News & Media

  • Best Politician: Brandon M. Scott

    Best Politician: Brandon M. Scott

    The 2nd District City Councilman, first elected in 2011, continues to strike a near-perfect balance between idealism and practical work. As vice chair of the Public Safety Committee, Scott has long demanded data and honest answers from a police department that too few Baltimoreans trust. But he...

  • Best E For Effort: Mayor Catherine Pugh

    Best E For Effort: Mayor Catherine Pugh

    Mayor Catherine Pugh hasn’t been in office a whole year yet, and we haven’t exactly gone easy on her. But it’s with good reason: Between yelling at the media (The Sun, for correctly quoting her wrong-headed views on drug treatment), throwing her support behind mandatory minimum sentencing legislation...

  • Best Voice: Marc Steiner

    Best Voice: Marc Steiner

    So there is just no way for us to be objective here because Marc Steiner is a longtime friend to City Paper and an occasional collaborator. But still, his effect on local progressive media in this city is unmatched. He was instrumental in making WYPR a compelling station and it has been mostly...

  • Best Recidivist: State Sen. Nathaniel Oaks

    Best Recidivist: State Sen. Nathaniel Oaks

    Indicted on federal bribery charges just months after his elevation to the state Senate, Oaks has claimed innocence, despite audio recordings that suggest differently. “Can’t nobody come back and say I got you on tape,” the long-time 41st District delegate tells the FBI’s confidential source, who...

  • Best Gang: Gun Trace Task Force

    Best Gang: Gun Trace Task Force

    Called “1930s-style gangsters” by Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, the seven Baltimore Police officers federally indicted in March for allegedly stealing drugs and money from both suspects and law-abiding citizens, while also committing massive overtime fraud, marked the latest in a long string...

  • Best Actor: Officer Richard Pinheiro and other BPD officers

    Best Actor: Officer Richard Pinheiro and other BPD officers

    Police body camera footage can be the best evidence showing what really happened, and it depicted these officers either “planting evidence” or “re-enacting the legitimate finding of evidence” (which isn’t a real thing no matter what Commissioner Davis says) in a two-bit drug case. The cameras catch...

  • Best Crisis Politicians Want to Ignore: Homicide

    Best Crisis Politicians Want to Ignore: Homicide

    Baltimore is on track to break its all-time record for most murders in a year, even as the city’s population is falling. Politicians and even Police Commissioner Kevin Davis talk about stemming “root causes,” but those root causes have been extant for decades and murder rates were not this bad....

  • Best Transit Scramble: Baltimore Link

    Best Transit Scramble: Baltimore Link

    Baltimore’s bus system has long been in shambles, with spotty service and overcrowded buses. It was overdue for an overhaul, and it was great that the MTA made the newly-routed buses free for two weeks. But holy crap, what a shit show! Reports that drivers didn’t know what the routes and schedules...

  • Best Person Who Knows What the Fuck They’re Doing: Dr. Leana Wen

    Best Person Who Knows What the Fuck They’re Doing: Dr. Leana Wen

    Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen works quietly and consistently to educate us and keep us healthy—see her work on the city’s B’more for Healthy Babies campaign, or the way she’s helped get people trained and registered to administer the overdose drug naloxone, for example. We only...

  • Best Underreported Health Crisis: Overdoses

    Best Underreported Health Crisis: Overdoses

    Opioid overdoses used to track closely with murders in Baltimore. If we had 250 murders, we’d have about the same number of opioid O.D.s. But that was then. Beginning a couple years ago, overdoses of all kinds surged, reaching almost double the also-burgeoning homicide rate. This is despite the...

  • Best Journalist: Alec MacGillis

    Best Journalist: Alec MacGillis

    Obviously, this has been a rotten year for local journalism. Some of the shifts, such as the fact that this is the last Best Of, are unremittingly bad. Others are mixed blessings. Last year’s “Best Journalist” Erica Green got scooped up from The Sun by the New York Times. We’ve had a lot of garbage...

  • Best Con-Friction: “Pill City” by Kevin Deutsch

    Best Con-Friction: “Pill City” by Kevin Deutsch

    An ambitious reporter drives in from New York City and writes a blistering account of drug dealing and murder, up close with the killers and the addicts as they kill and die on Baltimore’s mean streets. You’re there every step of the way as “Wax” and “Brick,” two teenaged gangsters, build a nationwide...

  • Best Bait and Switch: Pugh’s veto of the $15 minimum wage ordinance

    Best Bait and Switch: Pugh’s veto of the $15 minimum wage ordinance

    Candidate Catherine Pugh told supporters she was for a $15 citywide minimum wage, so it seemed a lock after the City Council passed the ordinance. Alas, no. Mayor Pugh vetoed the measure, saying it would hurt low-income workers. She now says she’s for a higher state-wide minimum. For now, at least.

  • Best Objectively-Bad-But-Possibly-Crucial Career Move: Rod Rosenstein becoming deputy attorney general for Donald Trump

    Best Objectively-Bad-But-Possibly-Crucial Career Move: Rod Rosenstein becoming deputy attorney general for Donald Trump

    Maryland’s long-serving U.S. Attorney “Hot Rod” Rosenstein, reputed to be highly ethical and dogged in his pursuit of wrongdoing, took his promotion to deputy U.S. attorney general seemingly in stride, giving hope to many who consider his boss, Donald Trump, a criminal turd. Then Rosenstein wrote...

  • Best Job Security: Gary Brown

    Best Job Security: Gary Brown

    Convicted of making illegal straw campaign donations to his boss, Catherine Pugh, Brown serves as Pugh’s . . . well, we’re not sure. What is certain is that he has a steady job in her public affairs office. Brown pleaded guilty in May to funneling some $18,000 in campaign contributions to Pugh’s...

  • Best Buzzkill: The Medical Pot license battle

    Best Buzzkill: The Medical Pot license battle

    By now it’s mostly acknowledged by science and government that marijuana is an enjoyable and relatively safe recreational drug that for many with depression, anxiety, cancer, and PTSD is also medicine. That means that, in a logical universe, decriminalization—or even legalization—ought to be imminent....

  • Best Thing We Miss That Faded Away Quietly: Booze News

    Best Thing We Miss That Faded Away Quietly: Booze News

    Last fall, after three years of constant reporting on the Liquor Board, the Community Law Center’s “Booze News” blog saw its Abell Foundation grant end. An online fundraiser generated a quick $10,000, and the blog, helmed by Becky Lundberg Witt, soldiered on into 2017 with regular dispatches from...

  • Best Non-Plan: Mayor Pugh’s Crime Plan

    Best Non-Plan: Mayor Pugh’s Crime Plan

    Released on Aug. 9 after months of delays, the 20-page brochure describes ongoing efforts to restore trust in the Baltimore City Police Department, recruit more officers, use more and better technology, and fill out a laundry list of social service needs in Baltimore’s disadvantaged neighborhoods....

  • Best Evil Empire: Sinclair Broadcast Group

    Best Evil Empire: Sinclair Broadcast Group

    The Hunt Valley-based broadcaster was already the nation’s largest owner of TV stations when it bought Tribune Media. The $3.9 billion deal, announced in May, adds Tribune’s 42 TV stations to Sinclair’s 173 and allows the company to reach nearly 70 percent of all American households—although the...

  • Best Hard Lesson in Political Reality: New City Council members

    Best Hard Lesson in Political Reality: New City Council members

    Newcomers comprise more than half of the City Council, a change of the guard like Baltimore has seldom seen before. The new members are young, progressive, and enthusiastic, pushing for undocumented immigrants and the city’s low-income neighborhoods. But change doesn’t come easy: They passed a...

  • Best Bad Idea: Mandatory minimums

    Best Bad Idea: Mandatory minimums

    What part of “there is no evidence that mandatory minimum sentences prevent crime” do we not understand? This city has underfunded schools, underemployed ex-offenders, and overcrowded prisons. Sure, the City Council gutted the originally proposed bill, adding only a $1,000 fine on first-time offenders...

  • Best Link Dump: Baltimore City Voters

    Best Link Dump: Baltimore City Voters

    facebook.com/groups/baltimoreelection2016 There was a time when the Facebook group Baltimore City Voters was a place for intelligent discussion, sometimes bringing the people of power into the dialogue. We even named it Best Facebook Group last year for its steadying hand during a rather crazy...

  • Best Tumbling Stock: Under Armour

    Best Tumbling Stock: Under Armour

    The city hitched its wagon to the rising star of the sports apparel giant in the form of $660 million in tax increment financing. Anyone paying attention to the business pages has seen that star fall from the sky and tumble back down to Earth, from hovering around $40 this time last year to $17.53...

  • Best Product Placement: Western District

    Best Product Placement: Western District

    Earlier this year, the now-infamous Western District police station was renovated and reimagined by Scott Plank’s Warhorse Cities. The station now boasts new entryway stairs featuring a quote from Thurgood Marshall; public Wi-Fi, restrooms, water refill stations, new locker rooms, and oh yeah,...

  • Best Fuck You Don’t Pay Me: Tawanda Jones

    Best Fuck You Don’t Pay Me: Tawanda Jones

    The bedrock of the local protest movement, Tawanda Jones, sister of Tyrone West, who was killed in police custody, has been protesting with her family about her brother’s death every week since July 2013. In July of this year, the West family settled a wrongful death lawsuit connecting West’s death...

  • Best Fake News: $RB

    Best Fake News: $RB

    In October, then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake banned WYPR reporter P. Kenneth Burns from the weekly press conferences she held after the Board of Estimates meeting, claiming he was “aggressive,” which everybody in the room understood was bullshit. He pushed the mayor on a few things and she went...

  • Best White Guy: Ryan Dorsey

    Best White Guy: Ryan Dorsey

    That Commissioner Davis, the FOP, and every right-wing ding-dong on Twitter seems to dislike 3rd District Councilman Ryan Dorsey so much only make us like him more. Whether it’s backing the right bills—$15 minimum wage hike—or coming out against the dumbest bills—mandatory minimums—Dorsey knows...

  • Best Minister of Propaganda: T.J. Smith

    Best Minister of Propaganda: T.J. Smith

    This was the year when mainstream journalists and TV-watchers around the nation came to recognize that PR people are primarily engaged in manipulating the public. Their purpose isn’t to convey truthful information, it is to hide it for as long as possible and only address it when absolutely necessary—unless...

  • Best I Fuckin’ Told Y’all: Young Moose

    Best I Fuckin’ Told Y’all: Young Moose

    For almost four years now, rapper Young Moose has been rhyming about what the feds finally exposed earlier this year: That Baltimore cops are dirty as hell. Taking on corrupt cops in hip-hop isn’t anything new really, but Moose shouted one out—Daniel Hersl—by name in a number of songs and laid...

  • Best Use Of A City Paper Box: Distributing Drugs

    Best Use Of A City Paper Box: Distributing Drugs

    OK, so we won’t tell you where it is, and maybe if this wasn’t our last Best Of and we weren’t dead so soon, we wouldn’t even reveal this at all or give anybody ideas, but fuck it: There’s a box somewhere in the city that has been cut from the pole it was tied to and is being used as a drop-off...

  • Best Frontliners: 300 Gangstas

    Best Frontliners: 300 Gangstas

    During the uprising, plenty scoffed at the idea of unity among gang members, but out of the gang truce came 300 Gangstas, a coalition of community organizers and reformed gang members who have spent the past couple years, and especially this year, putting in massive work in the community. They...

  • Best Official Who’s Got Her Work Cut Out for Her: Jill P. Carter

    Best Official Who’s Got Her Work Cut Out for Her: Jill P. Carter

    A few years ago, the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement was not well known and not well funded. Today, it’s a core part of an ambitious plan to give the community greater oversight of the Baltimore City Police Department. Director Jill P. Carter’s department has had to plan and publicize...

  • Best Self-Care: Strvnge Encounters

    Best Self-Care: Strvnge Encounters

    strvnge-encounters.com A fluid activist collective in many ways, Strvnge Encounters creates space for and with communities of color, finding ways to address issues of trauma, sexual assault and domestic violence, healing, self-love, community accountability, and more through various informal, creative...

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