Kudos to Baltimore City Councilmember Brandon Scott, who showed up at last Monday's city council meeting sporting a Colin Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers jersey, and bowed his head during the Pledge of Allegiance. Kaepernick has been taking a knee during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" because, he said, he was "not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." He's taken heat for it too – especially from white people who seem more interested in blind nationalism than dead black people. Scott told us he was ready for whatever consequences came from this show of support. A politician with a backbone? Rare.
↑ Baltimore Ravens
A win's a win, and though the Ravens haven't really looked in sync in their first two games of the young NFL season, they find themselves with a perfect 2-0 record and a share of first place in the AFC North. But Sunday's 25-20 win against Cleveland was a bit of a wild ride that shows there's plenty of work to be done. Quarterback Joe Flacco didn't really get going until the second half, and the defense let up several big plays—including a seemingly endless amount of third-down conversions—to a Browns offense led by backup quarterback Josh McCown. If not for Cleveland's kicking blunders and the history of bad karma that comes from the Browns being the Browns, Baltimore might have lost. That said, fans will no doubt take two less-than-inspiring wins over the start of the 2015 season, when the team went 0-3 out of the gate and stumbled to a final record of 5-11. As Charles Cohen said in the City Paper during the 2012-13 playoffs that led to a Super Bowl ring, "winning ugly is a beautiful thing."
↑ Marilyn Mosby
Baltimore's homicide rate remains near record levels, with 239 recorded as of Sept. 14, and some 650 shootings so far. Mosby, with Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, announced the creation of a "Gun Violence Enforcement Division" to target the 600 or so "trigger-pullers" police have already identified as responsible for most of this year's shootings. Several detectives and up to 13 prosecutors will be assigned to the unit, which Mosby promises will use intelligence and evidence gathered by all police divisions to put the city's most violent repeat offenders away for good. Currently, non-fatal shootings result in arrest or other closure only 22 percent of the time, Mosby said. Convictions are rarer still. Improving these numbers will take focus, here's hoping Mosby and her partners can move the needle, while still respecting residents' rights to privacy.
←→ Confederate Monuments Report
The final report on what to do with Baltimore's Confederate monuments was recently released and it recommends that two of the city's monuments—of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney and generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson—should go altogether and two others, the Confederate Women's Monument and the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, need signage that provides proper context. Good. Get rid of these racist statues or at least remind anybody who gawks at them that they are indeed racist statues. But $RB is holding off on making a final decision. For now, they will all have "interpretive signage" as she thinks about what to do, even though the commission she appointed already said what should be done.
↓ Kevin Plank
The passage of a Memorandum of Understanding, promising some $135 million in "community benefits," cleared the way this week for the city to float $660 million in infrastructure bonds to support a $5.5 billion mega-development in Port Covington by Sagamore Development Corporation, one of Under Armour founder Kevin Plank's many businesses. This is a coup of the highest order, as the agreement only contains about $65 million, with the rest covered by promises, "anticipated revenue," fundraising, and things (public parks! Rights-of-way!) that would have had to happen anyway. The promise of thousands of jobs in exchange for the 30-year tax abatement (Port Covington's taxes will be dedicated to paying back the bonds underwriting it) demonstrates the value, to the nearest million dollars, of our municipal inferiority complex.