I'm conflicted. On one hand, I'm all about freedom of expression, the abolition of body-shaming, and a wholesale relaxation of the archaic standards of "morality" mainstream culture labors under. On the other hand, I can see the nipples of the bra model in last week's American Apparel ad (March 13).
It's not like you decided to print pornography-it's an advertisement, and somehow that's worse. The company has a history of female objectification and a laughable attempt at monetizing corporately mandated fat acceptance (Google Nancy Upton) on their record, and I don't know whether to be surprised at the escalation of their commodification of sex or consider it par for the course.
Don't get me wrong. Nipples are great! Mine, yours, everybody's. But as long as mainstream culture has this moratorium on erogenous zones-and ridiculous double standards for women, as evidenced by a bill recently introduced in North Carolina that would potentially punish the owners of exposed female areolas with jail time-maybe City Paper shouldn't print advertising from a corporation using them to sell products.
With the advent of the internet and social media putting a serious dent in the newspaper industry, maybe it is time for downsizing weathermen in our viewing area. Why our esteemed locals (Mike Masco and Tony Pann) interject their politics/belief systems into something as simple as the weather is laughable ("Baltimore City Power Rankings,"
). All of the doom and gloom forecast for the "snowquester" was due to the simple, basic fact that it was too WARM to snow. Before you put stock into these gentlemen again, do one of three things for your future weather forecasts. Go online, call a friend or relative from the South or Midwest, and ask them literally "how's the weather?" or do what will work 100 percent of the time: Wake up and look out of the window.
Home Cruel Home
Thank you for giving an arrow up to homeless advocates, led by homeless individuals, including camp residents, in the battle for "Camp 83" ("Baltimore City Power Rankings,"
). Alas, few of us really feel a sense of accomplishment. The city did find permanent housing for a few residents, and apparently more individuals may be on their "journey home." Yet the destruction remains an act of cruelty. But for the last-minute provision of temporary (perhaps very temporary) housing by a nonprofit agency, most of the Camp 83 residents would have been scattered to the wind. The city knew that its offer of emergency shelter was, for most residents, unrealistic.
According to the city's 2011 homelessness census, 4,088 people were competing for 2,293 beds on the night of Jan. 25, 2011. If the campers had been sheltered, who would have been displaced? And since the city has been working on permanent housing opportunities with the residents of Camp 83, why the rush to evict them before this housing is available?
Unfortunately, it appears that the current administration is accelerating the destruction of encampments in the face of a terribly inadequate supply of temporary shelter and permanent housing. On March 12, Department of Public Works staff, without the warning required by the city's encampment policy, began to discard the belongings of folks sleeping in another encampment under the JFX. Homeless folks and advocates halted this action, but we fear that the trash trucks will return long before any of these vulnerable individuals have reasonable housing arrangements.
What is the message that the city is conveying? If you can't afford housing, find a doorway-but don't dare share it?
former executive director, Healthcare for the Homeless
Save Our Schools
The billion-dollar plan to save our schools isn't just a "money pit"; what you've described is a taxpayer-funded black hole ("The Money Pit,"
)! Our public-education infrastructure may be in disrepair, but it takes more than bricks and mortar to solve the problem.
How fascinating the Baltimore plan is modeled after the "school building frenzy" of Greenville, S.C. And there's much to learn from that municipality. Unfortunately, huge differences exist. As your report pointed out, Greenville has a growing industrial base-BMW, Michelin, and General Electric are coveted employers, and this has created an economic and demographic magnet. What does Baltimore offer today in the way of good jobs?
Also, Greenville enjoys incomes above state average. Yet it's not our less-than-stellar population causing Baltimore's deficiencies. School environments are only as good as their surrounding communities-and here we fail dismally.
Baltimore's North Avenue school headquarters aren't called "The Kremlin" for nothing. They may enjoy erecting billboards urging community involvement, but do they really want activism? I've lived in downtown Baltimore for two decades, yet not once do I recall any outreach from a local school, either public or private. Sadly, in spite of many recent attempts to volunteer at a local high school, nothing so far has materialized.
I'd love to see Baltimore become another Greenville, S.C. But for that to happen, our public schools need local businesses, community organizations, taxpayers, and parents to come on board.
Rosalind Ellis Heid
I would like to respond to a challenge about gun-safety legislation with a challenge of my own ("Gun Shy,"
To all Maryland artists age 6-106: As it seems that words are not enough, we must use images. Can we all create a Gun Victims Memorial Quilt? Let us bring back to life all the faces, all the hopes, all the unfulfilled promises of the thousands who were blasted away in one horrible instant. Let's cover the land with everyone who can no longer share our progress.
Then let those who divide our country into only two classes: Shooters and Targets. Let those who want to terrorize us into unquestioned worship of the Golden Glock before all other deities meet all these faces and then justify why their idol has the right to take such massive human sacrifice.
I'll end with my own initial picture (below) in hopes he can join many other people who have gone on ahead.
Editor's Note : The writer has asked those interested in contributing to the quilt, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (443) 882-9734.
Correction : In last week's feature ("The Money Pit," March 13), a reporter misheard-and so misquoted-Michael Sarbanes in regard to the proposed $2.4 billion school-rebuilding project. Speaking of recent improvements in the city school system's facilities management, he said, "It's a huge lift, technically-and in terms of financial thinking." Not "it's a huge risk." The story also seems to attribute to Sarbanes the claim that city school facilities managers "would act as an agent" to the proposed Construction Authority that would oversee the project. That detail is actually from the IAC report.