THIS IS MUNICIPAL DEBT FRAUD AS ALL INVOLVED KNOW THE US ECONOMY IS READY TO IMPLODE FROM MUNICIPAL AND SOVEREIGN DEBT EXTREME LEVERAGING.
Public private partnerships are the neo-liberal way of privatizing all that is public while making the public pay for all the cost of corporate operation. While republicans call it socialist to hide the fact that it is naked capitalism, neo-liberal pols like O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake pretend its all about job creation and development. From waterfront property to public parks, to school playgrounds and public community centers and health care----all of it is disappearing under the auspices of public-private partnership.
I asked a minister who attended a protest in Annapolis where the nearest public library was......we were at the State Capital. She had to take a minute to think about where the nearest public space in Annapolis not a government building would be-----ALL THE WAY OUT WEST STREET AT THE CITY'S BORDER.
People need to WAKE UP because neo-liberals and neo-cons are working together to end all existence of public space. As when the USSR was taken private during PERESTROIKA with all of its publicly owned spaces and businesses handed to a few private Oligarchs in this new Russia-----
THIS PRIVATIZATION OF ALL THAT IS PUBLIC BY NEO-LIBERALS IN THE MARYLAND ASSEMBLY AND CITY HALL IS THE SAME AS THIS RUSSIAN PERESTROIKA.
They are taking public land and setting private businesses on this land all so these businesses will not pay property tax. That private business sitting on that land will control that property. Baltimore and Maryland is ground zero for this PERESTROIKA of the 1% as fraud and corruption goes wild and a free-for-all with public assets has Wall Street investment firms already owing the citizens of Maryland hundreds of billions of dollars in fraud-----taking all of our wealth a second time around.
Heather Mizeur said in an forum for Governor of Maryland that in order to create jobs trades-people should give up some of their pensions in order to fund school building. This is the same labor/union busting in these deals. CAN YOU IMAGINE A CANDIDATE RUNNING AS A PROGRESSIVE WANTING A WORKING CLASS PERSON TO GIVE UP PENSION MONEY TO BUILD AND BE SILENT ON CORPORATE FRAUD AND CORRUPTION? That is because Heather Mizeur is not a progressive ------she is a corporate poser who will do the same as O'Malley, Brown, and Gansler in handing all wealth to the top!
STOP ELECTING THESE SAME NEO-LIBERALS WHO ARE KILLING OUR DEMOCRACY!
Below you see articles showing this growing wealth divide as all costs of doing business for global corporations are now being thrust on the public. We start with Dan Rodricks who works for these developers but does make a good point every now and then.
Dan makes a good point in shouting that the Trusts meant to build MD's environmental strengths are gutted and underfunded seeming more of a shell operation than money designated for a specific use. Think Transportation/Innovation Trusts. What we don't hear from MD media enough is the outing of O'Malley and MD pols for progressive posing; pretending to support issues that are environmental or labor and justice and then ignoring them if they are passed. MD media has given the world's worst environmentalist headlines for his national campaign meant to sell him as an environmentalist and none of it is true as this one example shows.
US media was free press until a decade or so and had as a mission to hold power accountable and now they work hard providing the headlines and the campaign snippets to hide the facts. The truth with open space is that in Baltimore all public property is being handed to private developers right and left and all areas designated as public are really private campuses built with public money. The entire Inner Harbor is now privately owned with the public designated for costs.
Then take the scam of preserving farms with estate tax reduction where the rich pretend to have a working farm to have huge estates that could be 10 real working farms. MD is far from sustainable or environmental because it has no democratic party.
Marylanders need to speak up for open space A program designed to save trees and farms under constant legislative attack
Dan Rodricks 5:00 a.m. EDT, April 1, 2014 Baltimore Sun
When I have a hard time understanding government spending — the construction and tinkering that goes into, say, Maryland's multibillion-dollar annual budget — I just imagine the whole thing as a kitchen-table conversation with members of a household declaring and negotiating priorities. (Pardon the time-worn metaphor, but it works for me.)
After we cover the big-ticket items (health, education, roads, public safety, the mandatory areas of spending), we get around to the other pieces of the budget that need to be maintained — public employee pensions, for instance — and arguments break out about obligations, fiscal discipline and not "kicking the can down the road." It can get rough, even ugly.
But after the dust settles and everyone's exhausted, someone at the far end of the table, who has waited her turn to speak, reminds us about a certain obligation: One half of one percent of all transfer taxes paid at real estate closings must be set aside for protection of land against future development; that's state law.
In Maryland, it's called Program Open Space. It was established in 1969 with bipartisan support, and for good reason: The legislators of that time saw massive development coming to the state's suburbs, and they wanted to preserve farms and acquire land for public parks and playgrounds to keep things in balance — Maryland as "the land of pleasant living" even as it became a huge bedroom for Washington and Baltimore.
With white flight from the cities, the construction of the interstate highway system and two beltways, environmentalists and lawmakers saw Maryland's potential to become an utter mess as population grew and development spread.
Forty-five years along, we pride ourselves on being a state that still boasts postcard vistas from the Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake to the mountains of Garrett County, with a lot of nice spots in between.
The $2 billion that went into Program Open Space has a lot to do with that. It's a smart program, a legacy of Maryland's progressive approach to conservation, built on a simple idea:
Take a tiny piece of the revenue from each real estate transaction and fund a program to save open space — buy development rights from Maryland's family farmers so they can keep farming, acquire land for state parks, and send money to Baltimore and our smaller cities and the counties so they can build playgrounds, bike trails and lacrosse and soccer fields.
The logic is beautiful.
Because Program Open Space is tied to real estate transactions — only 0.5 percent of transfer taxes go into the fund — it tracks with the economy. If development and house sales slow, so does Program Open Space. In better times, when there's more action in commercial and residential real estate, more money goes into land preservation.
But the wise lawmakers who established the program are gone, and their political descendants have raided the fund countless times — to the tune of about $1.5 billion, according to calculations by the nonprofit Partners for Open Space — and they did this most famously during the savings-and-loan mess of the mid-1980s.
Annapolis has scoffed repeatedly at the spirit of the law that established Program Open Space with little worry about political fallout.
That last part is what gets me. That's why I'm writing about this today. The muldoons in Annapolis are messing with Program Open Space again. In his new budget, Gov. Martin O'Malley designates no cash for the program, using instead a more complicated system of bonds to finance specific projects, while some in the General Assembly want to cap the fund at $100 million. (Yeah, baby, time to rein in all that wild spending going on for open space!)
In the program's original form, there was never supposed to be a cap; Porogram Open Space was supposed to try and balance land gobbled up for development with land conserved for farms, forests and local parks and playing fields, all through a tiny fraction of the revenue from each real estate transaction.
Partners for Open Space says there are 150 Maryland farm families lined up for the state's agricultural preservation program, but not enough money to handle the demand because of Annapolis's constant raiding of Program Open Space.
Doing a budget — in a household or for the entire state — requires many skills, discipline and adherence to principles, including respect for an established rule.
In this case, here's the rule: We will devote 0.5 percent to a fund to acquire land, and it will be tied to income from a specific source; we won't be obligated to put any additional money into that fund but, at the same time, we won't raid it for the general budget, either.
In violating the spirit of Program Open Space, Annapolis counts on Marylanders not caring enough about grass and trees to bother them with phone calls and emails. And if that happens, then in time maybe they'll think it's OK to just end the program altogether.
We can't let that happen. We need to take a stand for open space, and now.
In Baltimore, city buses and fire department engines are being covered with corporate advertisement because when corporations pay no taxes the public coffers are empty. So, all across the city public parks and athletic courts are left in disrepair or closed because UnderArmour is allowed to get tax breaks. Yet, public work is outsourced to allow UnderArmour to 'donate' money to repair a park for 'free' courtesy permanent corporate advertising.
So, no public employees maintaining parks and recreation and the city's public spaces littered with corporate tags all paying for corporate operations with a dash of tax relief to maximize profits------
THAT'S A NEO-LIBERAL/NEO CON FOR YOU----ALWAYS WORKING TO HAVE THE PUBLIC PAY TO MAXIMIZE PROFIT!
Jul 13, 2011, 2:33pm EDT Updated: Jul 28, 2011, 7:08am EDT
Under Armour to renovate Federal Hill court
Scott Dance, Staff Baltimore has hired Under Armour Inc. to renovate a basketball court at Federal Hill Park at no cost — other than some brand advertising.
The Tide Point-based sportswear maker has agreed to replace the chain-link fence around the court and install a new playing surface, goals and goal posts. The city is not paying Under Armour for the work, but is allowing it to include its logo on the court surface. The city Board of Estimates approved the deal Wednesday morning.
It’s not the first time Under Armor has emblazoned its logo on city property. The city and company caught flak from residents in April 2010 for an Under Armour ad painted on the grass of Federal Hill Park, facing the Inner Harbor with the company’s logo and slogan “Protect this house”. Under Armour also has its logo on a baseball field in Locust Point, near its headquarters. That field is not city-owned, according to City Councilman Bill Cole.
O'Malley and neo-liberals and neo-cons are working hard to hand all of Maryland's public land to private gain and as we see below, a great big State Center complex is now giving businesses an opportunity to operate without paying property tax because after all its public land. So, instead of rehabbing this building for the much needed rebuilding of public oversight and regulation and hiring thousands of public employees to do this, O'Malley is taking this public space private subsidizing costs of taxes and maintenance for what is almost always global corporate chain stores.
The jobs created are poverty while the state public jobs that are middle-class are slowly eliminated because after all-----Trans Pacific Trade Pact gives Global Corporate Tribunals and legal teams all the functions of today's public sector. Keep in mind that another public-private partnership with O'Malley is the Hilton Hotel now having the public subsidize corporate loses, no tax revenue coming in, and employees fleeced of money and paid poverty wages. City Hall sold that project just as they are selling this State Center project that will end up the same. This State Center has been left to deteriorate and the thousands of state employees earning strong wages have be culled as all oversight and regulation has been eliminated in Maryland.
IT IS ALL PUBLIC MALFEASANCE AS IT HAS NO INTENT TO OPERATE IN THE PUBLIC GOOD.
GET RID OF ALL PUBLIC SPACE BY HANDING THEM TO PRIVATE CORPORATIONS SAY NEO-LIBERALS LIKE O'MALLEY! PUBLIC HOUSING REAL ESTATE BECOMING A PUBLIC PARK OR PUBLIC COMMUNITY CENTER? NOT ON MY WATCH----IT WILL BE PUBLIC LAND USED FOR AN AFFLUENT PRIVATE HIGH-RISE!
THIS IS THE UGLIEST, BRUTAL, MOST OBSCENE ABUSE OF PUBLIC TRUST I HAVE EVER SEEN.
Governor O'Malley Unveils Plans for First Phase of State Center Redevelopment Phase One of redevelopment to create new office and retail near transit hub and support 1,200 construction jobs and attract another 800 permanent jobs in the heart of Baltimore City
BALTIMORE, MD (July 27, 2010) –
Joined by local officials, construction workers, community leaders and others today, Governor Martin O’Malley announced plans for the first phase of the landmark State Center redevelopment project in the heart of Baltimore City. Pending Board of Public Works approval tomorrow, the State will lease 500,000 square feet of newly developed office space in the first of two new buildings to be built on the 28-acre site by a state-selected private development team. The five-phase, 15-year redevelopment is the culmination of six years of planning, and is expected to bring nearly 10,000 jobs during the construction phase and more than 5,400 permanent, private-sector jobs to the heart of Baltimore City when the project is complete, in addition to more than 4,800 indirect and induced jobs upon the project’s completion.
“This is the beginning of an ambitious public-private partnership that will transform a stagnant, government office complex into a vibrant, walkable, ‘green space’ that will link nine surrounding communities, revitalize a key part of Baltimore City, and bring thousands of private-sector jobs to the heart of Baltimore,” said Governor O’Malley. “The state commitment to lease office space opens the door for the development team to seek the private funding necessary to build the project, a project that will assist Maryland’s economic recovery by supporting jobs and attracting new business to the area with work beginning this fall.”
The entire State Center redevelopment, a five-phase, 15-year plan, will create 9,403 jobs during construction and 5,439 permanent, private-sector jobs when the project is complete. An additional 4,862 indirect and induced jobs will be added upon the project’s completion.
“The O’Malley-Brown administration has been focused like a laser on job creation in Baltimore and throughout Maryland,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “The State Center redevelopment is a tremendous opportunity for Baltimore, providing more job opportunities and new investment. The City of Baltimore will continue to work in strong partnership with the State to move this exciting project forward.”
The State Center redevelopment transforms an out-dated, 28-acre concrete complex valued at $1.8 million into multi-million dollar retail, commercial and residential transportation oriented development where the State is projected to be $144 million in the black by year 20. This is made possible by the use of the public private partnership which includes a projected $28 million in parking revenue, $30 million in ground rents and shared profits, and $160 million in new state taxes over the first 20 years of the project.
Phase One of State Center Redevelopment
The $215 million Phase One development at State Center will include two new office buildings and a parking garage. In addition to the 500,000 square feet of office space, the two buildings combined will include 70,000 square feet of street-level retail space, including a grocery store that the has been a priority for the surrounding communities for years. In addition to the 1,200 jobs supported by construction of Phase One, the project, when complete, will attract another 800 permanent jobs to the State Center site.
Over the next 20 years the first phase of the State Center redevelopment will generate more than $200 million in state and city taxes and another $30 million in lease payments to the State of Maryland. Phase One will Support 1,200 construction jobs and attract 800 permanent, private-sector direct jobs.
Phase One will construction two office buildings and a parking garage where a parking lot currently sits, creating 500,000 square feet of office space and 70,000 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store.
“This milestone follows three years of intensive planning, research and community involvement,” said Caroline Moore, Chief Executive Officer of Ekistics, LLC and the managing member of the private development team. “We have worked hand-in-hand with citizens and both state and city government to develop a concept that meets the various needs of the community and we have done it in award-winning fashion.”
Currently, State Center is home to four state government office buildings and 3,500 state employees, the largest concentration of state employees in Maryland. However, the layout of the existing complex hinders the ability of residents to move between the nine surrounding communities. The redevelopment of State Center will create a more pedestrian friendly environment, consolidating 14 state agencies and more than 3,500 state employees, in addition to employees and customers of added retail and commercial space, in a complex sits at the intersection of six different public transportation systems.
In May 2010, the overall $1.5 billion State Center redevelopment project received a Charter Award from the Congress on New Urbanism as one of the seven best urban smart growth projects in the world. The 28-acre State Center site will be redeveloped in five phases over fifteen years converting the property from an underutilized government owned and operated office campus into a mix of privately owned and operated office, retail and mixed income residential units, forming a green, walkable community adjacent to Metro, Light Rail and MARC transit stations.
The State Center redevelopment project is a transit oriented development that reflects the goals of Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green and Growing initiative. Introduced in October 2008, the Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspire action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
State Center is the second major public-private partnership to move forward under Governor O’Malley in the past year. In November 2009, the State agreed to lease operation of Seagirt Marine terminal at the Port of Baltimore to Ports America Chesapeake. The State maintains ownership of Seagirt while day to day operations and capital investments are now the responsibility of Ports America Chesapeake. As part of the agreement, Ports America Chesapeake is now constructing a new 50-foot berth at Seagirt using private funds. The new berth is critical to the future success of the Port of Baltimore as an expansion of the Panama Canal will bring larger ships to the US East Coast when completed in 2014. In total, the Seagirt agreement will support 5,700 jobs.
Baltimore is a city of crumbling infrastructure and schools closing because of decades of neglect in maintenance but we do have a Wall Street copy at Harbor East complete with plated sidewalk fixtures and a billion-dollar East Baltimore Hopkins Corporation campus all heavily funded with public money.
Public docks, public Port of Baltimore, and public land surrounding the harbor are all falling to public private partnerships that have the public paying for and maintaining infrastructure built for these corporate office campuses. As this article shows, the money put forward in these developments offer little value to the city and as has happened in other cities-----like Detroit-----these development schemes based on global corporate businesses fall flat in all ways.
- The mayor is quoted below promoting what everyone knows is not true about these developments---new jobs, new tax revenue---new amenities.
The entire development process is designed so that little tax revenue is paid and if it is the tax stays right around this development. The jobs are abusive and poverty with government watchdogs saying that the Inner Harbor has lost over 100,000 jobs in these few decades along with all small business vendors pushed out of business to make way for global corporations that make all American cities look the same. Tourists come to Baltimore to see the same businesses they have in their cities? I THINK NOT.
The comparison of Baltimore to Detroit is valid. Building debt until the city goes bankrupt is a business model for Wall Street.
Harbor Point: Do we really need $80 million in bells and whistles? Opinion: The East Baltimore project is front-loaded with city-funded projects that needn't be started now.
Gerald Neily June 7, 2013 at 10:20 am
Artist’s rendering of Harbor Point, a $1 billion project that’s due to receive a hefty city subsidy.
Photo by: City of Baltimore
The press release issued this week by the Rawlings-Blake administration to justify its $107 million financing plan for Harbor Point presses all the usual buttons: “Like the Inner Harbor revitalization effort of 30 years ago, the Harbor Point project represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow Baltimore by attracting new jobs, new residents, new tax revenue, and new public amenities.”
But Harbor Point is nothing like the Inner Harbor. The latter was a gaping hole of abandoned piers and obsolete factories that needed to be filled, while Harbor Point is extraordinarily isolated from the rest of the city.
The press release promises “blight elimination.” But there is no blight to eliminate at this former site of a chromium-processing factory.
Harbor Point is literally a blank canvas, covered by an asphalt cap to contain buried factory wastes. Unlike most of Baltimore, everything at this 28-acre site is under control – and unoccupied by people or roadways or infrastructure that need to be cleared away.
Which means we don’t have to spend public money on its redevelopment until we’re good and ready.
Direct Public Money to Real Needs
Let me explain: only a relatively small amount of the proposed public financing is going for traditional infrastructure.
The mayor proposes just $23 million in TIF (tax increment) bonds for sidewalks, utilities and a bridge connecting Harbor Point with Harbor East, but well over half ($59 million) for five parks.
Parks are nice (though one wonders how many non-Harbor Point residents and office workers will use them). Let’s, though, build them when development justifies them.
Another $21 million is for the waterfront promenade. The press release misstates that the “promenade will connect Fells Point with Harbor East.” Wrong. The best pedestrian connection between those places already exists along Lancaster and/or Caroline Street.
Michael Beatty (left) listens to Mayor Rawlings-Blake extol his project at press conference yesterday. The conference was held on the cleared site, with the Harbor East skylight as a backdrop. (Photo by Mark Reutter)
The Harbor Point promenade will be a free-standing amenity that should be built when conditions warrant – not to fulfill some kind of perceived pedestrian demand or to add value for high-rent private office buildings.
Let’s Not Get Ahead of Development
So $80 million of the $107 million spending can be triggered by real-time reality, starting with the completion of the Exelon Tower, which the energy giant has committed itself to leasing regardless of what the city spends on parks and promenades.
The developer, Michael Beatty and his longtime financial benefactor, John Paterakis, are gambling on public subsidies to fill the gap between their ambitions and market reality.
Another rendering of the proposed development, biggest in Baltimore history. (Harbor Point Development)
The same game was played at their previous project, Harbor East, when the city allowed itself to pay for public improvements far ahead of development (as well as subsidize with tax breaks the development itself).
The Harbor East promenade was torn up for the Four Seasons complex, and the walkway still hasn’t been rebuilt right.
On the other hand, Morgan Stanley is currently occupying the Thames Street Wharf building – the only part of Harbor Point that’s been completed – without any public complaints about the lack of surrounding amenities.
Grand Plans Foiled Before
The city’s experience with the Harbor View development in South Baltimore is a perfect illustration of the problem of “front-loading” public assets onto private projects.
Back in the 1980s, Richard Swirnow planned a whole wall of high-rise residential buildings along Key Highway, which was approved by the city over the objections of a mostly enraged community.
Only one was actually built. The high-end waterfront residential market became oversaturated and the rest of the site was slowly built-out as townhouses.
With Harbor Point, the stakes would be much higher. The mayor’s press release summarizes a jigsaw puzzle of financial considerations with a bottom line of dubious accounting legitimacy: “average new City revenue per year (30 years), $19,623,928.”
This metric sweeps away the city’s recent history of development projects that have failed to meet their hype with a single word: “average.”
Perhaps the most comparable development plan to Harbor Point is Renaissance Center in Detroit. It, too, was hyped as Detroit’s savior, but was really just a massive isolated urban ego-trip that sapped all the city’s high-end development demand.
Detroit’s showcase Renaissance Center has unintended consequences for Motor City’s old downtown.
RenCen’s chronic vacancy eventually compelled General Motors to move its corporate headquarters there on its road to eventual bankruptcy and government bailout.
Harbor Point is better designed but equally isolated, with far poorer access and a far greater infrastructure budget.
RenCen took advantage of Detroit’s once powerful corporate sector – and then helped destroy that sector.
Aren’t There Higher Priorities?
Baltimore should be in no hurry to complete the promenade or stamp out alleged Harbor Point “blight.”
Instead, the mainstream development market should be encouraged to build up the Central Avenue corridor to Old Town, or to fill up vacant and underutilized downtown office buildings, or to turn around areas that are truly blighted like Westport and Poppleton.
There are plenty of needy neighborhoods and stalled projects that the mayor should address before throwing public money at what she described yesterday as one of the best real estate locations on the East Coast.