Baltimore City Power Rankings

Illustrations by Alex Fine (June 17, 2014)



1 Transgender People

A conservative group's attempt to overturn Maryland's transgender rights bill, which bars discrimination in housing and employment and is scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, failed when the group didn't get enough signatures to put the legislation to a statewide referendum. Meanwhile, Destiny Hartis, a transgender student at Digital Harbor High School, was named prom queen, and this month Tona Brown, a former Baltimorean, will be the first transgender person to perform opera at Carnegie Hall.



2 Terps

Maryland's football and basketball programs weren't especially impressive in the school's last year as part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the Terps' other teams have come on strong this spring: Men's lacrosse made the final four before losing a heartbreaker to Notre Dame at M&T Bank Stadium, while the women's team took home the national championship. Most surprising, the baseball team, after reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time in 43 years, upset No. 1 seed University of South Carolina and is on the verge of making the super regionals. Bring on the Big 10!



3 Qayum Karzai

When the older brother of outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai (and the owner of Baltimore restaurants Helmand, Tapas Teatro, and b bistro) stepped out of the recent election to replace his brother, he had some time on his hands and, as they say, Afghanistan's loss is Baltimore's gain. The elder Karzai will take over the landmark Chesapeake restaurant in Station North, which opened after a long dormancy last year to mixed reviews. Let's hope he brings in the excellent cuisine and service of his other culinary ventures—and removes the $21 Manhattan from the menu.



4 Teens

Events in Baltimore this week highlighted some of the best and worst behavior by local young people. Students and recent graduates from rival schools City College and Poly came together to protest cuts to the city's education budget (page 13), while other students came to protest plans to build an incinerator near a South Baltimore school. Days later, a similar-sized group overran volunteers at the city's Ride Around the Reservoir bike sharing program and stole about four dozen bikes, endangering the popular program's existence. It's unfortunate but not surprising that the second incident got a lot more coverage from local media than the first.



5 $RB

Try to follow the logic: After years of mismanagement and errors that led to outrageous water bills, the city has finally hired a contractor to overhaul its disastrous water-meter system. In doing so, the city cut a deal with a Connecticut insurance company to offer homeowners an insurance policy (at roughly $9/month), in case the city's work damages your pipes. Huh? As the Sun put it, "City officials declined to provide a legal basis for why they believe homeowners could be stuck with bills if pipes break during a [city] contractor's work." Sometimes it seems like they're just winging this shit.