Baltimore City Power Rankings: Up for rich assholes, whoever spray painted the speed camera, more

⬆︎ Rich Assholes

Elon Musk showed up in Maryland the other day digging a hole, and Gov. Hogan heartily approved. "Get hyped," the governor tweeted, referring to Musk's The Boring Company and his plans to dig an underground hyperloop along MD RT 295. Meanwhile, Mayor Catherine Pugh sent a love letter to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on the hope that the mogul will deign to build his company's second headquarters here. The state has promised "billions" in incentives because of course it would. Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are pushing an absurd "tax reform" bill that would (of course) cut taxes for the likes of Musk and Bezos (to say nothing of Kevin Plank, who we hope also had a pleasant week). As always, it's a great time to be unaccountably wealthy beyond reason.

⬆︎ Whoever Spray Painted a City Speed Camera

A Twitter user posted a video spray painting the lens of the speed camera in the 2000 block of Gwynns Falls Parkway with the caption "When u get fed up wit the tickets." Look, speed cameras are near schools, and it's important for students to be able to walk to and from school or to the bus safely, but aside from cameras outside Gilman and Polytechnic/Western, almost all the cameras are in the city's poor, black neighborhoods. That comes as a shock to nobody who follows how things are done around here, but it is a regressive use of these cameras. And citizens have every reason to be wary of these cameras. Previous programs were failures because of erroneous tickets—and on day one of this new system, duplicate tickets were issued to 962 people. So, consider the speed cam spray painter a protester.

⬇︎ Judge Alfred Nance

The state Commission on Judicial Disabilities ruled that Alfred Nance, the chief judge of the Baltimore Circuit Court, should be expelled for his "sanctionable conduct" in the courtroom, i.e. being a gross creep toward public defender Deborah Levi. In court Nance referred to Levi as "lady," "mother hen," and "child," and once told her to shut up. Nance was previously reprimanded for his conduct with women in 2001. As a reminder, Judge Nance banned note-taking for non-credentialed media members in his courtroom during Keith Davis Jr.'s trial earlier this year, a total violation of the idea of "open court." The Court of Appeals has the last word on Nance's fate, but the whole process is a bit of an empty gesture: Nance is close to turning 70, the age at which judges must retire. Even so, we're happy to get rid of him.

⬇︎ City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young

Nearly everyone in Baltimore City thinks it would be good if more cops lived where they work, and the City Council is now contemplating a $2,500 tax incentive for first responders to buy houses here, but Young has a way of stepping on his own, um, message, and he did that again this week. "We need to figure out how we can force them to live in the city," he said at a council committee hearing on the tax break. "This is madness. They have the nerve to vote to not sign the contract? They're raping the city." The Council President later regretted his word choice ("rape?" Really? With all the actual criminal sexual abuse in the news right now?) but the damage was done. Naturally, the union president fired back with his own ill-chosen words. This isn't helpful.

⬇︎ Gene Ryan

FOP head Gene Ryan got mad about Council President Jack Young's statement that cops, who mostly live outside the city, are "raping the city," and it was a dumb and insensitive comment. But Ryan shot back by claiming the BPD are the only thing stopping Baltimore "from falling into chaos," which is not only dismissive of all the other people doing good work in the city, but a ridiculous statement amid a massive Gun Trace Task Force scandal and a homicide spike—cops are inarguably adding to the chaos. Also, it sure would be a nice if a cop got as upset about how the BPD handles rape as they do about a rape comment: The DOJ report is full of examples of how the department doesn't take rape seriously, and the BPD has been accused plenty of literally raping the city (Google accused former BPD officer Jemini Jones or talk to some of the city's sex workers who'll tell you they've been sexually assaulted by crooked cops).

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