Maryland ex-felons gained the right to vote on March 10 and are planning to choose who they want to see in City Hall. "We need jobs," says Perry Hopkins from Communities United, an advocacy group. "The candidate that comes in with the know-how and the experience to…address the needs of the ex-felons is going to get an awful lot of votes," he says. Advocates are registering the 20,000 members of this new voting bloc in hopes of having their unique concerns met. Candidates have six weeks to address reentry issues such as excessive bureaucracy and joblessness if they want the ex-felons' vote. Hopkins message to mayoral candidates is blunt: "How bad do you want to win?"
The O's finally got in the win column this spring, notching an 8-1 victory against the Twins on March 12 in sunny Sarasota, Florida. Fans shouldn't get too worked up about spring training standings, but the win-less streak even had manager Buck Showalter counting the number of days since an Orioles win. He did not draw any correlation between the team's first victory and the arrival of City Paper staffers Brandon Weigel and J.M. Giordano in Florida, but we're going to go ahead and assume the paper brought some good karma. Now that they're gone, hopefully the team can continue racking up W's. (Watch for City Paper's take on spring training in the days ahead.)
↓ Maryland Republicans
A UB/Baltimore Sun poll of 400 Maryland Republicans found Donald Trump leading by nine points over Ted Cruz, 34 percent to 25. That's in line with Trump's support in other states but, as the Sun's John Fritze wrote, Maryland Republicans are supposed to be nice centrists, not brown-shirted werewolves howling for blood while stomping outsiders. This will put even more pressure on Boss Hög to endorse America's Id. And to think people thought that "Idiocracy" movie was science fiction.
↓ Officer William Porter
The Maryland Court of Appeals ordered the city police officer, whose trial on charges stemming from the death of Freddie Gray ended in a hung jury, to testify against five fellow officers in their upcoming trials. This is despite Porter's lawyer's argument that Porter—who faces retrial—could in-effect be compelled to incriminate himself. The four-page order was a huge win for State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her team, which appear to be relying heavily on Porter's statements (he is reportedly the only one of the six accused police who gave one to investigators) to convict the other defendants.
↓ Port Covington
Sagamore Development, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank's private real estate firm, wants the city to kick in $535 million to help re-build Port Covington through a Tax Increment Financing deal . The $5.5 billion redevelopment project would transform approximately 50 city blocks into a multi-use area—and Sagamore hopes to take advantage of the fact that the space falls in the city's Enterprise Zone and is seeking money from the city, state, and federal government. $RB appears guileless and gung-ho, pushing the project along. But how many jobs does Baltimore get out of it? Nine mayoral candidates at last week's debate demanded answers—and insisted $RB at least tap the brakes to map out what city residents get out of the deal.