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Plea for Hope

I wanted to weigh in on these police shootings ("This is What Democracy Looks Like," Feature, Nov. 10). For years, the police have been doing the same things and nothing has really changed.

In 2004, my cousin Dexter Hill was shot and killed by a Baltimore City police officer. The story about my cousin's death was a featured article in your paper, called "A Shot in the Dark." After watching my family struggle with his death and the officers walk out of the courthouse, what respect does one have for the law in this city after that? I now have sons and I fear for their lives, not just because of the dangers in the inner city, but also because of the police.

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How do we grow from this, when courts convict us but allow police the right to shoot to kill with no repercussions?

I'm saying this because, in my cousin's case, other officers were willing to testify against their fellow officers, but once again the police and the state were hard and harsh and one more black man killed meant nothing.

I truly believe police have a tough job, but they also need to be held responsible for their actions and not be able to hide behind their badges.

I wrote this letter hoping that you and your paper looks back at this city police department and sees how we can help people see what black America sees right now.

People do want to heal and move on, but we must first admit that we have a problem. Until police departments across our nation start making their own pay, justice will always be what it is: "just us." As black men, we have grown in ways untold, but in other ways we are at a standstill.

How do we help our children when they are considered the lost generation? I hope and pray that one day we as a people can truly grow together.

My heart goes out to the families across the nation that lost someone at the hands of police shootings. But let's not stop at protesting against this injustice, but also the injustice in our own neighborhoods, because all violence should stop, especially black-on-black. We as a people need to start rebuilding our neighborhoods and teaching our children as our parents did.

When I grew up in this city, it was Charm City. It's now called Harm City. Martin Luther King Jr. had a vision and a dream. Let's not kill those, too.

Our future looks bleak, so let's teach our future to become our future so our future can grow. Let each one teach one. Our children depend on us.

Michael Bunch
Baltimore

Appetizing Words

I was pleasantly surprised to read Anna Walsh's charming and girlish review of Bookmakers Cocktail Club (Eats and Drinks, Dec. 10), which shows much promise.

To me, a feature restaurant review is one of mastery over food ingredients and preparation, a good self-knowledge of what a restaurant should do and not do, and the ability to take us on a voyage, as if we were the reviewer's imaginary guest. Walsh may just be ready to shove Mary K. Zajac back to the Mayan Riviera, if she improves the following.

First, I did not get a good mental picture of the place. Make me feel it. Tell me what it is similar to that I would know, like a popular TV show setting or something, rather than just listing names of other places the folks involved formerly worked. And please stop with the glorification of and repeating that Sarah Acconcia is so great because she was City Paper's "Best Chef" in 2014. That was a BS award for someone with no real track record after opening her own place only a few months before. The dude at Salt, the guy at the just-closed Four Seasons' Japanese spot, the Puerto 511 guy, and any of the Bagby chefs brought in from New York all can and did run rings around her last year.

But Walsh did great on her drinks review. She brought a chuckle with her description of the Smashing Pumpkins, although it cried for a Billy Corgan lyric! But where she really shone was her description of the food: Who knew she is a foodie, as all her tweets seem to be about cupcakes? Very impressive. More so, she was willing to take a stand. Bravo.

That said, to be a great food critic, which she can be, Walsh needs to turn the volume up on her voice. I need more girlishness, in a good way, more of her genuine surprise and love for something new, and way more anger at being insulted by being served four gnocchi as an entre for $18, which is outrageous. One should not have to eat dessert to fill up at an expensive fine-dining restaurant. This writer would have blasted them to moon. Ibid, if the only thing they can make well is high-priced soul-food-style chicken.

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I think, ultimately, what will make Walsh fun to read is a bigger voice, and to get a sidekick, like the great Gael Greene's "Road Food Warrior." I loved that Walsh has stopped saying "veggies," as some other youths are so prone to do. And I really loved her closing paragraph, which shows so much promise: ". . . and it's a far more classy culinary option than most places in Federal Hill—a point that was driven home to us when, as we left Bookmakers around 9 p.m. and walked past the bar a few doors down, we passed a crowd of already-drunk dudes with one of them asking loudly, 'Bro, bro, what's your favorite bar that you've gotten kicked out of?'"

William Bond
Baltimore

The Letter of the Law

Caveat: I am not a lawyer (or a judge), and don't wish to become either. That said, I do like to take words at their literal meaning. With this in mind I carefully read the language of the Maryland State Law (21-1004), which is so vexing to the residents of the 4200 block of Wickford Road in relation to their parking of automobiles ("Ticket Thicket," Mobtown Beat, Dec. 17).

The wording of the law is more significant in what it does not say than what it does say. Take sub-paragraph (1): It does not say which edge of the tire (wheel) must be "within 12 inches of the right hand curb or edge of the roadway;" nor does it say or limit on which side of the curb or roadway edge the tire (wheel) must be.

I would argue in my defense, were I to receive a violation of this law, that so long as the left-hand edge of my right-side tire (wheel) was within 12 inches of the curb or roadway edge (much as the red car is shown in the accompanying photograph), no violation occurred. A congruent statement can be made about Sub-paragraph (2). Hey, it's worth a try!

John R. Grant
Lutherville

Top-10 Tip

City Paper helps newcomers figure out what B'more is about. So City Paper needs to use a wide-angle lens.

Hampden and Station North got a lot of the play in Dec. 17 "Top 10" issue. Used books are important for lots of us. Why didn't you ask Rupert over at Normal's Bookstore on West 31st Street what were the top 10 categories—art books, psychology, vinyl records, fiction, books on the history of Baltimore? And why didn't you ask Urban Knowledge Bookstore in Mondawmin Mall what their 10 best books were?

Everybody can use a little bit of help. Even a quarter page in City Paper goes a long way toward helping.

Linda Franklin 
Baltimore

Clarification: In a Dec. 2 Mobtown Beat story about criminal prosecutions involving All-State Career School in Baltimore, City Paper relied on court documents to report that a defendant worked for a testing company, Wonderlic. That company's general counsel, David Arnold, says the defendant was actually an independent contractor "retained and paid by" All-State, not Wonderlic.

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FROM THE WEB, FACEBOOK, AND TWITTER

Oh god why

–“Billy Bundesen,” Dec. 17

Because the editors are pandering to millenials who think bathroom sex is amaaazing and not sad and desperate and somehow think they will get laid at the holiday party and not just get too drunk and insult their boss

–“Peter Willis,” Dec. 18

You might be embarrassed if there's a bar mitzvah going on?! Shouldn't you already be ashamed of yourself. Come on.

–“Holly Powell,” Dec. 18

Pathetic. The CP that is.

–“Dave Marcoot,” Dec. 18

Stay classy, Baltimore City Paper . . .

–“Jenn Ess,” Dec. 18

If we can park a spaceship on a moving comet, we can surely learn to park our cars heading in the proper direction and without blocking the sidewalk.

–“Vincent Vizachero,” Dec. 18

Yeah, good thing Hogan wants to reverse all those farm pollution regulations!! Screw clean water, big business is in charge. Why bother keeping the bay healthy, it's not like the Chesapeake is a major part of life here in Maryland or anything!

–“Michelle Jenkins,” Dec. 18
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