Baltimore City Paper

The Mail 4/1/15

Benched Slogan

Your amazing study of city benches and the U.S. Census was a novel and important means of exploring Baltimore neighborhoods, changing demographics, and landscape ("Benchmarks Revisited," Feature, Match 25). This article is definitely a "keeper." Congratulations on a fabulous job.

However, I can't say the same for the way Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake signed the city's new slogan, "Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner," into law back in January, as you report. What is wrong with this city? Here we have a new slogan that isn't an embarrassment, or another case of wishful thinking, or a Baltimore "Believe-athon." We should be delighted we can legitimately claim America's National Anthem as our own.


But why the secrecy at City Hall? When the Mayor signed the bill, it called for a public relations event and festivity. Our new slogan deserved more celebration than a toss into the Mayor's outbox.

My city councilman, James Kraft, originated the idea for the "Star-Spangled Banner" moniker, and folks in the neighborhood signed petitions in support. It would have been thoughtful had we been notified and invited to City Hall when the Mayor put pen to paper. If anyone at City Hall is reading this letter, please suggest a second ceremony that will be covered by the media and advertised widely. Now we have a slogan that is attractive, of global significance, and (unlike "The Greatest City in America") actually true.

For two years we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Visitors from around the country and around the world made their way to our Inner Harbor. Tour leaders at Fort McHenry explained how that redoubt was assailed by “bombs bursting in air.” Even the famed U.S. Navy Blue Angels stopped by to demonstrate their breathtaking aerobatics, while ships from around the world voyaged to Baltimore. Yet the signing of the new slogan slipped by, unremarked on and barely noticed.
Baltimore has so much to be proud of, but our complacency is not one of them. “Baltimore–Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner” is a terrific new slogan, so let’s all get out and repaint the benches. And while we are at it, let’s try to repaint our city’s image!
Rosalind Ellis Heid
So a person who has never been convicted of a crime, or even charged, is being protested and attacked? Who is the aggressor now?
–“Steve Evans,” March 25

What happened to INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY? I usually am in support of Slutwalk and I am against the whole "women deserve it due to how they are dressed"... but he has NOT been convicted!

–“Lisa Lynn Rector,” March 25

This might actually generate *more* ticket sales for his tour. This is amazing.

–“Peter Willis,” March 25

A sexual assault victim advocacy group that goes by the name SlutWalk? I'm sure you guys do some good for some people but with such an ill conceived name in such poor taste you're making it a challenge for anybody important to your mission to fully respect your organization. Drop the amateur hour name and logo and carry on with the principals you stand for.

–“Pat H. Grant,” March 25

I hate this name "Slutwalk" that is a horrible way of life, demeaning to women and disgusting for a name for such a group.

–“Kzar Foster,” March 26

Logically speaking, Cosby has not been charged with a crime. But. A celebrity with wealth and power will smash an accuser to bits and sometimes just the idea of their power will stop a victim from going to the police. Not to mention the shame, ridicule, humiliation and "rape" in the courtroom of the victim again when forced to re live the details of the crime. These elements create the perfect storm of silence when raped by a powerful person. This is not a new dynamic. Happens all the time. Rapists walk among us all the time.

It's a very strange phenomena that people choose to support Cosby and even revere him.... a guy who prior to this mess was universally despised by journalists and talk show hosts. His ego knew no bounds in his demands (forced female staffers on the Letterman show to watch him eat ) before the show, was often curt and rude to others (Associated press interview where Cosby practically threatens to have parts of the interview deleted), and his general foul reputation. Unlikable, pretentious, unfunny troll of a man. And this is before Hannibal's stand up.

By not saying yes or no to the allegations makes him look like more of an ass. Like the accusers don't even deserve a response. You gotta wonder how many other victims there are out there who are staying silent and will take their ordeal to their graves.

–“Jen Lee,” March 29

American people get dumber by the day. We have a judicial system in place, so either charge him with rape or leave Mr. Cosby alone!!

–“McFunGuy,” March 29

When someone fails to report an alleged crime, they are ultimately responsible for not doing so. It's not society's responsibility to lynch people accused because a criminal process or trial was never done. We teach children the importance of taking responsiblity, but are giving all Cosby's accusers a pass. It's not the burden of the accused to commence a criminal investigation against themselves. We are a nation of laws and the accusers failed to adhear to them within the time allowed. It's their failure, not Cosby's, not society's.

–“JugglingFor ACure,” March 29
@JugglingFor ACure : smells like blaming the victims; all 38 of them. and you ignore the fact that Cosby is a very famous, very high-profile, therefore very insulated from harm celebrity. most of these women have stated they never believed the public would believe them. looks like they were only partly right. many people do believe them. we’re not discussing a random single woman from 40 years ago; we’re discussing almost 40 women, and i would be willing to bet they are a few more who just won’t sign on for personal reasons.
–“David Kennedy,” March 29

This asshole was in Baltimore? I grew up with Cosby. He is dead to me.

–“Dave Marcoot,” March 28
Don’t you like it that he doesn’t say anything- has the lawyers do all the talking- then when it starts looking shaky he says he didn’t say it? If any of you reading this would have these allegations against you and they weren’t true, what would you say? You’d say “hell no, it’s not true, but you need to talk to my lawyer.” The proof is in not what he says.
–“Chris Plummer,” March 28

I guess this is the type of news that will get the City Paper attention. They ruined Michael Jackson with this kind of nonsense and when he died then it was told he was innocent.

–“Rhonda Wimbish,” March 28

This is why we need feminism.

–“Caitlin Tara Daniels,” March 25

This is just a sales tatic... This doesn't mean rape... But rough sex a def.... I do agree that its not very tasteful but it is getting noticed and pretty sure that's what they were going for

–“Tina Lynn Slagenweit Brown,”
March 25

The fact that it is a sales tactic doesn't make it ok.

–“Jennifer Sutherland Lubinski,” March 25

No it doesn't make it right but then just don't buy it. All I am saying it will catch someone's eye to buy this product..... I my self won't but that's cause I don't see the need for it...

–“Tina Lynn Slagenweit Brown,”
March 25

Fuck. That. Shit. And any retailer who decides to carry it.

–“Michelle Jenkins,” March 25

Stop(ping) the Incinerator is never going to happen. It is a fully permitted facility with many positives for the community of Curtis Bay.

Back in 2008-2009 when the renewable energy power plant was being developed, many meetings were held with the local communities (Curtis Bay and Brooklyn). During those meetings, community residents had the opportunity to learn about the technology that was to be used at the Power Plant and what it would bring to the community. The communities developed a Memorandum of Understanding with Energy Answers so that they would receive many financial and positive benefits of having a renewable energy facility in their neighborhood. With the communities’ support, the Power Plant was fully permitted by MDE.

The air quality control system is one of the most advanced in the country and will meet or exceed all State and Federal limits. Unfortunately, the people who are fighting against the incinerator don't understand that it is NOT an incinerator, it is a renewable energy power plant; no solid waste will be processed at the project property; the company has created a truck route to keep waste trucks off the community roads, reducing truck traffic and emissions; and in accordance with MOU, hire from the local communities and assist with training programs.

I’m saddened to see so many young people being led astray by the emotional rhetoric that they’ve been given, instead of reaching out to Energy Answers and their community leaders to really understand the Fairfield Renewable Energy Project facts. My hope is that this blog opens at least one set of eyes to take a look at the other side of the story.
–“Wild Rhubarb,” March 26

Overreach and over prosecution by prosecutors (both state and federal) mostly on drug laws is the number one problem within our justice system. Their methods have become so underhanded and unscrupulous that no justice or civil system nor person can long tolerate or withstand them. Their ability to compel and manipulate jury's and to extort confessions has completely removed justice from within the justice system. They should all be required and held to a much higher standard. The same as judges or higher. At present, they are held, only, to very low standards, no more than any ambulance chaser yet are allowed to make decisions of national import. This allows villains and tyrants to flourish, all hiding behind legal status. Many use their office only to play politics. The protection of our Civil and Human Rights are supposed to be protected by these louts. Instead they completely ignore their responsibility. Most should be tarred and feathered before being ran from town. At the very least, most should be brought before a board and dis-barred on ethical grounds for total disregard and subversion of our Civil Rights as well as incompetent irresponsibility. The Boards who are supposed to censer or control these villains need to be removed for inaction.

–“Richard Price,” March 27