district 13

People are getting fed-up with Baltimore – and writing about it.

Photo by: Fern Shen

It’s been hard to keep up with all the grim essays and reportage on life in Baltimore lately.

Already plenty troubled Baltimore has started 2014 with an especially ghastly sequence of murders, stabbings and beatings, and this has prompted some fed-up citizen essayists to try and make some sense of life in the city.

We’re not going to jump in with the opining, we’re just going to supply a few links for those who may want to catch up.

There’s fear, there’s anger, there’s race, there’s class, there’s data, there’s drama. Lots of sadness.

“Baltimore City, You’re Breaking My Heart,” by resident Tracey Halvorsen in Medium has spread across town in viral fashion.

Starting off with the recent story of the 12-year-old girl being held up at gunpoint while she walked to school, Halvorsen says, “I’m growing to absolutely hate it here.”

“Whose Heart is Baltimore Breaking, Really?” by Lawrence Lanahan, who produced WYPR’s “The Lines Between Us” series, takes Halvorsen to task on race and class.

“Crime is not the ‘elephant in the room.’ It’s all anyone talks about here,” Lanahan writes in his personal blog. “The elephant in the room is inequality.”

Another recent take on Baltimore that went viral, and stirred controversy, was a piece published by Salon on Tuesday.

“Too Poor for Pop Culture,” by Baltimore writer and Coppin State University teacher D. Watkins, is a bleak but writerly slice of East Baltimore life:

Two taps on the door, it opened and the gang was all there — four disenfranchised African-Americans posted up in a 9 x 11 prison-size tenement, one of those spots where you enter the front door, take a half-step and land in the yard. I call us disenfranchised, because Obama’s selfie with some random lady or the whole selfie movement in general is more important than us and the conditions where we dwell.

Then comes a Baltimore City Paper piece noting that some commenters on the Salon story have questioned Watkins’ bona fides as a disenfranchised Baltimorean.

“A scan of Watkins’ Instagram account revealed pictures of a swanky hotel room, a Rolex watch, trips overseas, an event with boxer Mike Tyson, and, yes, several selfies,” CP’s Brandon Weigel wrote. Ouch.

(Watkins, in an interview, explains some of this to Weigel, defenders in the comments say this dust-up should not distract readers from a well-written piece, etc. You’ll have to read it.)

Finally, not an essay but some reportage about Baltimore worth reading if you haven’t caught up with it is this piece in Al Jazeera.

“$10 an hour, with no way out,” by Naureen Khan, is the product of spending time with a security guard during his 11-hour shift at Harbor East.

Most of the time, his workplace seems a universe away from the Baltimore that Barnett grew up in — the women who do acrobatic yoga in the window of Lululemon, the drunk homeless man he had to remove from the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott on a frigid night when temperatures dipped to single digits along the East Coast, the condominiums that one tenant told Barnett he pays $5,000 a month to live in. The sheer quantity and variety of lentils sold at Whole Foods.

“They don’t sell this kind of stuff in the market near my house,” Barnett observes.

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  • Piquetour

    40 years of 1 party rule and the welfare plantation.

    • chriseverett01

      Interesting comment. It makes me appreciate the hard work of my Baltimore neighbors who work everyday to make the city a better place to live and raise their families. About 40 years ago, others were part of the shameful “flight” from the city but, fortunately, some courageous souls took a stand to preserve and restore their neighborhoods. There’s a smug, selfish, and sanctimonious segment who snipe from the suburbs – I guess they represent the party that abandoned the city, leaving Baltimore with its “1 party rule.” These parasites come to enjoy the concerts, museums, restaurants, art, music, history, entertainment, nightlife, performances and, after they syphon their fill, they scurry back to their soul-sucking cultural wasteland outside the city. And what do they contribute in return? They only offer shallow, smarmy, self-righteous snark. I bet you feel really good about yourself. LOL!

      • Gerald Neily

        Chris Everett, blaming suburban residents for the city’s problems is a weak strawman, and then blaming them for the city’s lockstep one-party groupthink is even worse. This city gets tons of support from suburbanites and the state. But nevertheless, there are plenty of very dedicated Baltimore residents who just couldn’t take it anymore and had to get out. See the recent Brew article by Mark Brown, a high crime fugitive to Dallas. You bring up the “hard work by neighbors” – that kind of necessary obsession burns some people out! But it does reveal the key: Stronger neighborhoods will be the cornerstone of Baltimore’s salvation.

      • Jeffrey Carroll

        It is frustrating to hear voices with no feet on the ground comment on the sad state of our City all the while JFXing and 395ing their way over its residence so they can recreate and escape. I would like to encourage the onlooker talking from a distance to at least be a cheering section and devoted fan for those who are actually participating in addressing the challenges of this City. Beyond that it would be extremely valuable if suburbanites honestly evaluated their impact on the City both positive and negative. The things demanded, the patronage of businesses the infrastructure used, the taxes not paid. Collectively Baltimoreans are resilient, intelligent, strong, and by heritage we are builders. This is not the time to be faint of heart. This is the time to work harder and smarter and longer.

        • chriseverett01

          Well said, Jeffrey. As I said, city living isn’t for everyone. We’ve all had our share of various experiences – some of us stuck around, some didn’t. To be sure, Baltimore has lots of problems. It’s a bit glib, however, to blame everything on “1 party rule” when the other party ran away instead of striving to make things better. One party is trying (and, perhaps, often failing) – but the other party is just absent. Which is worse?

          There are plenty of fine people who live in the suburbs and who appreciate the careers and many cultural benefits they enjoy as a result of their proximity to a metropolitan center. My criticism was not directed toward them because they know they would intellectually starve without the many positive features (colleges, medical centers, museums, stadiums, etc.) that are only possible with a city the size of Baltimore.

          My disdain is for the smug parasites with tea party mentality who reap all the benefits and then trash talk the city. They bitch and whine and begrudge every tax dollar while forgetting that Baltimore is the cultural and economic engine that make their jobs and a meaningful life possible in what would otherwise be a wasteland of tacky McMansions. Some of us strive to make things better from within the city. Others just sit around the perimeter and pass judgment while doing nothing constructive. They’d do better to just “sit down,” pay their taxes, and shut up while the rest of us stay on the front lines – we’ll do the heavy lifting on their behalf.

          I’d like to see one of those selfish idiots try to “sit me down” – LOL!

          • Andrew

            I agree with your points about the whole state benefitting from the incredible resources in this city that don’t add any tax value owing to their non-profit status. This situation is unjust and really begs for the ONE STATE, ONE TAX RATE movement to be revived. Either that, or toll booths set up for everyone coming in to town to use all these services.

          • ushanellore

            The services are not free. The people who enjoy the amenities of the city pay good money for that privilege. They eat at the restaurants, buy books and clothes in the city stores, shop in the boutiques and buy tickets to the symphony, the special museum exhibits and the theaters both amateur and professional. Come on–visitors come from all over the world to this and other cities. They all add to the vibrancy of any city and augment its finances.

          • River Mud

            What heavy lifting, exactly? Commenting online? Complaining to a completely deaf City leadership structure? What is this heavy lifting you speak of – how many abandoned lots have you greened (City permit processing time: 3-5 years)? How many streams have you stabilized (5-10 years to finalize right of way agreements with City)? How many alleys have you “greened” (4-6 years City approval process)? If your answer is “zero,” don’t feel bad. There are tons of us ready to fight for the rusting hulk which is the City itself. The only one not invested…….is the City. The heavy lifting….well…..the heavy lifting hasn’t even started. It can’t start until the dead weight gets out of the way.

          • Aaron Mirenzi

            the real problem is that only 12 percent of Baltimore votes for the mayor. meaning any individual mayor has to only convince 6.1% of the population to vote for them to win. (unless I’m misunderstanding the voting process in bmore) either way, its easy to win. meaning its easy to corrupt.

        • River Mud

          Harder and smarter and longer doing what, exactly? We have one party in power, with access to the churches and community leaders. They do not stray from their talking points, and are quick to call opponents the nastiest racial slurs you can conceive. They do not welcome ingenuity or advancement, or look for ways to improve city services or community buy-in. Whenever a state or federal agency attempts to better the city’s conditions, the City fights back with both fists to preserve the declining status quo. But yay SRB! PS, this is our 15th straight year living in the City.

      • KnowNothingParty

        As you bemoan the Baltimore bashing from suburban residents try to remember two. A. Most were city residents who left begrudgingly as Baltimore saw further and further decline WITHOUT any real solutions from its so called leaders. B. Most importantly remember that it is suburbanites funding everything, as most things in the city are propped up with state taxpayer subsidies. Now sit down before I sit you down!

        • Aaron Mirenzi

          the same people, whether or not they live in the county would be propping up the same people whether or not, they live in the city. any rich person props up social programs for less rich people. roland park and fed hill props up all of east and west baltimore, right? tell me what I’m missing.

          I have not seen evidence that most residents leave begrudgingly. Perhaps this is true in the last 20 years. But at least initially (were talking the 50s and 60s here), my understanding is that it was common for white families to move when ONE black family moved onto the block. these were people fleeing neighborhoods at the simple prospect that things might get bad, without things actually getting bad yet. again please tell me what I’m missing here. BTW I’m taking this info from a book called “Not In My Neighborhood”

      • James Hunt

        “The party that abandoned the city?” Stay put, there, chris: it will only take me a second to round up four people I know to be dedicated Obama voters who’ve legged it out of the city with their families pretty much for the reasons Tracey Halvorsen and davethesuave outlined. And there are more. Many more..

  • Andrew

    Does anyone really think that if these savages were handed huge piles of money, they would suddenly straighten up and become model citizens?

    • Robyn Su Miller

      Why are you posting a false choice? Who said money instead of education was the answer? We need cops who walk a beat and know the kids before it’s too late.

      • KnowNothingParty

        The residents have asked for cops who walk the beat and know the neighborhood kids for the last 45 years Robyn – and their wishes have been ignored by City Hall. Next you you’ll say a few more “candlelight vigils” is what this city needs.

        • Polterguest

          And when the residents get those beat cops then they complain about the cops actually doing their jobs. It’s all great until someone they know gets arrested and then it’s racism. Give me a break.

  • KnowNothingParty

    As a former longtime Baltimore booster I have to say, put a fork in this city- it aint coming back.

    • Robyn Su Miller

      As a current resident who is part of the comeback, get out of the way of the people who are doing their part.

      • River Mud

        There are thousands more who would love to start, if the City bothered to get out of its own way. And theirs.

    • Aaron Mirenzi

      is already coming back

  • RollaC
    • Andrew

      This is link is awful. It’s people just like this who keep us in this mess. So full of self-righteous piety for their own sentimentality. There is a big difference between a normal person and thugs who get murdered. There’s a big difference between taxpayers and opportunistic parasites. I could go on but I have taxes to pay….

    • River Mud

      Anyone suggesting that taxpayers should love “warts and all” a City with a 50% dropout rate, 75% recidivism rate, and 25% conviction rate can go kick rocks. That diatribe isn’t worth a response. If the worse that guy can say is he’s “not content” with the above, then he’s lost already. If the best he can suggest isn’t a suggestion for action or civic engagement but, “Suck it up or leave”, then, again, go kick rocks, son.

  • davethesuave

    i’ll tell you what the “elephant in the room” really is. and there is not a politician in the city or the state who will mention it. let’s just say it’s not politically expedient. the single biggest problem facing civilized society are the unfit parents, and trust me, i’m using the word “parent” advisedly. kids are NOT born nasty; they are raised that way. we have ALL seen the screaming woman in public, essentially challenging her own children to a duel. how do you survive that kind of disgusting treatment? by keeping a low profile. by the time you’re a teenager, you are angry, and filled with self-loathing. after all, your “parental figure” has told you what a worthless POS you are as you grew up, and (shocker) you now believe it.
    what do you do with all the rage? you spew it. you hit back at whoever & whatever is in close proximity. you deface buildings. you punch your girlfriend in the mouth after you get her pregnant. you bash in someone’s head, and knock out 8 of his teeth, even after he hands you whatever you asked for, and you do this over and over again.
    and the ones who were not emotionally abused as mere kids, who had more or less normal childhoods, watched over by caring parents, look at this behavior, and wring their hands, and wonder if maybe tweaking the public school system, or putting more cops in SUVs and unmarked cars, or bringing in more tax-paying young people, or simply talking about it, will fix the issues and save the day.
    sorry, but it’s never going to be that simple. and the problems are never going to go away completely. because there’s always one more screaming parent out there, who doesn’t give a crap what you think of them. because they don’t care about you. or themselves. or least of all, their own offspring.
    i’m reminded of the end of The Wizard of Oz. there’s nothing in the empty bag for Dorothy. and maybe this is all a bad dream. but at some point, we must wake up. and look the elephant in the eye. and admit that generations of me first, and you last, have brought us to this.

    • Robyn Su Miller

      The perpetual adolescence is from adolescents having kids. The screaming single mom is from a line of frustrated teen moms. The 14 year old 8th grader who stabbed our neighbor to death is a DAD. I trained to be a mentor to a teen mom…and the program was ended before it even began! We need to support/mentor these kids and the kids of kids.

      • River Mud

        Hadn’t heard it expressed that way before. Makes a certain amount of sense.

      • Andrew

        No, we have to take away their babies immediately and put them up for adoption. There are tons of couples who would raise these babies in a responsible way. There is no way to retroactively mentor these kids to be anything more than what they are. Teen pregnancy is a racket for welfare, as any elephant hunter knows.

    • Andrew

      Sounds like you’re describing a culture, not an inequality of money.

  • green lisa

    I think the problem is less being too poor for pop culture than being too poor to protect one’s children from pop culture. When a kid spends all day playing violent video games and watching violent television without adult supervision because the parent has to work two jobs, what should we expect from that child other than violent behavior?

    • Gerald Neily

      So Green Lisa, you’re saying that Baltimore has too much employment, not too little? Aha!

      • green lisa

        Well there are definitely parents with poor parenting skills who are high on drugs while the TV babysits their children. But there are also a lot of people working two or even three jobs and others out looking for jobs. I know this because I work at a library where people come to fill out job applications, which are mostly online now. There are people who spend day after frustrating day at the public access computers filling out job applications.
        There are definitely not enough full-time, stable, well-compensated jobs in this city.

    • Tom Gregory

      Many parents do not see or understand it, but their children’s souls and psyches begin to be stolen by consumer culture at age three. I’m sure Madison Avenue is working on lowering it to two. Parents have little chance of winning that conflict.

  • Matthew Riesner

    After living in Baltimore most of my life, purchasing a home, paying taxes, being involved with my community, cleaning up garbage on my block, being one of the people the city should attract, I left to live in an older, inner Beltway, Baltimore County suburb. After having someone threatened my life and attempt to break into my house when my infant son was asleep when I told a bunch of youths to not fight in front of my house and it took 2 months of my wife meeting with community leaders, police sergeants, going to meetings, to get the police to finally take a report, acknowledging a crime had occurred and pursue the person who committed the crime (a youth who lived across the street…who by the way a court found him guilty but gave him no time or fine), I’m done. Where I moved my property taxes are about the same for a 4 bedroom 2000sq foot single family with a garage as what I was paying for a 2 bedroom rowhouse, the schools have a 90% rate of reading on grade leave or higher (vs 50% in the local elementary school I was zoned for in the city), I have good access to reasonably priced, decent quality shopping, all major crime levels are significantly lower, and my stress level has dropped.

  • RickinBmore

    For what its worth, I grew up in Northern Anne Arundel County and my parents were mugged at gunpoint in Glen Burnie in 1997. We also had to deal with a home break-in a few years before that. In the 12 years I have lived in Baltimore City (mostly in the Northeast) I have never had to call the police once. No break-ins, no muggings, no nothing. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I learned to be careful from seeing what my parents had to deal with growing up. Regardless, it is perfectly possible to live in a neighborhood that isn’t Roland Park or Guilford and still be able to enjoy what this city has to offer without living in fear. For those who are primarily focused on lower taxes, then the County awaits. The City simply can’t compete on that issue. But a very fulfilling life can be had in this town without being a victim.

    • Graby Sauce

      I have had the same experience. I haven’t been untouched by crime, but I have certainly not been scared or put off by it either. “Stuff” can be replaced. I’m in the North/Northeast, too, in a middle/working class neighborhood, and I can’t recommend it or Baltimore enough. This city is so diverse and has so much to offer, but we only ever seem to have time to lament the worst of the city.

      • River Mud

        Next time there’s a rash of daytime burglaries in our neighborhood and the BPD is busy sleeping under an overpass somewhere, I’ll post your address in our window. Because stuff can be replaced. Preferably your stuff. Because my insurance company isn’t a big fan of having to pay for my new stuff, and I don’t make enough cash to fund a free thrift shop out of my own house, of my own personal belongings.

        When I was in our community garden on a weekday at 10am and a bunch of 8 year old kids (3rd grade is optional in Baltimore) came up and begged me for money, I said no. They threatened to stab my 2 year old son, who was with me, if I ever came back to the garden without money. Again, next time I’ll direct them to your home. You can just leave an offering out for them, or whatever. Stuff can be replaced. Right?

    • Matthew Riesner

      I bet when your parents were robbed in AA county, the police took a written report….and if those folks who robbed them were caught(especially if they were clearly identified), they would be looking at some jail time, not simply placed back out in the street. You should consider yourself lucky that you have never had to call the police because what is considered normal, routine, professional police work anywhere else, is not practiced the same way in Baltimore…and even if you can get them into a courtroom, there is a good chance they will not serve a sentence as serious as their crime.

      • RickinBmore

        The police took a report of the mugging, but the suspects were never caught. My point is that crime can happen anywhere. Many people who live in older suburbs like Glen Burnie, Randallstown, Essex, Pikesville, etc. deal with crime too. Baltimore is not a cesspool where everyone lives in abject fear, just waiting to be victimized. You had some very bad experiences. That’s unfortunate. But in a city of 630,000 people each experience is different. You found peace and quiet in the burbs. I found it in Baltimore. Different strokes for different folks……..

        • River Mud

          The statistics, according to BPD, are that Baltimoreans have a 20% chance of being a property crime victim every single day and a 5% chance of being a violent crime victim every single day. You don’t have that in AA County.

      • Carol Ott

        When I was robbed at gunpoint, right here in Baltimore City, less than a year later — two of the three people who robbed me were on their way to court and then prison. Why?

        The robbers were dumb and greedy (as common street robbers tend to be) and committed the same crime a few days later in Baltimore County, and were caught. That set off a chain of events that led to a satisfactory ending for me, but that ending wouldn’t have been possible without the police detectives who worked really hard to make sure they had a good case. I will be forever thankful.

  • bmorepanic

    My life in crime in Baltimore City while poor:
    Doing something good for a neighbor and receiving death threats from the neighborhood power broker. Having a periodic stalker whom I didn’t know break in, beat me up then months later try again to break in, then sexually assaulted by the same person at knife point in a laundry mat with big open windows to the street. Police tried a bit after that, but gave up rapidly.
    Out running a mugger laying in wait for a bunch of party goers – I wasn’t one of them. Out-thinking a car thief whom I interrupted breaking into someone’s car by running into traffic on Howard St and down the yellow line. Having someone break into an apartment while inside and sleeping – twice. Having someone try to break into the same small apartment building about 5 times with a screwdriver by disassembling locks.

    My life in crime in Baltimore City while financially better off in NE Baltimore:
    Having multiple car chases by police where the chased people ended up in big accidents, vehicles flipped and police guns drawn. My car stolen, but found somebody else’s stolen car parked in our garage with the thieves asleep inside. Shootings and murders very close by including a shooting victim dying in the yard two houses down. Finding a bag of crack in the yard. Another time, finding a bullet in the yard. Watching people punch each other in cars driving by – and no, it wasn’t friendship.

    House broken into, causing about $1k of damage and the thieves got away with an 8 year old camera worth about a dollar. Multiple car wrecks in the street on our block – causing damage ranging from mirrors broken off (at least 10 per year) up to cars totaled by impaired drivers at least 3 times, child hit by car. Every single driver flees. I learned to know what a crack house looks like. Illegal dumping all the time, once, famously, it was a body.

    Unfortunately, there’s more. It’s a hard, cruel world out there and hyper vigilance only gets one so far. I realize that I only have so much control and much of that is geographic. Living in fear all the time, watching the street, watching your surroundings when outside, even in your own little yard combined with police that at best are ineffective while offering the same set of excuses year after year.

    To me, our priorities as citizens – public peace, equality of treatment of all citizens at all economic levels, good schools, support for those in need, decent housing, job opportunities for people who live here, transparent government processes with citizen input – our actual government seems to view those things with contempt while valuing corporate giveaways and other priorities that are ego-centric. At their worst, they set out to destroy the very people who care deeply about this city, targeting the very ones who try for strong neighborhoods, fiscal management, fair process and change. Recently, even opportunities for citizens to be heard have been severely curtailed or turned into kabuki theater.

    Lately, we’re thinking about leaving too. It’s a first for me.

  • asteroid_B612

    El Paso, Texas is more impoverished than Baltimore, nearly the same size, and has close to 2,000 fewer police officers. We will surpass their yearly murder total (usually between 30 and 40) before the end of February. If “inequality” were the main cause of crime and violence, then there should be some correlation between that is consistent through all urban areas. And Texas is less egalitarian and progressive than Maryland, so shouldn’t that be reflected in urban crime statistics, too?

    As far as there not being enough police officers, that is just plain b.s. Baltimore has one of the most bloated police departments in the country, with almost 46 officers per 10,000 people. and a budget approaching a half a billion dollars. Police Commissioner Batts has 2,300 MORE officers to deploy than he did in Oakland, which has about 200k fewer people. Why is he complaining about understaffing?

    The police department desperately needs a top-to-bottom financial and a performance audit, and it needs to be downsized. I’m not holding my breath that either is going to be part of the Mayor’s speech today.

    • Aaron Mirenzi

      I think the Brew reported on the bloated police department. If I remember correctly, Baltimore has more sworn police officers than most cities per capita, but for whatever reason, we don’t have a high number of cops working on the street at any given time per capita. Meaning we spend alot of money and don’t actually gain the commensurate amount of foot patrols.

      • ushanellore

        Many of them are reassigned to desk jobs for being miscreants themselves and at least some have been suspended after internal investigations. The number of cops in the books will never match the number cops on the beat.

  • Adam Meister

    This is what I posted on Facebook about the Baltimore rants:
    “Last week was filled with Baltimore related rants on Facebook. Instead
    of giving my opinion I am going to advise all of you to check out the
    Baltimore videos that I have filmed over the years. I find them to be
    quite entertaining (I am biased). I hope that the
    next time you see a controversial Baltimore post you think back to these
    videos before you reply: “Love it or leave it” or “You are a wimp” or
    “stop complaining” or some other judgmental exclamation.
    Every Baltimore situation is different. Would you be willing to visit
    (on foot) some of the areas I filmed? Would you be willing to live in
    these areas? Would you be willing to dedicate a decade of your life to
    these types of areas? We all have different Baltimore breaking points.
    Also remember that as a person gets older and wiser their opinions
    change, mine sure have!

  • Sean Tully

    Looking at that photo of trash I have to ask exactly what do the sanitation crews do on Mondays (the day they don’t collect trash in most parts of the city)? I thought the idea was to have one day of regular trash pickup and one day of single stream recycling pickup and Mondays would be devoted to cleaning up alleys and whatnot. Obviously that plan has fallen through.

  • April 14, 2015

    • The owner of the popular Sip & Bite eatery in Canton has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute and awaits sentencing in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia. Anthony “Tony” Vasiliades and an accomplice, Minas Politis, were arrested in January in a parking lot in Alexandria, Va., after they [...]

  • April 8, 2015

    • 4/9/15 UPDATE: The overflow has been stopped, according to the city, after an estimated 23,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Armistead Run from a broken 24-inch sewer pipe. The Department of Public Works is working to stem an ongoing sewer overflow into Armistead Run, a tributary of Herring Run, near Federal Street in East Baltimore. [...]

    • Following a string of complaints from residents faced with dirty, machine-clogged streets, BGE has committed itself to addressing problems arising from its gas-line replacement project in Southeast Baltimore, says 46th District Del. Brooke Lierman. Residents of Butchers Hill and Fells Prospect had previously filed a complaint with the Public Service Commission about the work and [...]

  • April 6, 2015

    • Slot machines again were the driver of March’s $24.7 million in gross revenues at the Horseshoe Baltimore Casino, according to data released today by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. While last month boasted the highest monthly take for the gaming facility, revenues in March were actually below the daily take in February (a [...]

  • April 1, 2015

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    •   “Ha ha, so not a surprise.” “Shocking…not!!” We get applause but also the occasional eye-roll these days for our accountability reporting – like last week’s piece about how tax cuts promised by the mayor as a selling point for Horseshoe Baltimore probably won’t happen, thanks to the casino’s lower-than-expected revenues. We get where the [...]