↑ Zeke Cohen
The First District Councilman is making common cause with the many undocumented immigrants in his district, and that put him in the right wing's crosshairs. He stood up to Fox News bloviator Tucker Carlson last week, parrying Carlson's gibing ambush with a smile. Carlson accused Cohen of not caring about a 14-year-old rape victim, and mocked Cohen's implicit comparison of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to Nazis. But Carlson's argument senselessly blamed the rape (which Cohen denounced) on the broad policy goal of humane and practical immigration enforcement. Cohen tried gamely to get this across to Carlson and expanded his thoughts in a WaPo op-ed last weekend.
Back in January, Guinness had plans to open a brewery in Baltimore County, a development that the county forecasts will bring 300,000 tourists a year and 70 jobs. There's one thing in the way of it happening though: Maryland's law restricting the number of barrels a brewery can sell on-site to 500. Guinness expects to sell way more, so our genius elected officials in the House of Delegates got to work and passed a bill, HB1283, that increases on-site consumption to 2,000 barrels. But the law also restricts taproom hours and contract brewing, which would be two huge blows to local craft brewers such as Union, Peabody Heights, and Heavy Seas. Brewers are hoping the Maryland Senate will add amendments to HB1283 to eliminate some of these restrictions, and let's hope they do, because this is an obvious fuck-up that needs correcting.
According to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released last week, Governor Larry Hogan's job approval rating is starting to falter-down to 65 percent from 71 percent last September. Just 41 percent of registered voters said that they would support him for a second term, with 37 percent saying they'd rather vote for a Democrat. And then there's the way he refuses to take a stance on Trump's immigration ban despite calls for him to do so, his ongoing trolling of BCPS, and a meeting last week with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos where the two were greeted by protestors. Hogan has announced an extra $23 million for city schools, which other lawmakers denounced as too little, too late. What's the Republican governor of a blue state to do?
↓ Trans Lives
In the early morning of March 22, 38-year-old Alphonza Watson became the eighth transgender woman of color to be killed in the U.S. this year and the fourteenth transgender person murdered in Baltimore since 2005, following the murder of Crystal Edmonds last September. Neither Watson's nor Edmonds' killers have been caught. Nationally and locally, recent history has further established that violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color. Last Saturday, members of the transgender community, allies, and representatives from local LGBTQ organizations gathered at the Ynot Lot in Station North to pay tribute to Watson and grapple with the ongoing violence, which seems even more threatening in the current political climate. Said Monica Stevens, founder of transgender network Sistas of the T: "I'm not just sick of the killing, I'm sick of people not seeing the beauty of our diversity."
Mayor Pugh announced at a press conference last Friday that she would veto the minimum wage hike that would've steadily moved Baltimore's minimum wage to $15 by 2022. Pugh had previously supported such a hike and in a questionnaire for mayoral candidates sent out by the Metropolitan Baltimore AFL-CIO last year, Pugh said "yes" to the question, "Would you be in favor of Baltimore raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour?" Pugh cited the school deficit and consent decree costs as reasons for the veto while offering this masterful bunch of bullshit: "You know, I don't think they make you swear on the Bible," Pugh said. "They ask you if you would support and I absolutely do support." Campaign promises and even words themselves are meaningless to our new Mayor.