↑ Tent City
The 10-day encampment in front of City Hall organized by Southern Christian Leadership Conference, homeless activists, and a number of other groups ended last week when Mayor Catherine Pugh asked that the tents be removed and gave 55 of the tenants housing in the former William Pinderhughes Elementary School in Upton. Although this agreement only acknowledges part of Tent City's demands—the other part was a sizable Racial Equity Benefits Agreement—it's a victory for the group, and Tent City's communal, autonomous approach to the homeless issue could be further explored over west. And Pugh has been spotted at Pinderhughes nearly every day—real evidence that she is taking their demands seriously and wants to work with the Tent City tenants.
↓ Shake & Bake
The beloved West Baltimore skating rink, bowling alley, and arcade is set to close for an indefinite period as the city gets to work on major repairs to the Pennsylvania Avenue building. Obviously, it is upsetting to lose such a valuable community space that allows kids to have fun and be safe for any amount of time. But there are other concerns, such as longtime Shake & Bake manager Anthony Williams feeling like the city is wrongly pushing him out. Plans for the future still seem to be in the nascent stages, even though these building issues have likely been apparent for some time. Mayor Pugh is promising new and better programming, and hopefully she is able to make good on that to reopen this landmark as soon as possible.
↓ Police Commissioner Kevin Davis
The police commissioner defended yet another police officer who handled evidence before turning on his body camera, leading the state's attorney to drop dozens of cases the cop and his colleague handled. "We must not misconstrue mistakes in judgment by police officers as criminality," Davis told the press, pushing his "recreating evidence" defense and maintaining that the arrestees in the video did indeed commit a crime, even as he asks residents to not jump to conclusions about the cops. Sure, it sucks for the cops who had to twice run into a poison ivy patch—first to grab the drug dealer, and later to retrieve the drugs he threw down—and got no case out of it. But that's the game: You make clean cases or you get no cases.
↓ Gov. Hogan
When Hogan called on the Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to gather with him in a meeting closed to the public and media for a "frank and honest discussion" about the city's record murder rate, Maryland Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera told him that it would be inappropriate for the judges on the council to attend the meeting, citing a Maryland law governing the behavior of judges. Typically, Hogan blew up and criticized the judges, saying their refusal to attend was "unacceptable" and "misguided." He also refused to respect judges' statements about the frequency of suspended sentences for gun offenders with an apparent "lock 'em up and throw away the key" attitude. More bloviating masquerading as tough talk from Hogan.
↓ Perkins Homes
Last week, plans were finally announced to redevelop the 17-acre public housing complex on the east side that is home to 1,400 people. The winner of the project? Beatty Development Group, the developer who already shook the city down to build Harbor Point and is also working on redeveloping the abandoned Old Town Mall. Beatty Development is very familiar with Perkins Homes: Years ago they used the poverty there to help steer millions toward developing Harbor East for the upper-crust. In effect, Beatty Development, owned by Michael Beatty, will have control over a large chunk of valuable land that stretches from the waterfront to Route 40. The plan for Perkins calls for housing for all income levels. As the ACLU of Maryland's Barbara Samuels points out, this is a pivotal moment that "has really unique potential to either further segregation in the city, the two Baltimores, or to begin working toward one Baltimore and resolving that issue." Recent history tells us which way that will go.