Wandering Eye: Celebrating a Fells Point savior, credit card bloodsuckers, and the latest from Ferguson

For those who had fun in Fells Point during the Star-Spangled Spectacular this past weekend, something's happening tonight that recognizes someone whose efforts meant Fells Point remains a happening place: the late Lucretia Billings "Lu” Fisher. She died in 2011, when she was 98, but two generations earlier her stake in Fells Point real estate meant she could help spearhead a legal challenge to a planned 16-lane connector between I-95 and the Jones Falls Expressway, a highway that, if built, would have leveled much of Fells Point and Federal Hill and installed elevated highways and interchanges all across the Inner Harbor. The project was killed, thanks in no small measure to Fisher's spirited contributions to what was called "the road fight." "If she'd not gotten involved," says the Preservation Society's executive director, Ellen von Karajan, Fells Point "would have little to celebrate or might not even exist. She really reached out and had the connections and grit to galvanize the community here, which was all at odds and ends, and she stuck with the road fight for ten long years." Tonight, during an event that lasts from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Fells Point Visitor Center at 1724 Thames St. will be renamed in Fisher's honor. (Van Smith)

 

Pro Publica comes on this week with the shocking news that in most states, holders of consumer debt can garnish your wages and bank account to get satisfaction. Why this should be particularly shocking is not explained; it's probably a good idea to allow creditors to take steps against deadbeats (half of the debtors the journalists surveyed owed child support). But the story also maps out the punitive policies underlying the debt trap—familiar stuff like the 25-percent interest rate your credit card company charges if you miss a single payment. In some states, that usurious rate of interest—plus fees—continues after they get a judgment in court. So the debt keeps growing even after they start grabbing 25 percent of what's probably a meager wage anyway. This sort of enforced peonage probably should have gone out with the Enlightenment but, of course, much of what most people now think of as civilization—business stars with mega-yachts, multiple houses, and vast garages for their million-dollar cars—was built on clever, one-sided contracts. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

There may not be national-newsworthy protests happening in Ferguson anymore, but that doesn't mean the conflict surrounding the death of Michael Brown is over. Officer Darren Wilson is still on paid administrative leave, nowhere to be found, while a St. Louis County grand jury deliberates as to whether he should be criminally charged for the shooting death of the unarmed teenager. And now, it looks like a decision is even farther away: Circuit Judge Carolyn Whittington issued an order that gives the grand jury until Jan. 7 to make a decision. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out, it's already unusual that the grand jury will be making the decision as to whether or not Wilson will be charged, rather than "asking the grand jury to endorse a charge already filed." Perhaps St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch is hoping that this will calm the outrage surrounding Michael Brown's death, but as writer and St. Louis resident Sarah Kendzior tweeted, "No one is going to forget Mike Brown and Ferguson events. Doesn't matter how long they wait. St. Louis has already changed, no going back." (Anna Walsh)

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