Baltimore City Power Rankings: Judge Barry Williams, BCPS, more

Baltimore City Power Rankings: Judge Barry Williams, BCPS, more

The Malenskis

No words or actions can replace the loss of a loved one or friend. The family members, co-workers, and friends of Tom Malenski who read victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing of Malenski's killer, Nicholas Heath, said as much in court. But those who spoke asked for Judge John Addison Howard to sentence Heath to the maximum 20-year sentence for killing Malenski, an Ottobar employee, in 2014. Though nothing could bring Malenski back, they said a maximum sentence would bring some sort of justice or closure, even after a jury acquitted Heath of more serious charges. Howard ended up sentencing Heath to the maximum, and he even questioned the self-defense argument put forth by the defense. The Malenski family can now put the trial behind them with a sense that justice was served. And they can continue to be heartened by the continued support and kind words from extended family, friends, and the Ottobar staff.

Kevin Plank

Unveiling, finally, a prospective master plan for Under Armour's huge new Port Covington HQ, Baltimore's favorite bro-millionaire appears poised to extend his empire of enlightened bro-dom into, in The Sun's breathless words, "a new neighborhood and skyline with up to 13 million square feet of offices, homes, stores and restaurants, and a shore remade with parks and running paths." City Planning Director Thomas Stosur concurs: "I feel very confident that it is going to be spectacular in every sense," he told The Sun. And how could it not be? With a cleaned-up shoreline, new streets, even a light-rail stop, the once-envisioned, never-built "Hunt Valley-by-the-Sea" seems a lock now: a slice of Baltimore safe for horse people.

The Maryland Stadium Authority

With a billion already pending for school construction, and now another $700-odd million to dispense in Baltimore—$93 million for the demolition of vacant houses across the city, the rest in unspecified developer subsidies—The Stadium Authority has cemented its status as the repository of all significant public construction projects 'round here, eclipsing the Baltimore Development Corporation by a wide and growing margin. The Stadium Authority, the thinking seems to be, is less prone to rank patronage, and incompetence, than the BDC or city agencies (such as Housing and Community Development, which handles demo and revitalization in the ordinary course of business). Of course, it's not as if anyone has actually checked.

Judge Barry G. Williams

The judge overseeing all six trials in the death of Freddie Gray has done everything in his power to keep information on the trial under wraps, placing documents filed under seal and ordering jurors not to talk. Sun reporters Justin Fenton and Kevin Rector were able to get in touch with one juror from the William Porter trial, Susan Elgin, an attorney, but she declined to say anything about the case. "Judge Williams asked the jurors not to discuss our service with the press," she told them. "I want to honor that request and respect the process." Their story goes on to say that the court's website doesn't even note the existence of certain files. Then, in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson, the driver of the van, Judge Williams went into what he called "uncharted territory" when he ruled Porter must testify, so long as anything he says on the stand isn't used against Porter in his retrial. The Maryland Court of Appeals is hearing an appeal from Porter's attorneys on Fifth Amendment grounds, postponing the Goodson trial. Williams is clearly asserting his power from the bench, but the openness of the proceedings and merits of his most recent ruling are facing necessary scrutiny.

BCPS

The city school board last week voted to close four schools, including Westside Elementary School in the Penn-North neighborhood, despite the objections of residents and community members who said the school served as an anchor institution for the neighborhood. Meanwhile, the schools that are still open aren't in tip-top shape either: Baltimore City College and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary Middle School both had to close last week because the schools lacked heat. Shuffling kids from school to school, sending kids home because a building lacks basic facilities—these all hurt kids from getting the basics out of their schools: an education.

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