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Baltimore

The Dali Disaster Is What Profit-Driven Economics Looks Like

On March 26, the day after the commemoration of the 113th anniversary of the Triangle factory fire that killed 146 mostly female immigrant garment workers in lower Manhattan — a crew of a half-dozen immigrant men in a non-union paving crew fell 185 feet to their deaths from Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key bridge after it was rammed by the Dali, a rudderless massive cargo ship that was trying to leave the port without a tug escort. Police were able to close the bridge to traffic just before the catastrophic collision took place after the powerless and adrift Singaporean-flagged Dali got out a mayday call at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Feds Recently Hit Maersk In Baltimore Disaster For Silencing Whistleblowers

The company that chartered the cargo ship that destroyed the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore was recently sanctioned by regulators for blocking its employees from directly reporting safety concerns to the U.S. Coast Guard — in violation of a seaman whistleblower protection law, according to regulatory filings reviewed by The Lever. Eight months before a Maersk Line Limited-chartered cargo ship crashed into the Baltimore bridge, likely killing six people and injuring others, the Labor Department sanctioned the shipping conglomerate for retaliating against an employee who reported unsafe working conditions aboard a Maersk-operated boat.

Baltimore’s New $1 Billion Jail Will Be Most Expensive State-Funded Project

Nearly nine years after former Gov. Larry Hogan shuttered the old Baltimore City Detention Center, a new centerpiece facility for the city’s pretrial jail population is poised to rise from its ashes. But it’s going to cost you. The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which has run the city’s jail system for decades, is pushing ahead with ambitious plans for the Baltimore Therapeutic Treatment Center — a sort of hybrid jail, hospital and mental health and substance use treatment facility for people facing criminal charges.

Baltimore: Cops Tried To Arrest A Whole Neighborhood

Former Baltimore Police Sgt. Ethan Newberg’s disgraceful downfall continues as new body camera footage reveals an incident in which the ex-cop made three illegal arrests, and then threatened to arrest entire block full of witnesses. Although they were initially responding to a neighborhood dispute, Newberg and his partner arrested a local resident who was not involved in the altercation almost immediately. When neighbors began to protest, Newberg escalated to arrest two more residents—and threatened to keep going until the whole neighborhood was in handcuffs. 

Stillmeadow Peace Park Is Baltimore’s Tale Of Urban Reinvention

In the woods next to the Stillmeadow Community Fellowship church in Southwest Baltimore, Pastor Michael Martin has another sanctuary he eagerly shares with visitors. The church leaders poses meditative questions—”What do you hear?” “What do you see?” “How does it make you feel?”—as he walks parishioners, neighbors, and other participants in Stillmeadow’s “daytime retreats” through the 10 acres of once-neglected, church-owned property overlooking busy Frederick Avenue. Here, freshly planted and fast-growing saplings, carefully carved-out walking trails, and streamside sitting areas invite each person who passes through to pause.

Why Did Baltimore Lavish Tens Of Millions In Tax Breaks?

Baltimore is often maligned as a shrinking city beset by crime and intractable poverty. But take a walk down President Street just south of Little Italy on a Friday night, and you will enter a world that appears far removed from the idea of a city that is terminally in decay. Past the empty pavilions of the Inner Harbor and east of the city’s increasingly troubled downtown business district, a cluster of towering high-rises emerges from the harbor like a defiant mountain range of concrete. A cobblestone boulevard leads to a European-style thoroughfare dotted with a dazzling array of upscale restaurants and outdoor dining patios.

Baltimore’s Media Nightmare And The Billionairification Of News

David D. Smith, leading stockholder of Sinclair, Inc., announced on January 15 that he was purchasing what is left of the Baltimore Sun, once regarded as the crown jewel of the Maryland city’s media (AP, 1/15/24). Sinclair is a multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 company and one of the largest owners of television stations in the country. The company has been criticized for its conservative and not always accurate TV news coverage (Salon, 7/21/17; New Yorker, 10/15/18). In 2018, the company compelled local TV news anchors around the country to read on air the same copy parroting President Donald Trump’s claims about “fake news” (Deadspin, 3/31/18).

Baltimore’s Co-Ops Show There’s Another Way To Work

Baltimore has become what many consider to be ground zero in the emerging “solidarity economy” and the formation of worker-owned, cooperatively run businesses. There’s something important going on here, and there’s a lot that we can all learn from our fellow workers who are in the cooperative space—people who are living, breathing proof that there’s another way to run a business, that there's another way to run our economy, and that there are other ways we can treat work and workers. At a recent event hosted by the Baltimore Museum of Industry titled "Work Matters: Building a Worker-Owned Co-op," Max moderated a panel including workers and representatives from Common Ground Bakery Café, Taharka Bros Ice Cream, A Few Cool Hardware Stores, and the Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED).

Baltimore’s ‘Downward Spiral’ Of Poverty, Disinvestment, And Policing

The crisis of mass incarceration is about more than the conduct of police officers—it’s a question of public expenditures, and how pouring taxpayer money into incarceration at the expense of other, more humanizing ventures takes a toll on society at large. As public schools and public health programs across the nation grapple with a host of preventable problems arising from underinvestment, state and local governments across the nation spend over $200 billion each year on prisons, jails, and police. Now, a new report from the Justice Policy Institute, “The Right Investment 2.0”, takes a detailed look at the “downward spiral” low-income, predominately Black and Brown communities across Maryland are forced into by this imbalance in public expenditures.

State Senator Seeks To Unearth Hidden Costs Of Developer Tax Breaks

For decades, Baltimore has doled out tax breaks intended to spur development. But the increasing use of incentives has not been matched by scrutiny of how much they cost the city, and who is benefiting. State Senator Jill Carter intends to correct that imbalance with a bill she has introduced to study a variety of tax breaks in-depth, with the purpose of determining if their use is both equitable and cost effective. “I think it’s important that people pay attention to how much money is thrown out to wealthy developers with no accountability,” Carter said. The bill would authorize a task force to gather data and recommend processes to increase transparency and accountability for how tax breaks are used.

Here We Go Again

It was about to get dark. In the summer of 2003, Devin was 19 years old and living in West Baltimore with his mom and two brothers, just a few blocks away from the Western District Baltimore Police station. Every night around 9 or 10 p.m., Baltimore cops patrolled the area heavily. They drove in marked and unmarked cop cars searching for signs of disorder, ready to round up people for mass arrest. It was all part of a policing strategy introduced in the late ’90s called “zero tolerance.” “It always happened around sundown,” Devin told The Real News. “The police see you out with even just one or two people and they just looked at you and you knew they were gonna wild out.”

Baltimore Joins Over 100 US Cities In Endorsement Of Medicare For All

Baltimore has officially joined the growing list of over 100 U.S. municipalities advocating for a nationwide Medicare for All healthcare system. This significant endorsement, led by Democratic City Councilmembers Kristerfer Burnett and Odette Ramos, aligns Baltimore with major cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in supporting a federally funded universal healthcare program. Burnett expressed gratitude to advocates who have been instrumental in advancing these resolutions nationwide, highlighting the importance of accessible healthcare for thriving communities. Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr., a local pastor, emphasized the critical need for healthcare as a right, especially for those facing tough choices like affording insulin or groceries.

Black Oral Storytellers Keep Black History Alive In Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland - Shana Bainbridge, a white fifth grade teacher at the predominantly Black Glenmont Middle School in Baltimore, was unsure how she could meaningfully engage her students when her school’s administration challenged her to come up with a project to celebrate Black History Month. “Until we’re put to task to find out something new, we often don’t [learn] about our history,” Bainbridge said. “I thought that was really amazing how generations, not just my students, but the generations before them and the generations before them were able to share their stories and their impact on the world.”

Baltimore Buried These Streams; An Artist Is Bringing One Back

Listen carefully nearby certain storm drains in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood, and you might be able to hear the echo of Sumwalt Run, flowing 30 to 40 feet below. The creek disappeared from Baltimore’s landscape in the early 20th century when the city built a new sewer system. Sumwalt Run became a concrete culvert, moving springwater and storm runoff through Baltimore’s sewers into its harbor. It’s one of dozens of “ghost rivers,” as local artist Bruce Willen calls them, in the city: buried streams that still “haunt” the urban landscape and its residents by contributing to downstream water pollution and flooding.

Student Activists Are Pushing Back Against Big Polluters And Winning

Baltimore, Maryland - South Baltimore is on a peninsula surrounded by water, highways and train tracks. It's mostly made up of residential row houses, small yards, schools, rec centers and parks. It's also often thought of as a place to avoid — folks are taught to be careful of or even avoid South Baltimore. There was a mass shooting this past July in the Brooklyn neighborhood of South Baltimore, and another in early September. "People think Curtis Bay is a dangerous place. It's not. It's just we're surrounded by dangerous things," says Taysia Thompson, 17. Taysia is a part of a group of student activists fighting against a very different kind of danger in their neighborhood: air pollution and climate change.
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