I'm writing this letter in response to Jerard Fagerberg's piece ("A loving obituary for Craig's, the shittiest bar I've ever been to," Feedbag, Jan. 26) because, as a Loyola University student, I feel that the entirety of our undergraduate population does not define itself in relation to Craig's, and this point of view has not been heard in the past couple of weeks.
As a university, specifically a Jesuit university engaged in issues of social justice, discernment, and our larger community, Loyola provides countless opportunities outside of the classroom for students to learn from and with each other. It brings speakers to campus that draw incredible crowds, such as our recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day convocation, which packed Reitz Arena. It provides opportunities for service in the Baltimore community, throughout the country, and beyond. Many of my friends are currently teaching full time in Baltimore schools, while others are interning on Capitol Hill, at law firms, for nonprofits, and with media organizations. Loyola students cannot, and will not, be lumped into one homogenous entity that frequents Craig's and mourns its loss.
At the end of his piece, Fagerberg does recognize that Craig's closure was probably a good thing, a smell step in healing a tumultuous relationship with our neighbors on York Road. He writes that "York Road residents didn't deserve the weekly parade of intoxicated teens barging and fucking on their lawns," but quickly disregards that fact as if the self-indulgent actions of drunk students were more important than the safety and concerns of members of the community in their own homes.
When did Loyola students decide we could claim the York Road corridor as our own? We can and should actively engage and partner with our neighbors, and the York Road Initiative, the York Road Student Association, and York Road Community Days sponsored by Loyola's Center for Community Service and Justice do this in a respectful way that responds to the needs of the community.
I was a staff writer for The Greyhound during my first and second years as a Loyola student, and for my first cover story I interviewed a wide variety of Loyola students, faculty, and administration members about how they view their relationship to the greater Baltimore community. I received many diverse responses from people across campus. I'm not aiming to attack Fagerberg by writing this letter; he and I have had very different experiences of Loyola, it seems, and his piece is representative of a common viewpoint on campus, but it's not the only one. I'm not passing judgment on one viewpoint over the other, but my point is this: We don't all view our identity as Loyola students to be so closely intertwined with nights at Craig's, and the reactions of some to this rather insignificant event is in no way representative of our entire student body.
Baynard, you seem especially concerned about citizens of certain races sullying the current demographic that is Lexington Market's audience ("Lexington Market is not a shithole," Conflicts of Interest, Feb. 3). As "a white dude with institutional authority in the art scene," as you describe yourself, I imagine that it's fun for you to see the "crazy costumes" of the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge. How often do you get a chance to get up close and personal with a real hate group (as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center)? For you, "vibrancy" seems to be a very specific image that, oddly enough, seems to include Black Separatist hate groups and dealers on the doorstep "entertaining" your ironic sensibilities.
I get it, I really do. Crazy shit can be entertaining. The problem is, it sucks the life out of business. The businesses that attempt to thrive within Lexington Market's current culture struggle greatly with the setbacks that you coyly describe as "free entertainment." Trust me Baynard, if you had skin in the game, you wouldn't be so entertained (skin = money, not skin color, for the racially obsessed among us).
Your mind's eye of perception might lead you to believe that business at Lexington Market is booming since it took you awhile to find a spot at Faidley's on a high-traffic Saturday at the market. Unfortunately, you're not the adviser that Lexington Market needs. They need advisers that will rally in support of the great, historic small-business culture that Lexington Market was built on. If your sole interest in the debate is maintaining the current anti-small-business climate for your personal entertainment, it would be great if you could just step aside. You're hardly in a position to play the race card in this debate. Please leave that to the SPLC hate groups.
Thanks for covering Pratt Library issues, which for years on end evoke only a big "Shhh!" from elected officials, the press, and the library itself. Here's some clarifying context.
Take note: Shelving for humanities, which holds all of Pratt's books on religion, philosophy, literature, and film, would shrink from 9,100 feet to 2,800 feet after renovation, a 69-percent cutback.
In walking away from comparisons with other libraries, director Carla Hayden touts Pratt's statewide interlibrary loans. But shouldn't statewide services bring more people in, and more circulation, than in libraries serving just one city? Well, Pratt has less, not more.
Hayden's staff spent a while presenting comparisons with eight other cities to the library's board at their December quarterly meeting. Why, if the comparisons don't count? These matchups, too, placed Pratt near the bottom in circulation, library cards, and people visiting for whatever purpose.
That's not because Baltimore is poor. For my comparisons, I picked cities with lower per-capita income than Baltimore's. Old rust-belt cities of declining populations with crime, illiteracy, and school dropouts, just like Baltimore, have dramatically higher library usages.
A preference for computers doesn't explain the disinterest in many or most Pratt books. It can't—the distressingly low usage of Pratt books goes back 30 to 40 years, way before computers attained such prominence.
I conclude Pratt's outreach to potential patrons is chronically ineffective. The best practices of other libraries must be studied, and Pratt's outreach and resulting usage radically improved, before anyone knows which books people will want. Books vamoosed below ground would deny new users the chance to see if they want them.
Don't worry that ample bookshelving will cramp the computers. Increasingly desired and numerous, computers are smaller and more portable. There's room aplenty for people to sit side-by-side with books, laptops, and iPads.
The current plan's real competition against book space is meeting rooms. But the Baltimore schools plan meeting rooms nearer every community with easier parking and more available hours than the Central Library–without displacing books!
Hayden stresses renovation plans date back decades, but publicly presented when? Fall 2014, at two underpublicized meeting reaching a whole of 25 citizens. The architects for the public schools, new or renovated, specify multi-stage planning with communities intimately involved in multiple ways. We need the same responsibility and accountability from our library managers.
The public's not even consulted via much-needed Baltimore-specific market research, which could help Pratt management comprehend its untapped potential. The theories and trends they cite from magazines circulating for professionals are no good substitute.
Background and opportunities to help can be had by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. It should also be obtainable from a lot further press coverage (hint, hint), as there's still much of relevance yet to be aired. Like, how many know Pratt's trustees are appointed solely by themselves? Not a single elected official or anyone appointed by one. They are 80-percent white folks and 90-percent rich folks. "Representing us all," right? They meet next on March 4 at 6:15 in the Poe Room at the Central Library, if you'd like to join them.
David L. Yaffe
Correction: In last week's Conflicts of Interest "The Vibrant Vibrance of Vibrancy" (A&E, Feb. 4), the text read that the author is "deeply committed to trying to end the desegregation of the arts scene." It should have read "deeply committed to trying to end the segregation of the arts scene." City Paper regrets the error.
FROM THE WEB, FACEBOOK, AND TWITTER
Multiple EU courts have already ruled that Uber is a criminal taxicab enterprise operating in violation of laws and regulations that others follow. S. Korea still has open prison times set for top Uber management.
Uber wasn't even the 1st taxicab app out there.... but it sure was the 1st one that decided to expand while violating laws that other apps followed (and still follow). Defending criminal enterprises such as Uber sure does cast a long shadow on the character of those encouraging and supporting Uber's criminal plunder.
–"Frank Barlow," Feb. 5
Zimbabwe? "Unregulated taxis" have been around for years in the hood here in Baltimore. We call them HACKS. Absolutely nothing new or ground breaking here. Just another stolen idea, repackaged and sold to the public, translated into huge profits.
–"Marshall C. Bell," Feb. 5
Have you been there? Great food and nice little stores in there. Also a bunch of jerks pushing drugs and robbing people just outside. It's not a shithole because of the black people, it's a shithole because of the ASSHOLES.
–"Beth Mack," Feb. 4
I'm white and i love going there.Yea it;s shady but i've never been bothered by anyone.I love going there and people watching,good entertainment !!
–"Mike Harman," Feb. 4
I go to lexington market a few times a year. It doesn't bother me but to pretend that there aren't people obviously selling drugs and clearly on drugs right out front is completely wrong. News flash, most people don't want to go to places like that, and I don't find that a white trait.
–"Lou Novotny," Feb. 4