Dan Rodricks: Vanished faces of a West Virginia boom town

Basu misuses Port Covington history to back Sagamore

Port Covington's history calls for scrutiny of Sagamore's proposal.

We read the recent op-ed by Anirban Basu ("Why Baltimore should support Sagamore," March 15) with some incredulousness. It was not his position on the Sagamore development that caught our attention but rather that he had appropriated multiple statements from an essay we co-authored years ago. While he mentioned one of us as a source, he did not cite the essay itself, credit both authors or explain the context and intent of our piece. Instead, he rewords numerous passages from our essay in a way no college professor would accept as original work and misuses them in a manner that supports his argument and gives the reader the impression that our research on Port Covington is a justification for the current development's public financing proposal, which it is not.

At the heart of our essay was an effort to understand the abandoned curb cuts, light poles and sidewalks that currently cut through the unbuilt shopping center lots at Port Covington as examples of infrastructure built at Baltimore City's expense and made in response to promises that commercial developers were unable to meet. Examples like these illustrate why increased scrutiny and oversight of the kind of public financing that Sagamore is seeking is necessary.

Readers interested in viewing the original essay, which was presented as part of the City from Below Conference in 2009 and as a peer reviewed architecture conference paper in 2011, can find it at http://765.blogspot.com/2009/06/port-covington-ghost-of-masterplan-in.html.

Eric Leshinsky, Austin, Texas and Fred Scharmen, Baltimore

Mr. Scharmen is assistant professor of graduate architecture at Morgan State University.

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