Baltimore City Paper

Baltimore City Power Rankings: Green party, West family, BCPS, and more

↑ West family

Last week, the family of Tyrone West—a man who died in police custody in July 2013—announced an independent forensic review which disputes West's autopsy. The review claims West did not die of a "bad heart" but because he could not breathe—"positional asphyxia." This review comes less than a month after State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby told The Baltimore Sun that she would not reopen the West case unless there was new information. This is "new information" according to the West family, which is demanding that West's body be exhumed so that they can conduct an independent autopsy. It's a win for the West family after tirelessly campaigning for nearly three years now to keep West's name in the news and it puts more pressure on Mosby to reopen the case.


↑ Green party

While Baltimore already considers Democratic nominee Catherine Pugh the next mayor, there is talk that the Green Party's nominee Joshua Harris, who got 85 percent of the Green vote, could possibly offer up a challenge. To be honest, the chances are slim, but Harris is a strong, thoughtful candidate and much-loved by the city's grassroots activists and organizers and his passion and good ideas are likely to adjust the conversation. Along with Harris' nomination, the Green Party offers up Margaret Flowers for U.S. Senate and Connor Meek for City Council President among others, and there is plenty of positive murmurs about Ian Schlakman of the 12th District. If any city is ripe for a Dems. vs. Green election, it's post-uprising Baltimore—a shift away from Baltimore's one party rule would be exciting.



Last week the Baltimore Museum of Art announced it had appointed a new director to succeed Doreen Bolger after she retired last year following 17 years in the job. In August, Scotland native Christopher Bedford will leave behind his position as the director of Brandeis University's Rose Art Museum near Boston to become the BMA's 10th director. Bedford is also slated to commission the U.S. Pavilion at next year's Venice Biennale (that's a huge deal, if you don't know). He's got an impressive resume and has organized exhibitions for several well-known artists. Looks like the BMA is headed for bigger things—let's hope they don't forget their roots along the way.

↓The Weather

This weather, amirite?

↓ Baltimore City Public Schools

Last week the school board announced it was axing CEO Gregory Thornton and hiring Sonja Santelises to replace him. We have no problem with that, but what's with the sneaky, underhanded, paternalistic, barely legal secrecy with which the search process was conducted? The school board, to avoid scrutiny, used a private donation to hire a search firm—and totally bypassed approving the funds in a public meeting. It pooh-poohed the notion of transparency, didn't even pretend to care about community input, and glibly insisted it didn't want to "distract" teachers, administrators, or parents with that ole thing we call truth. In February, board chair Marnell Cooper told The Sun that Thornton "received a positive evaluation" and that "we expect that he will fulfill the remainder of his contract," as the board was searching for a replacement. What are we citizens to make of a school board that goes beyond the obfuscation that it—and North Avenue—are notorious for and just bald-faced lies?

This week's BCPR illustrations by: Alex Fine and four of his Baltimore Academy of Illustration Students