↑ City Bloc
On Monday, City Bloc, the whip-smart group of activists at Baltimore City College High School who played a major role in last fall's City Hall sit-in, kicked off a week of protests called #FormationWeek. Named after Beyoncé's recent pop-protest track, it's a week in which City Bloc asks students to commit to a different action each day ("mindwrap Monday," in which students are asked to wear natural hair or scarves; "traditional Tuesday" in which students wear traditional ethnic clothing; and so on). This clever riff on "spirit week" challenges the notion that preppy, Brit-inspired uniforms will engender better educated kids—and celebrates diversity, individuality, and creativity. We eagerly wait to see how Baltimore City College responds.
↑ Young Moose
Embattled East Baltimore rap hero Young Moose was acquitted (along with his father, mother, and brother) last week on drug charges stemming from an arrest in 2014. Although the drugs were found in Moose's residence, the judge said it was "apparent that" there were "various [other] persons of interest" in the home and that Moose was "the target" of BPD's investigation—an issue City Paper has been covering since 2014 when it was revealed that, in part, Moose's music videos were being used as evidence against him. From here on out, try and stay out of trouble Moose; Baltimore favorite Lil Boosie's got your back these days.
←→ Bike Sharing
Baltimore City has given the green light for a $2.36 million contract with a Canadian bike sharing company, Bewegen Technologies, to provide new bikes for residents and visitors this Fall. With 200 electric-assisted pedaling bikes, it is the largest fleet of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. But the fifty stations, located in the Inner Harbor and surrounding areas, are intended to enhance the tourism and business sectors of the city. What about the rest of our city? This is just another version of the two-Baltimores story—not an ideal way to peddle the city forward.
BGE has proposed a rate-hike that is going to cost the average household $15 more a month for gas and electricity. Several years ago, the utility company introduced Smart Meters, gadgets that were supposed to save the company time and money by wireless collection of user data. (It was also touted as being more accurate.) But now, somehow, users are being asked to pay more to cover the cost of this money- and labor-saving device—as well as other infrastructure upgrades. So let's get this straight: Consumers are footing the bill for upgrades that, in the long run, are going to save the company time and increase its profit margins?
Sergeant Robert Messner, who was seen in a video in October spitting on Alfred Evans, a man in handcuffs that he was arresting, has been found guilty of second-degree assault and misconduct in office. It's the kind of abuse that probably would've been ignored before a burgeoning, organized movement to call attention to police misconduct gained footing over the past few years. And it certainly would've gone nowhere had somebody not recorded the incident. In court, Messner claimed that he has a health condition that caused gum to fall out of his mouth at that moment. Really now?