↑ Creek Boyz
Woodlawn rap group Creek Boyz, consisting of J Reezy, Turk P Diddy, Young Fedi Mula, and ETS Breeze, have been slowly gaining interest for a few months now thanks to their touching, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony-esque song, 'With My Team.' You've no doubt heard it on 92Q and playing off kids' phones when you're waiting for the bus and sailing out car windows by now, and more recently on tastemaking music websites and on your Twitter feed. The song, a melancholy celebration of friendship and survival—literally, early on it bemoans Baltimore's homicide rate and later, "Thank God I ain't on no T-shirt"—has also got the group signed to major label 300 Ent. Now the song's on iTunes, Spotify, and everywhere else—an exciting example of Baltimore rap's fortitude and creativity.
Giving in to the complaints from NIMBYs in Canton, Mayor Catherine Pugh agreed to reconfigure the bike lane on Potomac Street, tearing out flex posts that separate cyclists from cars and placing riders closer to traffic. At issue is a part of the fire code that requires 20 feet of clearance on a city street so fire trucks can get through; just think how many streets would be in violation of the code if this rule was enforced regularly. The cycling advocacy group Bikemore and 1st District Councilman Zeke Cohen have come out against the changes to cycling infrastructure, with the former arguing the decision could set a precedent that would allow the completed Maryland Avenue cycle track to be torn out. There's no shortage of hyperbole on either side of the issue, but complete streets have proven to work in lots of places around the world. It's maddening that Baltimore can't get out of its own way on an issue that shouldn't be that controversial.
↓ Catherine Pugh
When an aide to Mayor Catherine Pugh was found guilty of violating election laws, Pugh told The Sun that she stood by Gary Brown, Jr., who was accused of making illegal contributions to her campaign. She also said, "I have not read the transcripts, I don't know all of the particulars." Um, what? For the record, Brown's Alford plea doesn't mean he admits guilt, only that prosecutors had enough information on him to convict him. But on top of that, Pugh is caving to NIMBYs on the Canton bike lane and the City Council voted to cut Pugh's budget by at least $13 million in an attempt to free money for schools and send a message. Some of our cynical friends said Pugh would be worse than $RB and we didn't buy it at first, but it's looking that way right now.
Last month, after the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts booked Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who considers herself to be black, to speak and promote her book "In Full Color," the Baltimore Book Festival got a lot of flak. So BOPA doubled down, defending the decision to book Dolezal. Baltimore citizens were not havin' it, and gave BOPA an earful via social media and email. Someone started a petition to remove Dolezal from the festival, and someone familiar with the situation told City Paper that many BOPA staffers had criticized the booking. Last Tuesday BOPA finally announced that they had uninvited Dolezal, which many folks thanked them for, but perhaps they could've avoided the whole headache and thought harder before inviting her in the first place.
To no one's surprise but to plenty of people's ice cap-melting rage, Trump announced last week that the U.S. would pull out from the 195-country agreement on fighting climate change entered by former President Obama before he left office. Trump's explanation—you guessed it: America first. Never mind that America is far from immune to climate change and is, in fact, a part of this Earth, even if our president appears to be some bumbling Sith lord. Following his announcement, the president got shit from just about everywhere—U.S. politicians from all sides, businesses execs, world leaders—except from his buddy Vladimir Putin, who told critics of Trump's decision quote "don't worry, be happy." That's only getting harder and harder, Vlad.