The Mail 12/03/14

City Paper

Spatifying Feature

I brought a copy of Baltimore’s “Spattiest” free alternative weekly with me to the sunny Canvasback conference room behind the Merrill Center, where its 270-degree views of the Chesapeake Bay remind volunteers why we would spend one of 2014’s last warm Saturdays in a lengthy Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Speakers’ Bureau training session. It’s worth the drive to Annapolis to marvel at CBF’s Merrill Center, a big old barn that has been renovated to become one of the world’s greenest buildings. I always see osprey or heron when I go, and I know one day an eagle will fly right by my wandering gaze . . . but I digress.

There I was, proud to have Van Smith’s excellent feature (“The Oyster Counters,” Feature, Nov. 12) addressing some of the best news about the Bay at my side while 25 or so other volunteers and CBF employees enjoyed the same kind of congeniality Smith observed amongst the surveyors and crew aboard the Miss Kay. 

CBF’s Maryland scientist, Doug Myers, affirmed that along with the good news about bay grasses continuing to reclaim the shallows, the oyster population’s signs of improvement are a big deal. As Smith reported, oysters have this awe-inspiring capacity to remove pollutants and nitrogen from as much as 50 gallons of water a day, making them a keystone species. Experiments with Asian oysters, installation of reef balls and various types of beds, farming, and many restoration strategies have been underway with limited success for years–but now the cases of disease are becoming less deadly, with more oysters surviving to produce baby spat of their own.  

You may wonder, like I did, what is making the difference now? I had the chance to ask, and Myers explained that while we learn from everything we try, the deciding factor has been the creation of three harvest conservatories. When the diseases that nearly wiped out the already compromised populations strike the newly planted reefs in these three tributaries, some oysters die and some survive, developing immunity. The survivors are not being harvested, living long enough to reproduce, and passing their resistance to these diseases onto their offspring. 

Oh, disease-resistant native oysters filtering the Bay for us, I give thanks for you! May you live long and build many reefs as they provide habitats for a multitude of tasty and valuable species.

For solid scientific information about our bounteous estuary and what cleaning it up would do for Maryland’s economy, strategies to practice in your yard, and a wide variety of volunteer and educational opportunities, go to CBF.org. To request a speaker for your community organization, at your workplace, or for your club or event, please contact the CBF Speaker’s Bureau Director and Volunteer Coordinator, Alice Christman, and put us to work! 

Heather Hooper

Baltimore

“Civilized” Discourse

In the City Paper article entitled “Blinded With Science? Johns Hopkins University brings in international pop star Thomas Dolby to ‘do a neighborhood’ and act as an evangelist for its model” (A&E, Nov. 5), Baynard Woods writes about Dolby coming to town to help develop a “digital incubator” that might turn Station North into an East Coast “Silicon Valley for the arts.” Right, and how did that “Silicon Valley” thing turn out for the ordinary people living in places like San Francisco?

Dolby is quoted as saying when walking Station North for the first time, “. . . it was daytime so I didn’t stray too far from civilization.” Woods considered Dolby’s comment about “civilization” discomforting. Me too. He suggested Dolby’s attitude about Station North’s distinct neighborhoods might be colored by the institutional agents orienting Dolby’s thinking about the area. Me too. What’s the message?Once again, the powers-that-be think they know best and through the institutions they rule plan to take-over the “uncivilized” areas of Station North and do what?

It’s this type of languaging that creates a nest for gentrification to emerge. Let’s be clear, gentrification, a term coined by British sociologist Ruth Glass in 1964, is a dynamic that occurs during the revitalization of a neighborhood when the people who live and/or work in that neighborhood can no longer afford to do so. It’s that simple and direct. Gentrification is a consequence of careless revitalization.

For example, the idea of making Station North a part of Baltimore where technology and the arts intertwine to create a hub for something new to emerge is fantastic. I embrace a construct for creating spaces where something unique can occur, BUT combining the arts with technology is not enough to make a project desirable or unique. At least not for me, you see I care. Sorry.

I care about the people who now live, work and travel through Station North. So, for me, in order for the arts and technologies to generate something new and fair it must be humane. This entails participation by all throughout the processes. A willingness to explore cultural similarities and differences when designing outputs and hopefully inputs. And most importantly, an opportunity for all those interested in participating to articulate their desires: my desires, your desires, our desires. This requires an ability to deal with conflict as a necessity, since our conflicts are often a consequence of our desires. Desires do differ don’t they? So what now?

The technologies to make the shift are here— now. The arts that make it possible deep creativity, are not embraced by many, only a few and they, we are not popular—yet.

Judith Lombardi, lcsw-c, phd

Baltimore

FROM THE WEB, FACEBOOK, AND TWITTER

“Baltimore’s New Deal: WPA-level spending has the power to remake the city, but much of it might be going away”

Mr. Ericson, what planet are you on? The state is broke. O’Malley is leaving us with a $600 million budget deficit, with no clear path how to address it. Where are we supposed to come up with all the billions you claim can save Baltimore? And the people of Maryland elected Larry Hogan to reduce taxes and promote business development, not dump billions into make-work projects. 

–“Dogface,” Nov. 30

The Frank Conaway Jr. scandal conveniently drops after Election Day”

This publication’s blatant disregard and apparent hatred of the Conaway family is despicable and the lowest form of so-called journalism?! Grow up and get over it, as they continue to win despite your obviously bias reporting making this ragtag publication look childish and down right foolish!! 

–“Hassan MrPolitics Giordano,” Nov. 27

“Holy shit, 3-D Jean-Luc Godard flick ‘Goodbye to Language’ to screen at the Senator Theatre”

Can’t we show enthusiasm without using gutter language? Granted, it is the City Paper. Still, if you are civilized enough for Godard, you can speak with civilized words. 

–“Sighs,” Nov. 27

 

@Sighs you know that ‘Goodbye to Language’ has like a bunch of fart jokes in it, right? 

–“brandonsoderberg,” Nov. 27

“Transgender Victims Remembered: Despite legal progress, 233 were killed in anti-transgender violence over the last year”

This is so sad. When will people learn that we are all just humans no matter what slight differences we have. Reach out to others with compassion instead of anger. I am tremendously thankful for the health and safety of my own trans friends today, and will keep these families in my thoughts this holiday season.

–“Sasha Durange,” Nov. 27

“On the night of Ferguson grand jury decision, the MICA community grapples with racist graffiti”

I remember back in 1994 when i was a student at MICA, we had major racial problems. The college at the time didn’t even have a Black Student Union. Sad that 20yrs, still same issues on campus....smh

–“Jenn Grecco,” Nov. 25

 

Isn’t it a known fact that MICA students are over privileged pricks?

–“Andrew Mazan,” Nov. 25

 

Shameful. i live near MICA. Sad to see this.

–“Joe Nice,” Nov. 25

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