↑ Ruby Grantees
The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance announced the nine recipients of their Rubys Artist Project Grants for literary and visual arts, and we here at City Paper were pleased to see some familiar names, including Susan Muaddi Darraj, who this year released the excellent short story collection "A Curious Land: Stories from Home" and curated and edited our most recent Fiction and Poetry Issue. Writers Thea Brown, Andria Nacina Cole, and Carla Du Pree, whose work appeared in that issue, also received the grant. Other grantees whose names have appeared in these pages include Kimi Hanauer, an artist, arts organizer, and editor; and Hoesy Corona, an independent artist and one half of performance art curatorial duo LabBodies. The Rubys help these artists and writers see through specific projects with up to $10,000 in funding. We can't wait to see what they do.
↑ Green Initiatives
On Oct. 14, the White House announced a series of initiatives that will help boost Baltimore's eco-friendliness, including a first-in-the-nation program that will use resources from the EPA and U.S. Geological Survey to measure water quality in the Jones Falls and a program that will give neighborhoods across the city free or low-cost resources to turn vacant lots into green space. Additionally, a wildlife refuge that was started in the city in 2013 will be expanded over the next decade. As everyone knows, Baltimore has a lot of problems, but it's good that the city is on the forefront of adapting to climate change. Thanks, Obama.
←→ Sheila Dixon
We went back and forth over whether to give the former mayor an up or down for her re-entry into the mayor's race. With just weeks until Baltimore City voters head to the polls, it's a long shot, so what's the point? That said, Dixon did have the power and influence to mount a coordinated effort: All at once, she was once again in the spotlight. Plus, a little extra competition in the race to run the city is never a bad thing. We didn't give her a Best of Baltimore award for chutzpah for nothing, folks.
WYPR reporter Kenneth Burns has been barred from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's weekly post-Board of Estimates press conference, after he questioned her about the amount of control she has over the Baltimore City Police Department, since it's a state agency. The Mayor described Burns' behavior as "threatening," but hasn't backed up her claims with any real proof (believe us - we've asked). We're not sure if Rawlings-Blake thinks she doesn't have to be beholden to anyone now that she has one foot out the door, or if she believes the first amendment only applies to questions she feels comfortable with.
↓ Donald Trump
Out-of-the-blue we got a letter from Donald Trump threatening to sue us (as he threatened the New York Times last week) or grab our pussies (as he'd promised he'd done to several women), if we didn't cite him in this column. He stomped his feet. He shook his small fist. He insisted that City Paper's power rankings were a left-wing conspiracy, "one big fix," "one big ugly lie," and that they are "absolutely being rigged." If we don't put him in Power Rankings, he told us, he will completely invalidate the results—or anyway, that's the future we imagine if he becomes the next president. And as we said on Twitter after Trump mentioned Baltimore in the last debate, "You don't know shit about Baltimore, @realDonaldTrump."