News and Media

  • Best Politician: Joshua Harris

    Best Politician: Joshua Harris

    City Paper loves Green Party mayoral candidate Joshua Harris. During primary season, he was everywhere. He showed up at events all over the city, ranging from a low-key Open House at City Neighbors where students showcased their work on Baltimore’s housing to the gazillions of well-attended mayoral...

  • Best Politician(s) In Need of a Slap Upside The Head: Baltimore City Council (except Carl Stokes)

    Best Politician(s) In Need of a Slap Upside The Head: Baltimore City Council (except Carl Stokes)

    In this political season, when numbskulls and jackasses are everywhere, the Slap award turns out to be a highly competitive category. So many morons vying for a solitary award, what’s a paper to do? In the end, CP just couldn’t narrow it down to single Slap-deserver and instead awards this prize...

  • Best WHAT-THE-ACTUAL-STEAMING-BOWL-OF-FUCK-NOW?: Glen K. Allen

    Best WHAT-THE-ACTUAL-STEAMING-BOWL-OF-FUCK-NOW?: Glen K. Allen

    Days after the U.S. Department of Justice published a scathing 163-page report detailing the Baltimore Police Department’s pattern and practice of racially biased policing, which included such examples as an anal cavity search conducted on a woman pulled over for a missing headlight, the Southern...

  • Best Hoarder: Paul Graziano

    Best Hoarder: Paul Graziano

    For sitting on $100 million in cash reserves while neglecting maintenance, the hoarder award goes to Baltimore City Housing Chief Paul Graziano. Everyone knows the miser: She lives in a hovel with six cats and $3 million under the sink in a shopping bag. What few people knew, before City Paper...

  • Best Musical Chairs: Baltimore City Liquor Board

    Best Musical Chairs: Baltimore City Liquor Board

    There was a reform, then a counter-reformation, then a counter-counter-reformation, and while the Liquor Board went through all the machinations in the struggle for reform (or was it power they were after?) the bars stayed open throughout. The Liquor Board, a state agency that enforces the city’s...

  • Best Shake-Up: Schools Chief Gregory Thornton

    Best Shake-Up: Schools Chief Gregory Thornton

    It’s too early to assess whether Gregory Thornton’s ouster as schools chief was a good move for the 80,000 kids who attend Baltimore Public Schools, but as far as political intrigue and theater go, it was spectacular. Minutes after the end of a routine May 3 Board of Education meeting, The Sun’s...

  • Best Constitutionally-Fraught Secret Crime-Fighting Tactic: Persistent Surveillance Systems and Texas Hedge Fund Cash

    Best Constitutionally-Fraught Secret Crime-Fighting Tactic: Persistent Surveillance Systems and Texas Hedge Fund Cash

    So did you hear that the Baltimore Police have been quietly surveilling the city from above for half a year, thanks to a contract with a private company funded by a Texas philanthropist? We’ve got some questions about these planes and their video footage of citizens: Is this even legal? (No one...

  • Best Bribe: Port Covington Neighborhoods

    Best Bribe: Port Covington Neighborhoods

    In promising to pay some $30 million to a “coalition” of six poor and mostly African-American neighborhoods bordering his planned Port Covington project, Under Armour Founder Kevin Plank has made, in the words of one underling, a “historic” deal. He even gets a say—it is as yet unclear how much—in...

  • Best Resting Judge Face: Judge Barry Williams

    Best Resting Judge Face: Judge Barry Williams

    The Circuit Court Judge who presided over what’s been called “the Freddie Gray trials” was by turns stern and harsh. The stakes were as high as they get, and Judge Williams seemed at all times to fully inhabit his robes and the gravity of his duty. But he was not without humor, and his was not...

  • Best Predictable Shit Storm: Baltimore City Department of Public Works

    Best Predictable Shit Storm: Baltimore City Department of Public Works

    After every rain—and sometimes after the sun shines—and usually on Friday afternoons, DPW informs us that raw sewage “mixed with rainwater” has spilled into the Jones Falls, Gwynns Falls, or some other tributary. Sometimes it’s a little—30,000 gallons, say, as if someone flushed a toilet the size...

  • Best Riot-ett: Catherine Pugh’s Campaign Workers

    Best Riot-ett: Catherine Pugh’s Campaign Workers

    On primary election day, starting at 5 a.m., about 100 people lined up on North Ellamont Street for promised jobs with State Sen. Catherine Pugh’s mayoral election campaign. Then they were told the promised jobs—and promised $100—would not be forthcoming. So several did the Baltimore thing: slashing...

  • Best We Forget Martin O’Malley

    Best We Forget Martin O’Malley

  • Best Lightning Rod: DeRay Mckesson

    Best Lightning Rod: DeRay Mckesson

    So his run for mayor was a bit of a flop; he won only 2.6 percent of the vote in the primaries. Much of the pushback DeRay Mckesson got was from locals who saw him as an outsider. Yeah, yeah, he has 330,000 followers on Twitter, locals said, but what has he done for us lately? Mckesson has a profound...

  • Best Facebook Group: Baltimore City Voters

    Best Facebook Group: Baltimore City Voters

    Facebook is good for two things: arguing about politics and photos of your kids (or cats or whatever). During the primaries last spring, however, voters tired of arguing over Donald Trump or oohing and ahhing over their second-grade best friend’s new baby could head over to the Facebook group Baltimore...

  • Best Shitshow: Freddie Gray trials

    Best Shitshow: Freddie Gray trials

    One of the most disgusting and cowardly things to come out of the trials of the officers accused in Freddie Gray’s death is watching whole teams of lawyers, time and time again, blame a dead man for his own death. When they weren’t blaming Gray, they were blaming the people of Gilmor Homes, who,...

  • Best Tweet Through It Politician: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

    Best Tweet Through It Politician: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

    Some people use their Twitter accounts to post shit about the mundane details of their days. Others use it to post their thoughts about important issues that weigh on them. Our mayor uses her Twitter to tweet bland promotion for city-sponsored events. Look, we know that being mayor is hard, and...

  • Best Activist: Makayla Gilliam-Price

    Best Activist: Makayla Gilliam-Price

    As a key organizer in last fall’s City Hall sit-in and this past summer’s #AFROMATION protest, Makayla Gilliam-Price—who just graduated from high school, by the way—was a frontliner in the two of the most expansive and effective protests in Baltimore since the uprising. And then there was her school...

  • Best Scapegoats: Baltimore’s Dirtbikers

    Best Scapegoats: Baltimore’s Dirtbikers

    Sure, dirt bikes soaring through Baltimore are loud, obnoxious, and occasionally dangerous. It’s also a thrill like nothing else when you hear them and see them speeding down North Avenue or tricking out and popping wheelies on Reisterstown Road—city-centric examples of “recreational defiance.”...

  • Best Persistence: West Wednesday

    Best Persistence: West Wednesday

    The family and friends of Tyrone West—a 44-year-old man who died in police custody in July 2013—have gathered every Wednesday somewhere in the city since West’s death in order to keep his name in the news. This year, the West family announced that an independent forensic review’s findings dispute...

  • Best Throwdown b/w Reconciliation: PFK Boom and Jamal Bryant

    Best Throwdown b/w Reconciliation: PFK Boom and Jamal Bryant

    Back in May, big-deal social justice-oriented mega-preacher Jamal Bryant rolled up to the Tubman House and live-streamed West Wednesday, a regular weekly protest in the city. Activist PFK Boom took issue with this and rolled up on Bryant, questioning his reasons for coming. He accused Bryant of...

  • Best Voice: Rev. Cortly “C.D.” Witherspoon

    Best Voice: Rev. Cortly “C.D.” Witherspoon

    The Peoples Power Assembly’s Rev. Cortly “C.D.” Witherspoon is one of the protest movement’s most impassioned and eloquent speakers. A frequent face at protests for a while now, Witherspoon continued to appear and motivate activists long after most others had stopped attending the trials for the...

  • Best DIY Venue: Tubman House

    Best DIY Venue: Tubman House

    Earlier this year, Leaders Of a Beautiful Struggle, Friend of a Friend, and Communities United took over a vacant rowhouse in Sandtown-Winchester—right across from the Freddie Gray mural on North Mount and Presbury streets—and dubbed it Tubman House, an “illegally”-occupied city-owned building...

  • Best Sinkhole: The Mulberry Street Sinkhole

    Best Sinkhole: The Mulberry Street Sinkhole

    What makes for a great sinkhole? There was one on Park Avenue back in 1997 when the sewage pipe broke the gas line, which was sparked by the electric lines, so that there was a raging inferno blowing up out of the fucking manholes. That’s a sinkhole. And the 2012 one on East Monument was also monumental....

  • Best Sinkhole In Training: Sidewalk at Southwest Corner of Cathedral and Centre Street

    Best Sinkhole In Training: Sidewalk at Southwest Corner of Cathedral and Centre Street

    This has been a banner year for sinkholes and we’re always keeping our eyes on the ground for signs of the next showstopper. We’ve got our eyes on that Centre Street one turning the corner up Cathedral. The signs? Water has been seeping from a seam in the sidewalk for months, just around the corner...

  • Best Reminder That Young People Will Save Us: Destiny Watford and Free Your Voice

    Best Reminder That Young People Will Save Us: Destiny Watford and Free Your Voice

    We’re as guilty as the next guy of thinking that we can change the world by creating more change.org petitions, reposting angry screeds on The Facebook, and wishing. To make real change, though, it turns out we’ve got to get out from behind our desks, go to some meetings where we’ll meet real people,...

  • Best Failed Political Dynasty: The Mosbys

    Best Failed Political Dynasty: The Mosbys

    There was a time, not long after the charges against the six officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death were announced, that Marilyn and Nick Mosby were a national meme, celebrated on social media for the bold progress they were making in Baltimore. Director Ava DuVernay was among the celebrities...

  • Best Op-Ed: Kevin Rector

    Best Op-Ed: Kevin Rector

    Every once in a while news reporters at the traditional dailies get to step outside the confines of their beat and form to slip over to the editorial pages to pen some more personal pieces. Crime and courts reporter Kevin Rector did just that this summer, writing a sincere, open, and heartfelt...

  • Best tronc: tronc

    Best tronc: tronc

    For the first time ever, the Best Of Baltimore issue is powered by tronc, allowing us to funnel our content and disseminate it to all new users across various platforms. Though people in Chicago, Los Angeles, and other tronc markets likely do not give a single shit about what we have to say about...

  • Best Investigative Journalist: Catherine Rentz, Baltimore Sun

    Best Investigative Journalist: Catherine Rentz, Baltimore Sun

    Just days before the Justice Department released its scathing indictment of the police force, Baltimore Sun reporter Catherine Rentz penned a 6,000-word investigative story chronicling the BPD’s failure to investigate excessive force complaints—and news junkies across the city read every word....

  • Best Bad Ass News Reporter: Jayne Miller, WBAL TV

    Best Bad Ass News Reporter: Jayne Miller, WBAL TV

    No law enforcement agency coming to our door would scare us as much as seeing investigative reporter Jayne Miller charging up our driveway like a force of nature. If you peek out your window and see Miller coming, you must have really fucked up. Miller has the power to make an entire press conference...

  • Best Zen Koan: T.J. Smith, Baltimore Police Spokesperson

    Best Zen Koan: T.J. Smith, Baltimore Police Spokesperson

    We were all left scratching our heads when police department spokesperson T.J. Smith kept insisting that the department’s undisclosed deal with Persistent Surveillance Systems to film vast swaths of the city wasn’t secret. The State’s Attorney’s Office didn’t know, the Mayor didn’t know, City Council...

  • Best Series: Out of the Blocks, WYPR

    Best Series: Out of the Blocks, WYPR

    Baltimore is a city made great by its neighborhoods and each neighborhood is made great by its individual blocks. As Jane Jacobs pointed out, the liveliness of blocks is what city life is all about. Producers Aaron Henkin and Wendel Patrick spend weeks hanging out on a single block in the city...

  • Best Photographer: Shannon Wallace

    Best Photographer: Shannon Wallace

    Shannon Wallace (an occasional CP contributor) cares deeply about Baltimore’s communities on a day-to-day basis, and usually if there’s a protest, she’s there with camera in hand. Her stark-yet-kind photos range from deeply sympathetic portraits of Baltimoreans to artfully composed images of news...

  • Best Reason to Pick Up Baltimore Magazine: Ron Cassie

    Best Reason to Pick Up Baltimore Magazine: Ron Cassie

    B-Mag is ostensibly a competitor of ours, in that we cover a lot of the same things, but there’s really no animus here. After all, it’s important for the audience of suburban McMansion owners to really know what’s up in the city beyond which doctor they should go see. Ron Cassie, in particular,...

  • Best Councilperson: Brandon Scott

    Best Councilperson: Brandon Scott

    While some of our local politicians leave us wavering between frustration and embarrassment, City Councilman Brandon Scott seems like one of the good guys. He keeps it pretty open and honest with the media and is a tireless advocate for kids. As vice chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety...

  • Best Chutzpah: Sheila Dixon

    Best Chutzpah: Sheila Dixon

    Make no mistake, a good part of our city loooooves Sheila Dixon. That’s how she was able to come in second in the race to become the Democrats’ nominee for mayor of the city, despite exiting office in shame back in 2010. Addressing reporters and supporters as this year’s primary results came in,...

  • Best Don’t Let the Door Hit You On The Way Out: Pete Welch

    Best Don’t Let the Door Hit You On The Way Out: Pete Welch

    The howls were loud and sustained when long-serving 9th District City Councilwoman Agnes Welch bequeathed her seat to her diminutive and dapper son, who had served the city as her aid for many years. Councilman William “Pete” Welch, dubbed “Pistol Pete” after he fired a gun during a long-ago election...

  • Best Journalist: Erica Green, Baltimore Sun

    Best Journalist: Erica Green, Baltimore Sun

    Green has dominated local education reporting as never before, delivering consistent scoops about the doings of North Avenue, as well as deep, compassionate reporting about the teachers and students. When a school official resigns, or is pushed out, Green gets it. When a budget is cut, or layoffs...

  • Best Clean Slate: New City Council

    Best Clean Slate: New City Council

    Despite a crowded field, there wasn’t much new to report in the race for our city’s next mayor. Catherine Pugh won the Democratic nod, and although she will face Republican and Green Party candidates, she is our presumptive next mayor. City Council, though? That’s a whole different story. Even...

  • Best Sit-In: Baltimore Bloc, City Bloc, Et. al at City Hall

    Best Sit-In: Baltimore Bloc, City Bloc, Et. al at City Hall

    Last fall, 16 young people were arrested in the early morning hours of Oct. 15 after staging a sit-in at City Hall. They interrupted a City Council hearing on whether to make then-Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis’ job a permanent appointment and demanded that the Commish agree to their 19-point...

  • Best Clown Car: The Mayoral Primary

    Best Clown Car: The Mayoral Primary

    The professional protester. The comeback story. The long-time local politician. The councilmember heaved into the national spotlight. Even in a city known for its outrageous politics, it was difficult to keep track of all the 21 candidates who made this year’s primary race for mayor a circus act....

  • Best Snow Removal: Baltimoreans With Snow Shovels

    Best Snow Removal: Baltimoreans With Snow Shovels

    We did it, Baltimore. Granted, we did it because we had no choice, but when the city found itself buried under nearly 30 inches of snow in January, residents with snow shovels came out like Libertarian worker ants to dig our streets out from under another absurdly-named storm. Rather than the typical...

  • Best Politician That Should Be Tied Down On Light Rail Tracks By Snidely Whiplash: Gov. Larry Hogan

    Best Politician That Should Be Tied Down On Light Rail Tracks By Snidely Whiplash: Gov. Larry Hogan

    Can’t you just see the somberly clad enemy of Dudley Do-Right twisting his long mustache and saying “You think you cut the light rail, I think the light rail will cut you!” Of course, the hero would come and save the governor just before the train came clanking over him—later, he would demand a...

  • Best Cop: Lt. Jeff Shorter

    Best Cop: Lt. Jeff Shorter

    When a vigil for slain rapper Lor Scoota turned into a standoff with riot-geared officers, we really thought shit was going to get bad. At one point an armored, tank-like vehicle pulled up and the police line kept advancing. We’d seen how that played out before. Then dirt bikes pulled up and things...

  • Best Bucking the Trend: Capt. Charles Thompson

    Best Bucking the Trend: Capt. Charles Thompson

    Commissioner Kevin Davis has been trying to step back the corner-clearing, zero-tolerance tactics that the DOJ report so roundly criticizes—even if he is upping the ante on surveillance and the like. Davis has also been talking de-escalation. But there are still some of the in-your-face old-school...

  • Best Don Quixote: Marilyn Mosby

    Best Don Quixote: Marilyn Mosby

    Pretty much everyone is down on the top prosecutor these days. She set out to get convictions against the officers charged with Freddie Gray’s death—and got beat again and again and again. It was brutal. And winning is important, but when you can’t win, fighting the fight still matters. Mosby may...

  • Best Freaky Friday: Trials of Officers in Freddie Gray Case

    Best Freaky Friday: Trials of Officers in Freddie Gray Case

    Much of this year felt like one of those movies where people swap roles for a day. Activists and people who would normally favor the defense were cheering on the city’s top prosecutor, while the police, who normally work with the state’s attorney’s office, were attacking Mosby and claiming the...

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