↑ Maryland Democrats
The spotlight in Philadelphia last week was obviously on Hillary Clinton, but Marylanders got their fair share of the limelight, too. There was our own $RB, who made a gaffe so big we gave it its own power ranking. Outgoing Senator Barbara Mikulski took to the stage on Tuesday to offer Clinton's name for nomination (she spoke again on Thursday, along with other Democratic Women of the Senate). And on Wednesday, the presidential candidate we kept forgetting about, Martin O'Malley, delivered a rousing speech blasting Donald Trump. We also spotted the Mosbys in the good seats. Goes to show that even though our current governor is a Republican, we still bleed blue.
Okay, so Il Mayore goofed up her big moment on the national stage at the Democratic National Convention, forgetting the very thing she was tapped to do: gavel the start of the convention. But she took the whole thing in stride, even as a GIF of her wide-eyed look as she came back to bang the gavel became a meme—including a pretty great anti-Trump GIF, in which $RB bops the GOP's fascist nominee on the head—tweeting about her lipstick and cheering on the other speakers. All in all, she did just fine. This, despite the unfortunate timing, having the mayor out of town as the State's Attorney's Office announced it would be dropping the remaining charges against the officers involved with Freddie Gray's death. Baltimore's very real problems were again the focus of national news.
↓ The Weather
Heavy rain over the weekend flooded the Jones Falls here in Baltimore and the Patapsco River near Ellicott City, which led to two deaths in the historic Howard County town. Flood waters ravaged Main Street in the old mill village, tearing up sidewalks and destroying many small businesses. A similar thing happened to three businesses in the Meadow Mill complex: Nepenthe Homebrew, Mouth Party Caramel, and Stone Mill Bakery all had their stores destroyed by the rising waters. And sadly, they all suffered a similar fate during a heavy downpour in April 2014. Though the rainfall that pounded the region was said to be a "once-in-a-millennium" storm, studies have shown that climate change is fueling extreme weather events. There is one silver lining in all of this, however: the number of people pledging money and time to help rebuild.
↓ Jack Young
In his online journal, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young called the council's Taxation, Finance, and Economic Development committee meeting on the Port Covington TIF "a study in democracy." What? City Paper must have attended a different event. We saw an audience subjected to hours of experts, technocrats, and politicians all blabbing to each other. Long after most of the hundreds of citizens had given up and gone home, the committee announced that public testimony would be tabled until a second meeting on Aug. 3 (see page 13). Port Covington is clearly a huge deal that people are concerned about. The idea that the concerns of Baltimore residents are secondary does not inspire much confidence in city officials.
On July 27, the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office dropped all charges against the three officers awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray, meaning not one of the six officers involved in Gray's death would do time. Though State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby gave a fiery speech in Sandtown that many residents seemed to embrace (see page 8), it was countered by the smiling faces over at FOP headquarters. Mosby's critiques of the BPD led former Commissioner Anthony Batts to rise from the ether and retaliate, calling the city's top prosecutor "immature," "incompetent," and "vindictive." The following day, deputy state's attorneys Michael Schatzow and Janice Bledsoe gave a press conference in which they doubled down on the criticism of the BPD, saying they failed to serve warrants on the six officers' phones. Here's what remains now that the dust has settled: three acquittals, three dropped trials, and no answers for the Gray family.