Wandering Eye: The budget for city schools is worse than expected, a look inside Fort Carroll, and more

A literal wandering eye—a drone—captured footage last November of the long-abandoned Fort Carroll near the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the Patapsco River, and the Chesapeake Bay powerboating website proptalk.com posted the resulting video online last week. (Thanks to former City Paper staff writer Chris Landers for finding it.) Near the end of the six-minute video, decade-plus old still images are scrolled, to give a sense of what's on the ground there. This is a good example, along with the drone-assisted video tour of Baltimore that filmmaker Matthew Coakley recently posted, of the consolation prizes esthetes can be awarded for having to live with a technology used primarily to spy and kill. (Van Smith)

 

Parents, teachers, and school administrators have been up in arms since Gov. Larry Hogan last month announced his proposed budget, which includes a $35 million cut in state funding to Baltimore City schools. But according to a report in The Sun today the situation seems to be considerably more dire than many thought: Due largely to unexpected increases in teacher compensation as a result of the new Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) contract, city schools are facing a budget shortfall of more than $60 million, even before Hogan's cuts. City schools CEO Gregory Thornton was in Annapolis Tuesday meeting with lawmakers to reassure them he had a plan to make up the $60 million shortfall—a plan that will likely include layoffs ("My budget is 80 percent people," Thornton told The Sun. "It's impossible for me to get there without touching human capital")—and to ask their help to block or replace Hogan's proposed cuts. The Sun story suggested he might get his wish: "[House speaker Mike] Busch has vowed to find the money to replace [the cuts]," it said, "and other leaders say they doubt that Hogan's budget will pass with the education cuts in place." (Evan Serpick)

 

Holy Crap! Iceland has sentenced its crooked bankers to prison! Here's Reuters reporting that the Supreme Court of Iceland has sentenced three high-level bank executives and one top shareholder to between four and five and a half years behind bars for market manipulation during the run-up to the crash of 2008. "Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, Kaupthing's former chief executive, former chairman Sigurdur Einarsson, former CEO of Kaupthing Luxembourg Magnus Gudmundsson, and Olafur Olafsson, the bank's second largest shareholder at the time, were all sentenced" last week. Iceland—with a population about half of Baltimore City's—was among the hardest-hit nations in the bank collapses that rocked the world's economy. But the nation was also among the fastest to recover, largely because it did the opposite of what many others did. Instead of bailing out the failed and fraudulent banks, Iceland wrote off—defaulted, basically—on the debt. Instead of ignoring the bankers' crimes, it prosecuted. This is why you hear so little from this country today. The prosecutor, Olafur Hauksson, is a former cop from a fishing village. He got the job because no one else applied for the job: "Asked whether he would take the job again knowing how complex the prosecutions would be, Hauksson replied, laughing: 'Yes. And I'd probably be the only applicant again.'" (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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