STOP ELECTING THE SAME CRONY POLS....RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE IN ALL PRIMARIES TO RETAKE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY!!!
Regarding Baltimore Development Corporation vs citizens of Baltimore:
THE MAYOR AND GOVERNOR ARE PUBLIC SERVANTS.....THEY WORK FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST. DEALS MADE WITH CORPORATIONS IN DEVELOPMENT THAT ARE NOT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST ARE ILLEGAL.....PUBLIC MALFEASANCE AND OFTEN INCLUDE FRAUD AND CORRUPTION. WE CAN REVERSE THESE CONTRACTS THAT MORTGAGE OUR FUTURE TO SHIELDING CORPORATIONS TO MAXIMIZE PROFITS.
Let's begin by reminding ourselves, the reason Federal, state, and local coffers are empty is massive corporate fraud of tens of trillions of dollars...hundreds of billions here in MD. So, there is not shortage of funding for development, we simply need to recover fraud. Last decade was all about creating public debt so corporations could come in to capture all that is public. Now, they are using the money stolen from government coffers to build as they want and hold the public captive with development schemes. The same politicians helping to allow this massive fraud to occur are now in office to see that those enriched get what they want.
THIS IS HAPPENING IN CITIES ACROSS AMERICA. IN BALTIMORE, IT IS ON STEROIDS JUST AS DETROIT....ALL PUBLIC COFFERS ARE BEING STARVED OF REVENUE BY DEALS NOT IN THE PUBLIC'S INTEREST.
We can see what led to Detroit's bankrupcty is indeed what is happening in Baltimore and Maryland today. Loaded with credit bond debt and all corporate and wealth revenues mortgaged....long-term public debt makes for corporate control.
Let's look at some development issues in Baltimore....
Detroit’s bankruptcy, the tip of the iceberg
States, cities hand out billions in tax abatements
By Nancy Hanover
27 January 2014
To some, it may come as a surprise that the bankrupt City of Detroit and the hard-hit State of Michigan are subsidizing the Big Three automakers, the pharmaceutical industry, energy companies and virtually every large Michigan business. But a massive giveaway—“corporate welfare,” both locally and nationally—is bankrupting municipalities everywhere as shown by reports from Demos (“The Detroit Bankruptcy”), the New York Times (“United States of Subsidies”) and Good Jobs First (“Megadeals”).
While making the political decision to use the bankruptcy court to destroy pensions, jobs, city services and public institutions like the Detroit Institute of Arts, the government has been nothing but generous to Fortune 500 CEOs asking for a handout.
In a city where citizens routinely wait for up to three hours for public transportation and tens of thousands suffer from utility shutoffs in the dead of winter, more than $20 million a year has been awarded to companies including Comerica Bank, Rock Ventures/Garbsman, the Farbman Group, Quicken Loans, the Detroit Medical Center and multibillion-dollar conglomerate DTE Energy.
Wallace C. Turbeville’s report on the bankruptcy for Demos calls these “extensive subsidies” and suggests the emergency manager “reclaim tax subsidies and other expenditures to incentivize investment in the downtown area” and treat them similarly to the rest of the city’s debt. Of course Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, a Democrat, has been placed into his dictatorial position not to penalize his corporate masters but to ensure their interests and lay the basis for their dramatic increase in profit-taking.
Tax boondoggles in the city include a whopping $285 million to billionaire Mike Ilitch for a 45-block entertainment district and $100 million in tax abatements for Compuware, also a billion-dollar company.
Smaller gifts were available as well, including $27 million in tax incentives awarded to the Meridian Health Plan building to be built in the central business district. Owners David, Sherry, Jon, Sean and Michael Cotton are real estate developers whose core business is a series of health care businesses in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and several other states. The Cottons believe they can boost that number to $35 million in public financing through additional credits, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.
Another recipient of the city’s munificence is Whole Foods Market, a wildly profitable firm paying out $500 million last year in stock dividends, which is receiving $4.2 million, but hopes to get more from so-called brownfield (“blighted” areas requiring “revitalization”) incentives.
Detroit has been saddled with 16 “renaissance zones” that were virtually tax-free for business and forgave millions of dollars in taxes. At the same time, Detroit homeowners have the highest property taxes among the nation’s 50 largest cities, and paid twice the national average in tax.
Last September, a frenzy of downtown Detroit developers spurred the first-ever Novogradac Historic Tax Credit Conference. It brought them together with hundreds of assorted accountants and tax attorneys looking to parlay the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive program into millions of dollars. The possibility of funding 20 percent of rehabilitation costs with federal dollars has whetted the appetites of the gentrifiers/developers who are in the process of evicting hundreds of elderly and disabled Section 8 renters living in downtown buildings.
But it was not just Detroit and federal agencies that contributed to the corporate coffers. The role of the State of Michigan was pivotal to the Detroit bankruptcy on multiple levels. It was Governor Rick Snyder who conspired with law firm Jones Day and Kevyn Orr to declare the city in “financial emergency” and appoint Orr with the prearranged plan to impose bankruptcy, void contracts and loot the city’s assets.
Not as well publicized was the fact that the “tipping point” in Detroit’s cash flow crisis was reached when Michigan’s annual state revenue sharing was cut by $67 million per year. Author of the Demos report, Walter Turbeville, explains the mechanics in “The Detroit Bankruptcy.” It was in two stages, and part of the cut followed declining populations, but “$42.8 millions (64 percent of the total state cuts) were at the discretion of the state legislature.
“By cutting revenue-sharing with the city, the state effectively reduced its own budget challenges on the backs of the taxpayers of Detroit (and other cities). These cuts account for nearly a third of the city’s revenue losses between FY 2011 and FY 2012.” Turbeville, a former Goldman Sachs accountant, concludes, “Thus, the state was an active player in the events leading to the cash flow crisis.”
Put more bluntly, Governor Rick Snyder and the state legislature—with the full support of both Republicans and Democrats—pulled the plug on Detroit, suffering in the aftershock of the Great Recession of 2008.
Yet while depriving Detroit, as well as other Michigan municipalities, of desperately needed revenues, the State of Michigan was spending—as it has done annually—a staggering $6.65 billion on business incentives.
Michigan: More megadeals than any other state
According to the Good Jobs First report, Michigan—possibly the hardest hit state of the “Rust Belt”—has offered more large government-funded subsidies to corporations than any other in the nation. It identifies 29 megadeals involving awards higher than $75 million.
The New York Times series “United States of Subsidies” by Louise Story points out that 30 cents out of every dollar in Michigan’s budget goes to this type of “corporate welfare” at the direct expense of support to education, infrastructure and municipalities.
The lion’s share of these gifts went to the Big Three automakers, now expecting to post all-time record profits in 2013, above the already banner year of 2012 at $12.3 billion. General Motors (whose government bailout is now estimated to have cost taxpayers $10 billion) was the top beneficiary receiving $3.3 billion in aid, according to the Center for Automotive Research. The New York Times puts Ford at $1.58 billion and Chrysler at $1.4 billion. Overall national incentives for automakers since 1985 are pegged at an astronomical $13.9 billion. It should be noted that whether Democrats or Republicans were in power, the process escalated.
Among others, Story conducted more than two dozen in-depth interviews with former GM officials and tax consultants to prepare “United States of Subsidies.” She pointed to the role of Argonaut Realty, the automaker’s real estate division, in conducting the shakedown of local governments across the US. GM enlisted their tax managers, charities’ accountants and union representatives alongside plant managers and executives in a combination of threats and negotiations to rein in the biggest tax boondoggles. “For towns, it became a game of survival,” notes Story.
The procedure is classic: cities and states are pitted against each other in a reverse auction. Often even the scenario presented was a fraud, perpetrated by the transnational company seeking higher profits. One example in the GM saga was the company’s demand for tax cuts in Moraine, Ohio. GM told the city that Moraine was competing with Shreveport, Louisiana and Linden, New Jersey to maintain an auto plant. After the Moraine school board caved and accepted the property tax cuts to education funding, it was discovered that the other towns had not been in discussion with GM.
This is a national scourge. As the stakes for jobs has intensified, states are creating more and more incentives. In 2010 alone, 40 new types of tax credits were created or expanded. Oklahoma and West Virginia give up amounts equal to about one-third of their budgets, Maine about one-fifth. Texas awards $19 billion a year and Alaska, West Virginia and Nebraska give up the most per resident, according to the Times.
Because no national database of corporate incentives exists, Story and Good Jobs First had to conduct months-long investigations to uncover the myriad layers of giveaways by thousands of government agencies and officials.
$80 billion annually funneled to big business
The Times uncovered a staggering $80 billion annually donated by states, counties and cities to business. And it cautioned that the actual cost of awards is certainly far higher. The report points to the wide range of corporate entities receiving money, including many among the world’s most profitable firms: Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Boeing, Airbus, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Walt Disney, ESPN, Sears, General Electric, Dow Chemical, Amazon, Apple, Intel and Samsung. Sixteen of the Fortune 50 are represented.
Dozens of officials at large corporations who were questioned by Louise Story justified the whipsawing of communities as “owing it to the shareholders to maximize profits,” she reported. Hallmark CEO Donald Hall Jr. said, “this use of incentives is really transferring money from education to businesses.”
It is also no accident how difficult it was assembling these statistics; the government accounting standards board has failed to regulate the accounting of tax-based economic development expenditures. There is, furthermore, very little oversight once grants are issued. For the most part, no one tracks the “effectiveness” of job retention as a result of giveaways.
A poignant Metro Detroit example is the famed Ford Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, designed by Albert Kahn and used to build bombers in World War II. After the war, it became Kaiser Motors and then was taken over by General Motors, which expanded the facility into a complex. Over the years, the small outlying town of Ypsilanti granted more than $200 million in incentives to the facility.
Doug Winters, the city’s attorney, explained to the Times reporter, “They had put basically a stranglehold on the entire state of Michigan and other places across the country by just grabbing these tax abatements by the billions. They were doing it with a very thinly disguised threat that if you don’t give us these tax abatements, then we’ll have to go somewhere else.”
After the company closed the first plant, the city sued, but was unsuccessful. The judge said that a company’s job assurances “cannot be evidence of a promise.” In 2010 the company closed the remaining factory and Winters sued again. The claim has now been relegated to the corporate books of the defunct “bad GM.”
Referring to General Motors, Winters told Story, “We’re their own private ATM. When they need money, they come begging, but when they don’t want oversight, they say ‘get out of the way.’”
Like payoffs to the Mafia consigliere, there is no respite for states, counties, school districts or municipalities. Ford and GM are now slated to receive federal tax credits for making more fuel-efficient vehicles… worth $50 million, an event celebrated by Michigan Democratic Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. Republican Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder recently announced a state grant of $2.5 million for infrastructure improvements for Hyundai’s Superior Township technical center in Metro Detroit. The GM plant in the small enclave of Detroit, Hamtramck, is asking for $1.8 million in order to make critical investments in their operations.
It goes on and on. The substantial New York Times exposé demonstrates the proliferation of this “beggar-thy-neighbor” policy in the false hope of local officials maintaining economically viable communities. As a result, hundreds of school districts are in financial emergency, teachers and staffs are subjected to pay cuts and layoffs, recreation centers are closed and city infrastructure is allowed to rot. Municipalities are systematically being bankrupted as a greater and greater portion of social wealth is diverted to the profits of their resident corporations.
The extent of corporate blackmail nationally demonstrates that the looting of Detroit is just the beginning. Here is a glimpse of the national picture:
*Walmart, the world’s most profitable corporation, receives $1.2 billion in taxpayer assistance.
*Alcoa receives a 30-year discounted electricity deal worth $5.6 billion.
*Sasol natural gas could receive as much as $21 billion on investment subsidies.
*Boeing’s tax breaks and subsidies are estimated at $3.2 billion.
*Nike’s 30-year single sales factor tax commitment nets it $2.02 billion.
*Intel’s property tax abatement for a computer chip plant means $2 billion in benefits.
*Cheniere Energy of Louisiana will retain $1.69 billion in earnings due to subsidies for the Sabine Pass natural gas liquefaction plant.
*Google’s North Carolina deal received $254,700,000 (for 210 jobs).
*Apple’s North Carolina negotiations yielded $320,700,000 (for 50 jobs).
*Goldman Sachs moved operations from Manhattan to Jersey City, New Jersey and netted $164 million in tax incentives.
What was once considered extortion or bribery has become a normal business model. The blood and sweat of the working class demands nationalization of the ill-gotten gains of the parasitic financial elite and the establishment of a society where jobs, housing, education, pensions, and culture are considered basic rights for all of society.
To counter the government/corporate conspiracy being prepared and to fight back, the Socialist Equality Party has organized a Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit. We call on all workers, pensioners, students and youth to attend this important event February 15.
Let's look at what the citizens have working against them on this issue. First, we have an EPA under Obama that is worse than Bush in working for corporations and profit and against actual science and public interest. Across the country Obama's EPA is granting passes on projects with the worst of records. So, getting EPA approval under Obama is a joke.
Then, let's look at the fact that citizens in Baltimore found that the monitoring of toxic exposure by the developer was faulty....it was not operating correctly from the start. WHAT KIND OF RED FLAG IS THAT? We already know we cannot trust the data being given us on the safety of this project. Next, we look at the fact that sea level is going to rise over 12 inches in 20 years and we see that sea walls will be needed and even that will not guarantee wash of contaminents into surrounding water.
MD has some of the worst environmental conditions from neglected oversight of former corporate tenents and we are now being told----relax, we will have the best oversight-----OH, REALLY?
Lastly, we have yet to go to court over racketeering charges on the tax break for Exelon. Since this is indeed illegal and should stop that anchor business....why would any other actions in the project be legally done?
Harbor Point a model for brownfield revitalization [Commentary]
Despite community concerns, the approach to the Baltimore site has been among the best in the nation
By Evans Paull
3:28 p.m. EST, February 27, 2014 Baltimore Sun
Cities around the world are working to revitalize brownfield sites — areas where redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by some kind of contaminant — particularly in former waterfront industrial zones, where there is often the greatest opportunity to remake the city's image. Just as Baltimore has succeeded in redeveloping industrial sites from Canton to the Inner Harbor to Locust Point, decades of experience across America have created a base of knowledge that is allowing many such projects to move ahead safely, attracting residents and business back to our urban core.
Those of us who have been in the brownfields trenches for 15 or more years see the Harbor Point redevelopment as an example of the best brownfields and smart growth practices, developed through the carefully prescribed progression of site assessments, cleanup and redevelopment construction methods that eliminate exposure pathways. The cleanup objective was always to get beyond a fencedoff lot and redevelop the site as a prominent and extraordinary asset to the city and the neighborhood.
The community will gain many advantages from redevelopment, but one worth emphasizing in the context of protecting public health is "site cap redundancy." The current cap is fully protective to residents, business occupants and neighbors; the new buildings and garages will be added over the top of the cap, in effect, providing an extra layer of protection.
As to the other benefits of redevelopment, let us recount: a mixed-use walkable community, reinforcing state and regional smart growth objectives; 9.5 acres of public open space including a new 5-acre waterfront park; continuation of Baltimore's No. 1 amenity, its waterfront promenade; and a jewel of a site to market to out-of-town businesses that might be looking for that one site that combines water views, a cool creative community, and walking distance to the East Coast's most complete set of urban amenities. With Exelon, a leading national energy company, as its core tenant, Harbor Point will undoubtedly gain national recognition as a model for redevelopment and reuse.
For perspective, many urban waterfronts are impacted by more heavily-contaminated sites than the former Allied site. Waterfronts and ports in Portland, Tacoma, Glen Cove (New York), Brooklyn, Queens, Seattle, Buffalo, Toledo and right here in Maryland on the Anacostia, are all dealing with Superfund sites that need to be remediated. Impacted sites often sit idle for decades while EPA battles multiple responsible parties and tries to come up with acceptable cleanup and funding plans.
Many of these other cities have long-term visions that have yet to be realized. In Tacoma, Wash., cleaning up the Thea Foss Waterway was such an important objective that the city participated in a $106 million cleanup agreement that included a $56 million contribution from the city's Surface Water Tax. By comparison, the cleanup of the Honeywell site in Baltimore was much more cooperative, straightforward, and certain. Throughout the process, Allied and then Honeywell cooperated with regulators as the sole responsible party; there have been no lawsuits holding up cleanup and no public funding.
Finally, the questions that have been raised in relation to protection of public health boil down to this: is there any reason to believe that the regulators are not doing their jobs? Certainly, most people who attended Baltimore City Councilman James Kraft's public meeting last fall came away with a favorable impression that the regulators are fully in charge and acting in the best interest of the public. They have every motivation to get this right: They are bound by law to protect public health and the environment. Their worst mistake would be to ignore a public health risk that might come back to haunt them, especially on a site with this kind of prominence.
Regulators tend to practice the brownfields version of defensive medicine — let's order one more test, just to make sure. This is an extra expense to developers but one they willingly accept because they, too, do not want to cut any corners in an environment where successful marketing of the property depends on complete confidence in the measures taken to protect public health.
Harbor Point is on the verge of completing the long process needed to move forward and transform this barren former manufacturing facility into Baltimore's newest live-work-play waterfront gem.
Do you know that property tax is about the only tax left corporations pay and that MD has a structural budget deficit created from all of these corporate tax breaks and corporate tax evasion? MD and Baltimore especially has mortgaged the future of the public for decades all under the guise of development when all that is public is given for global corporations moving into the city.
We do not want an economy driven by global corporations! They take control of all that is public policy----SOUND FAMILIAR?----they suck all public revenue to their own profits-----SOUND FAMILIAR?-----and they seek to impoverish and eliminate all labor and justice law on the books. STOP THE JOBS MANTRA WHEN JOBS DO NOT APPEAR AND WHEN THE WORK IS IMPOVERISHING.
The question is why did the companies creating the environmental damage not pay for the cleanup? Who did that and let's go after them now to do it. We saw a deal with Sparrow's Point Steel Mill that shows just that same thing....tons of environmental damage and a bankruptcy that will let the damage stay with the public. THIS IS PUBLIC POLICY BACKED BY NEO-LIBERALS. DEMOCRATS WOULD NOT DO THIS.
As Rawlings-Blake knows the Amazon Warehouse will become one of the most highly automated warehouses in the country. The number of jobs will fall dramatically in just years. So, we will have a huge business paying almost no taxes using tons of city services.
I am not against the Amazon warehouse coming to Baltimore. I am against making yet another corporate welfare case.....and all involved with O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake are corporate welfare. THIS IS WHY BALTIMORE/MARYLAND CITIZENS ARE SOAKED IN TAXES, FEES, AND FINED UP THE YING-YANG!
IF YOU WANT TO GIVE PEOPLE JOBS O'MALLEY AND RAWLINGS-BLAKE.......REBUILD PUBLIC JUSTICE AND OVERSIGHT AGENCIES AND DECLARE A WAR ON CORPORATE FRAUD AND GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION.
Bigger tax breaks sought for industrial sites in Southeast Baltimore
Rawlings-Blake administration to propose legislation Monday
By Natalie Sherman and Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun
11:30 p.m. EST, February 27, 2014
The Rawlings-Blake administration plans to propose bigger property tax breaks for industrial properties in Southeast Baltimore — including the site of a new Amazon warehouse — to bring more jobs to the area.
A new "focus area," which must be approved by the state, would give property owners a 10-year 80 percent property tax credit on value added by physical improvements. It also boosts the credits granted for wages paid to new employees and offers breaks for investments in "personal property," such as machinery.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the legislation is intended to spur development of the "many industrial properties that continue to remain underdeveloped and underutilized."
"I don't think a week goes by where someone doesn't say to us, 'I need help with getting a job,'" Rawlings-Blake said. "We're using economic development tools when we need them to get the results we need."
The proposed focus area contains properties already located in the city's 14,000-acre Enterprise Zone, where they are eligible for some degree of tax relief. The city already operates three focus areas, including properties in Station North and the site of the new Horseshoe Baltimore Casino.
The properties in the new targeted area include the location of the future Amazon warehouse and two operations that are set to close: the Sun Products plant and Mars distribution center.
The resolution to create the new area will be introduced at Monday's City Council meeting, officials said. The city must submit its application to the state by April 15. Baltimore Development Corp. President Brenda McKenzie said the city does not have an estimate for what the program could cost the city in lost tax revenue.
"We won't know until the investment has been done," she said.
The new credits are designed to enhance what is offered in Enterprise Zones. Under that program, the property tax credit phases out over 10 years, falling from 80 percent in the first five years to 30 percent in the last year. The Enterprise Zone also includes one or three-year credits for wages paid to new employees, usually a one-time credit of $1,000 per worker that would jump to $1,500 in the focus area.
Jon Laria, a managing partner at the Baltimore office of law firm Ballard Spahr who chairs the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, said creating "creative and aggressive" tax incentive programs are essential to helping Baltimore attract business, given the city's high property tax rate.
"Credits that lower the tax burden for a period of time really make a difference in terms of our ability to attract business and compete," he said. "Everybody wins when these things happen. We bring residents or we bring businesses or we bring economic investment."
Amazon, which was already due to receive more than $43 million in state and city incentives for its new distribution center, did not respond to requests for comment.
Gregory Hummel, a Chicago-based partner at the Bryan Cave law firm who spoke in November at a session on tax incentives organized by the Baltimore Efficiency and Economy Foundation, said creating a focus area around the Amazon site could be an effort to jump-start creation of a "supplier campus" that would feed off the new center.
"I've seen that work," he said. "It's rarely city-wide because in order to achieve clustering you need some density of development."
Greg LeRoy of the Washington-based research center Good Jobs First, said property taxes can often be a company's largest tax.
"If the city feels like that's the meaningful variable and those reductions would improve the [return on investment] and reduce the risk perception of an investor, it could be meaningful," he said. "The tension there obviously is: Are you paying a company to do something they would have done otherwise?"
Many of the properties have been underutilized for years. In 2011, the Pulaski Limited Partnership, of which Willard Hackerman was the principal, proposed a big-box store, warehouses or a combination of the two for the Pulaski Incinerator site. The BDC sought development for the former Ainsworth paint plant at 3200 E. Biddle St. before demolishing the plant in 2012.
City Councilman Brandon Scott, whose district encompasses much of the proposed new focus area, said he believes the incentives are needed.
"This is great because this is an example of focusing on old-school Baltimore, old-school industrial areas. It's focusing on the areas that have blue-collar jobs," he said. "It's supporting industries that typically don't get that kind of support."
The properties involved, many of them clustered around rail lines rather than highways, have been tough to develop, with obstacles that in some cases go beyond high property taxes, said Chris Ryer, director of the Southeast Community Development Corp.
Still, he said, it could help.
"These are very difficult sites," he said. "It couldn't hurt."
Below you see a community that has been the strongest activist group for their community yet. We thank these committed community activists for shouting out against what will be a horrible corporate big box blow to the community. This group has been after this for years and each time City Hall moves with WalMart in making this development work.
Small businesses will be killed and choice gone with these development decisions. Baltimore development is completely geared to big business and they write the public policy. WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO BE SURE THAT THE NEXT ELECTION FOR MAYOR AND CITY HALL IS ABOUT RUNNING AND VOTING FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE AND SHAKE THESE NEO-LIBERALS OUT OF THE RUG!
After developer fails to post notice, 25th St. Station meeting rescheduled
Wal-Mart-anchored project runs into timeline trouble
Fern Shen February 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm Story Link 12
The Board of Municipal Zoning Appeals had been scheduled Tuesday to consider a request by the developer of 25th Street Station for an extension of the deadline for submitting a detailed time schedule for the project.
But during the past few days, residents who live near the proposed North Baltimore shopping center peppered BMZA executive director David C. Tanner with emails asking why notice of the meeting had not been posted at the site, as required by city charter, 21 days before the meeting.
Today, Tanner told The Brew that the matter will now be heard a month later – at the March 25th meeting – and that the proper notice will be posted.
“We are not in agreement that it is necessary for this on-going matter, but the developer has agreed voluntarily to comply and to post this,” Tanner told The Brew by phone.
Some matters to be discussed on Mar. 11
Attorney Jon M. Laria, who represents the development team, had been furious at the November Planning Commission meeting, when a lawyer representing the Remington Neighborhood Alliance rose to say the developers had missed the deadline in 2012.
If that were the case, attorney J. Carroll Holzer had argued, the Planning Commission’s approval at that meeting of the Planned Unit Development for the project would be invalid.
Laria had disagreed about having missed the deadline, but since then has submitted a written request to the Board to grant an extension.
Tanner said the BMZA had also been scheduled on Tuesday to discuss other matters involving the 25th St. Station project.
Residents have appealed the Planning Commission’s decision to approve design revisions to the project’s Planned Unit Development as a “minor amendment.” They have also objected to the Planning Department’s handling of subdivision plan filings.
“The Board has to determine whether or not it has jurisdiction over these actions,” Tanner said, noting that the question now will be taken up at the BMZA’s Mar. 11 meeting.
UPDATED with this from Jon Laria:
“We were really disappointed by the mischaracterizations in your 2/19 piece. It’s just factually wrong to say “After developer fails to post…”. We were never advised of a February 25 hearing date so there was no “failure” to do anything. While we don’t agree that posting is required under the law for this type of BMZA action, we nonetheless volunteered to post the property because we have come to expect the ultra-litigious in the community to raise this and any other issue they can think of to obstruct progress without regard to merits. So, we pre-emptively agreed to post 21 days in advance of the Board’s hearing, as if this were a conventional zoning appeal, and that necessarily takes us to the March 25 hearing.
Perhaps those who have filed a negative appeal to the BMZA should be required to post the property at their expense, so the hundreds of community members who support the project and greater City shopping options would have adequate notice of these ongoing obstructionist actions by their neighbors?”
Below you see that development from the wealthy business parks in Enterprise Zones to all of what Baltimore HUD is doing all works against the people it pretends to help. The middle/working class are being shafted by having to be the source of all revenue as corporations pay nothing.....the same group are having to fight to have their communities developed as they want and ignored, and as this article shows.....the poor are getting the biggest shaft of all. The working class and poor are being zoned right out of the city.
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley plans to run for President in 2016 with a history of building this system of fraud and corruption.
The problem is systemic collapse of all oversight and accountability not only in Baltimore, but in Maryland. This fraud and corruption is state-wide and it happens because public justice has been dismantled and regulatory and oversight agencies are packed with people told to look the other way.
We have organizations and people dedicated to helping people and using funds wisely, but we know that much of the money funneled through these programs are lost to fraud and corruption and that places the good guys in unwanted spotlight. We can be sure given the number of times fraud and corruption has been exposed in Baltimore that this case will prove more of the same.
Maryland is one of the richest states in the country so this is not a problem with funding....it is a problem of Rule of Law and holding government and corporations accountable.....something the rich do not want. WE CAN CHANGE THIS BUT WE HAVE TO STOP ALLOWING CRONY POLITICAL MACHINES SEND IN THE SAME KINDS OF PEOPLE. RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE IN ALL PRIMARIES.....REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT!
Cindy Walsh is running as the labor and justice candidate for Governor of Maryland.....see my website Citizens Oversight Maryland.com
Baltimore BrewBaltimore Brew - News and Views in Baltimore
Mayor and homeless providers praise grants faulted by HUD
Rawlings-Blake mounts defense of city's use of federal homeless funds, saying no fraud or abuse was uncovered
Mark Reutter February 26, 2014 at 8:53 pm Story Link 5
“I’m proud of the work that we’ve accomplished with these funds,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said today, introducing three homeless providers and two formerly homeless people who praised the embattled city program required to return nearly $4 million in federal funds.
At a City Hall press conference, the mayor framed the issue as a matter of not having “proper documentation” for $9.5 million in federal stimulus grants awarded to the city in 2009 to help the homeless.
Yesterday, it was disclosed by The Sun and The Brew that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is requiring the city to reimburse $3.76 million in grant money.
The Brew has obtained a copy of HUD’s order. So far, neither HUD nor the mayor’s office has released the document, which details the city’s failure to keep track of expenses by homeless providers and to vouch for the eligibility of clients.
“HUD is not alleging any fraud or abuse,” the mayor said at the media event. “Nor are they questioning our commitment for serving our homeless individuals.”
The mayor insisted that the city “did spend these funds helping the homeless,” but “we found it difficult to provide the proper guidance to our allies,” meaning the groups who handed out the funds.
The HUD investigation reported a complete absence of documentation of $393,000 by the now-defunct Prisoner’s Aid Association and $336,000 by the Public Justice Center.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake said she was proud of the work accomplished with the federal stimulus funds. (Photo by Mark Reutter)
Mayor Rawlings-Blake said she was proud of the work accomplished with the stimulus funds. (Photo by Mark Reutter)
The agency faulted eight other providers with deficiencies in record-keeping, which the providers argued resulted from the city’s failure to tell them what documentation was needed.
The mayor today conceded that point by saying, “We found it difficult to provide the proper guidance to our allies [the providers].”
She went on to criticize the federal government for dispensing the stimulus funds far too quickly, calling the process “like building an airplane while you were flying.”
Grantees Praise Their Work
Three homeless providers said the program was of great help to the homeless. John Schiavone, president and CEO of St. Vincent de Paul, said the federal funds helped his group find housing for over 115 families.
Cecily Franklin was presented as one of the recipients. “Programs like this take place and really help you,” she said. “I had to come to the shelter to stay for six months. I wasn’t working. Thankfully, I have since attained employment and am still at that same job and it’s been two years.
“My children are fine and in school. They helped me pay for my home for six months, which was great and it helped me to get on my feet.”
Of the $980,409 in stimulus funds awarded to St. Vincent de Paul, the HUD report says it will require repayment of $466,912 for undocumented financial assistance to homeless clients, $33,242 for an ineligible cost billed under “services,” and $23,075 for not properly documented administrative costs.
Spokesmen for two other homeless providers spoke of the benefits of the program today – Adam Schneider of Health Care for the Homeless and Bill McCarthy, executive director of Associated Catholic Charities.
Both groups were reviewed by HUD and were given a clean bill of health.
Asking for Repayment is “Atrocious”
Without his organization’s stimulus grant of $1,042,000, McCarthy said that some 116 homeless families would probably not have been housed during the Great Recession.
“Remember that we were in crisis – a crisis in humanity and a crisis in our economy at the time these dollars were issued to be deployed,” he said.
“The fact that in hindsight, through an audit, that documentation wasn’t in place for some of the families and individuals that were housed really misses the point. And the fact that the city would be asked to repay $3.7 million of funds that were properly deployed to house homeless people is just atrocious.
“This money,” McCarthy continued, “could be used to continue the great work that the mayor and my colleagues and partners are doing in order to end homelessness in Baltimore.”