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Baltimore City Power Rankings: Pride, BPD, Liquor Board, more

Baltimore City Power Rankings: Pride, BPD, Liquor Board, more
(Alex Fine)

↑ Pride

The city's 41st annual Pride celebration was a success, in that it happened. It almost didn't—the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB) was struggling to pay off over $12,000 in outstanding police fees from previous years, plus $2,200 for this year's permits. With the help of some minor crowdfunding, the organization managed to pull the festival off. Yeah, everyone's glitter and rainbow face paint melted off in the unholy heat, but the weekend's parade, block party, festival, and satellite events like The Crown's two-day Kuntfest brought out the city's diverse and unbridled queer pride nonetheless.

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↑ Cyclists

Local advocacy group Bikemore informed its supporters that, yes, construction on the long-awaited cycle track down Maryland Avenue is finally getting started. The organization even included a picture of the heavy machinery at work to show it was for real, for real. Stretching from 29th Street in Charles Village all the way down to Pratt Street downtown, the new track will create a protected, dedicated lane for cyclists, a sorely needed addition to the city's bike infrastructure. There will even be flex posts to prevent cars from double parking or crossing over into the lane. Everything should be complete by late summer or early fall. With bike share set to come online about the same time, expect to see more folks getting around on two wheels.

↑ Baltimore Police Department

Police arrested three alleged murderers last week, which is great, but the department's signal achievement was something it didn't do: When two steers escaped from a slaughterhouse on the west side, Baltimore's finest completely refrained from blasting them to hamburger from passing squad cars, as was done the last time this happened. They did not launch teargas. They did not use automatic firearms of any kind, nor did they deploy robots, the "Bearcat" armored vehicle, rooftop snipers, or even flexicuffs. And somehow it all worked out. Excellent use-of-force restraint, people!

↓ Charm City Circulator

Last week, the Department of Transportation proposed a few cuts to the Charm City Circulator—eliminating the Banner and Green routes entirely and the Purple Route extension that was implemented just last October, after Mayor $RB put up a fight against similar cuts last summer. "She appreciates and recognizes the importance of public transit," $RB's then spokesman Howard Libit said back then, dangling the carrot. These changes are supposed to cover about $6 million in budget deficits, The Sun reports, and one wonders how exactly such a huge oversight happened in the first place. The mayor giveth, and the mayor taketh away.

↓ Liquor Board

A 49-page legislative audit is never good news, but incoming Liquor Board Chairman Albert Matricciani compounded his agency's well-documented litany of shortcomings by, in effect, claiming none of it applies to the agency since the auditors left last September. Saying the audit tells only "a half-story, a story that ended in September of 2015," Matricciani claimed that trouble with such basics as doing the actual inspections are, finally, things of the past. We have heard such things before. We hope the new chairman proves our cynicism misplaced.

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