Americans Disabled for Attendant Programs Today has long been known for militancy and bad-ass, bodies-on-the-line civil disobedience, but it's been decades since the group brought such power and poignancy to an issue that affects everyone. Members staged a "die-in" and mobbed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office to protest cuts to Medicaid and other provisions of the Republicans' latest "health care" bill, which was drafted in secret and would cut care for the poor—threatening the disabled especially—while bestowing billions in tax breaks on the very wealthy. Capitol Police removed the protesters, dragging some from wheelchairs and dropping at least one, leaving a blood stain on the floor. ADAPT is insistent—this is what effective protest looks like.
↓ McKeldin Square
After the city tore down the McKeldin Fountain late last year, we've finally got its replacement—a big patch of grass with some trees and some Downtown Partnership-branded cornhole boards, all part of an almost pathological desire to turn the entire Inner Harbor into a bro-zone that'll satisfy out-of-towners and alienate Baltimore residents that aren't Beta-Chads living in Fed Hill or Canton. Oh, and it eliminates a "free speech zone" that has seen gatherings related to police shootings over the past few years and was ground zero of Baltimore's Occupy encampment.
↓ Baltimore Infrastructure
Last week, a steam pipe exploded downtown right near the Marriott Inner Harbor and not far from Camden Yards, injuring five, covering everything in dust and dirt, and probably exposing police on the scene to asbestos. The incident is yet another sign of how Baltimore's infrastructure is royally fucked up. And save for Jack Young groveling to the Trump administration (see below), it seems like little is being done by city leadership to prevent the next disaster.
↓ Jack Young
City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young traveled to the White House last week, he said, to challenge the Trump administration on budget cuts that would have a negative effect on the city, and to see how the feds can help with things like infrastructure and community policing. Young's Chief of Staff, Lester Davis, said that Young is a politician and not an activist—and as such, he couldn't turn down a meeting that could potentially mean gains for the city. What it looks like to us, though, is one of the leaders of a largely black and poor city going to make nice with a racist and corrupt administration. Plenty of people have rushed to try to make a deal with the Trump administration only to be left with nothing in the end.
Six months after taking office, the mayor finally got around to replacing Paul Graziano, the housing commissioner who resigned when she came in. His replacement? The guy who had been doing the job all along: Michael Braverman, a stalwart bureaucratic ass-coverer with 30 years of city service, has been acting director since January. He now heads Housing and Community Development, while the Housing Authority will be run by Janet Abrahams, a New York City housing official. Before her New York stint, Abrahams was an official in Newark, New Jersey, where she administered layoffs of city workers and the hiring of private contractors, while receiving five-figure raises. Some of the layoffs were later reversed by the civil service commission, in part because Abrahams admitted she'd deliberately stripped some workers of civil service protection. She should fit well in Pugh's administration. Pugh also named Michelle Pourciau as Transportation Director. She's a D.C. veteran, last employed by a K Street consultancy. Years ago she worked for the company that Pugh just hired to restart Baltimore's traffic cameras. Pugh's spokesman says there is no conflict—of course there isn't.