As I walked to the polling booth in Maryland to vote I stopped and talked with three people on the way as well. I listed the platform issues of my campaign without letting them know who I was and we talked for a few minutes----these people saying exactly what I say in my blog every day. Everyone supports the issues in my platform. When we finish talking I introduce myself as a candidate for governor and none of them know me but say they will vote for me. Meanwhile, WYPR, Johns Hopkins' corporate 'public' media has staff who have been involved in all the primary events lamenting the voter turnout----no knowing just what to do to get more people out to the polls. Remember, it was WYPR that literally said-----
IF YOU DO NOT LIKE THE CANDIDATES WE PUT IN FRONT OF YOU----THEN DO NOT VOTE. THERE'S THE PROBLEM.
This capture of elections in Maryland is what makes these global corporate neo-liberals and neo-cons operate with impunity when it comes to public policy that is killing the citizens of Maryland and is directly behind the rising taxation hitting the middle/working class. I just want to remind the citizens of Maryland of some of the more well-known corporate give-aways and remember, we do not have to give all of this away to keep large corporations in the state. In fact, we want them to leave so we can rebuild the small and regional businesses that rely on good service and quality products to win market-share.
I listened this morning about the rising sea levels and how it will affect the US coastline. Predictions of anywhere from 12-30 inches in sea level rise over just a few decades is not hyperbole----it is scientifically valid. So, let's look at Maryland to see how the corporate pols operate with total disregard to the citizens of Maryland and the state and local revenue spent on behalf of these corporations.
Below you see the infamous Exelon/Harbor Point debacle that had every sector in the city of Baltimore out and protesting because the level of corruption was breath-taking. This deal was so openly racketeering by Baltimore City Hall and Mayor Rawlings-Blake and the political pay off of developers and political contributions is astounding. Baltimore City is indeed third world in its level of fraud, corruption, and lack of transparency.
Just a quick overview of the problems ------Exelon just finished a merger deal with BGE that required the corporation to keep its headquarters in Baltimore so the city did not have to provide this tax break to keep this corporation in the city-----it gave it away for absolutely no reason. The developer is building on land that is a known toxic waste dump that should be simply made into a green space at best until toxic waste cleanup can be done but the city is allowing a high-rise right on water's edge on this site. Residents in nearby communities are concerned about the toxic chemical barrier being penetrated as it will compromise the integrity of the seal of toxic chemicals that will leach into the water and be released by air.
Equally as troubling is my reference to the rise in sea level and this development will have the taxpayers paying to build a sea wall around this entire Harbor East development that should never have been allowed to be constructed on water's edge. It is all public malfeasance and will cost taxpayers countless money to implement and maintain.
THE PUBLIC AND MEDIA OUTCRY WAS IMMENSE AND THESE CORPORATE POLS IGNORED IT BECAUSE THEY WORK FOR THESE CORPORATIONS AND NOT THE CITIZENS OF BALTIMORE AND MARYLAND.
Activists plan protest against $107M in city financing for Harbor Point development
Hearing on TIF financing scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall
About 100 protesters object to the $107 million in tax increment… (Baltimore Sun photo by Luke…)July 16, 2013|By Luke Broadwater | The Baltimore Sun
Activists plan to protest the $107 million in city financing requested for the waterfront Harbor Point development.
The Fair Development Campaign will hold a demonstration in front of City Hall at 4 p.m. Wednesday to protest the tax increment financing plan
"Time and again, the city has awarded our resources to wealthy developers at the taxpayers’ expense in the hope that money will trickle down," states a news release from the group. "This model has failed. The Harbor Point TIF deal is more of the same."
The activists said they expect dozens of Baltimore residents to attend the event, including the homeless and unemployed workers.
Immediately following the rally, the City Council's taxation committee will hear testimony about the request for more than $100 million in city-issued bonds to pay for the project's roads, pipes, public parks, promenade and other infrastructure. The 30-year bonds will accrue millions in interest over time.
Under the deal, the developer Michael S. Beatty is required to pay back both the bonds and interest through his projected tax revenue. If the tax revenue falls short, the project will be assessed a special tax, according to proposed legislation.
The $1 billion Harbor Point development is the planned home of Exelon's new regional headquarters, a Morgan Stanley facility and other office buildings, residential towers, stores and a hotel.
Currently, the site is assessed at $10 million, but the Baltimore Development Corporation projects it would be valued at $1.8 billion for tax purposes when developer Michael S. Beatty completes it.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has said the Harbor Point project would create thousands of jobs. In addition to the tax increment financing, the development is benefiting from more than $100 million in tax breaks.
O'Malley is king of corporate brown-nosing giving these corporations anything they want no matter the cost. He has single-handedly mortgaged the future of Baltimore for decades unless Cindy Walsh for Governor of Maryland takes to court these bogus corporate tax breaks and public private partnership deals that even a third grader would know are against the public interest.
YES, POLITICIANS ARE SWORN TO PROTECT AND SERVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE-----IN THIS CASE THE CITIZENS OF MARYLAND. IT IS PUBLIC MALFEASANCE WHEN THEY KNOWINGLY THROW THE PUBLIC UNDER A BUS.
Makeover Monday: Hyatt resort spa gets $1 million revamp
USATODAY 6:04 p.m. EDT September 17, 2012(Photo: Hyatt Regency)
The 10-year-old Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa & Marina on Maryland's Eastern Shore today sports a new, $1 million spa and salon.
The waterfront resort, about 90 miles from Washington D.C., spruced up its guest rooms, lobby and dining areas in 2009. But earlier this year, it updated its 18,000-square-foot Sago Spa & Salon.
The 400-room resort's located in Cambridge, Md.
So where did the $1 million go?
The money was spent on everything from the new limestone reception desk to a new design inspired by the Chesapeake Bay in a color palette of golden hues, steel blues and earth tones, says Caroline Gould of the Washington D.C. design firm, RD Jones and Associates, which completed the revamp.
Sago has a renovated steam room and sauna, a larger retail area and a new co-ed relaxation room. Also, its salon was expanded to allow for more stations for manicures and pedicures, hair styling and make-up application.
The redesign is based on an abstract interpretation of its Eastern Shore location, so you'll see nautical-inspired wall sconces and natural textured wallpapers, Gould says. The spa was named after a strong underwater grass in the Chesapeake Bay that provides life and nourishment to the water and inhabitants.
Above you see more money spent to make a luxury hotel more luxurious even as it continues to lose money and the state allows bonds. Raise your hands if you know a massive economic collapse is coming soon that will be broader and deeper than the one in 2008------EVERYONE THAT READS REAL JOURNALISM. So, will there be an uptick in the near future?
OF COURSE NOT----THERE WILL BE A DEFAULT ON THESE BONDS FOR THE STATE OF MARYLAND AND THE PRIVATE PARTNERS WILL BE INSURED AGAINST ANY LOSSES.
The idea that any region is lucky to have tourism jobs that not only pay poverty wages but the lowest poverty wages around is an insult to the citizens of the Maryland Eastern Shore. They need good solid manufacturing and small business opportunities that allow them to prosper----not toil as people living in third world countries do with these same resort areas.
Easton is a wealthy enclave that wanted this in their neighborhood and got it. We are not against people being wealthy------we are against corporate and wealth subsidy at the expense of the greater population.
The reference to Rocky Gap is just a look at the pattern of economic development that makes no sense and is done simply to placate people connected to the politics of Maryland. We are supposed to be happy with the solution of handing this resort having huge taxpayer investment to private corporation for gambling which is exempted from paying taxes on the gambling proceeds......this is why you do not hear Cindy Walsh for Governor of Maryland in any media or large 501c3 venue----the corruption is complete.
IT IS LOL IF IT WAS NOT SO PITIFUL.
The Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) functions under the provisions of Title 10, Subtitle 1 of the Economic Development Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The legislative purposes of MEDCO are to: relieve unemployment in the State; encourage the increase of business activity and commerce and a balanced economy in the State; help retain and attract business activity and commerce in the State; promote economic development; and promote the health, safety, right of gainful employment and welfare of residents of the State.
We need to look at what MEDCO is backing and as with MECU ----Maryland Employee Credit Union------it is the public sector paying for what will prove to be public malfeasance on the part of elected officials. This is not a democrat only issue----the republican party is just as crony and corrupt as republican voters know.
Rocky Gap II?Our view: The state-backed Cambridge Hyatt has been a winner for the Eastern Shore, and its struggles pale next to those of its Western Maryland predecessor
June 12, 2013 Baltimore Sun
Henceforth, let there by a rule that nothing can be compared to Maryland's failed investment at Rocky Gap, located just outside Cumberland in Western Maryland, except for Rocky Gap and perhaps any other $55 million white elephant loss that comes along. We know Rocky Gap. Rocky Gap is an acquaintance of ours. Sorry, Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay resort in Cambridge, but you're no Rocky Gap.
Incidentally, let us insert a reminder here. Even the infamous Rocky Gap hotel and conference center isn't Rocky Gap anymore. The place was turned over to private investors last year and is now the Rocky Gap Casino Resort. With slot machines and table games (along with the lakeside hotel and Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course they picked up for a bargain price), they are unlikely to lose money. The state even lowered its share of slot machine revenue just to be certain.
The Rocky Gap legacy — its star-crossed history and cost to taxpayers — lives on, however, and naturally it came up with news that the state-owned Hyatt, another project financed by the Maryland Economic Development Corp., is having trouble paying the bills. The state recently withdrew $2 million from a reserve fund to meet debt service.
Admittedly, the situation isn't good — not for the 400-bedroom hotel, not for investors and not for Cambridge and Dorchester County. The resort hotel business in general has been on the rocks since the economic downturn and is only now showing signs of life across the country. The Hyatt is meeting its operating costs but operating in the red because of its bond payments. The reserve fund could be depleted later this year, and bond holders are likely taking a hit (but probably won't seek foreclosure).
That's nothing to celebrate. But it's also not something to call a disaster on the scale of Rocky Gap. And it's certainly not time to talk about underwriting the business with slot machines, table games, poker or any other form of expanded gambling. (Seriously, does every economic hardship now require that a casino be authorized in response?)
The fact is, the Hyatt was a success and arguably continues to be one despite the drop in revenue that's been eating away at reserves since 2010. Ask anyone who has been there. It's a first-class facility with a spa, golf course and marina on a gorgeous location convenient to both the Washington-Baltimore area and the Maryland-Delaware beach resorts. But more importantly, its presence has helped transform Dorchester County, not only by creating travel and tourism-related jobs but in changing how visitors perceive a part of the Eastern Shore that was once known as much for racial unrest as anything produced by its native farmers or watermen.
Cambridge in the summer of 1967 was where H. Rap Brown — a militant activist who would surely be seen as a terrorist today (were he not currently in jail serving a life sentence for an unrelated murder) — told his fellow African-Americans to riot and burn the place down. What ensued was four years of racial violence followed by decades of economic hardship and poverty. The county still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state — even slightly higher than Baltimore's.
But the situation has unquestionably improved since the 2002 opening of the Hyatt, made possible by MEDCO's $120 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds. The Dorchester County of today may still be suffering, but it has potential. Indeed, in the pre-recession years after the hotel opened, county residents' big concern was the fast pace of construction and the volume of new arrivals to their communities. It was not until 2008 that the bottom fell out and bookings dropped by 30 percent. It might even have recovered by now except that sequestration has taken a huge bite out of hotel spending by the federal government and its contractors.
That was never the case in Cumberland, where the isolated Rocky Gap seemed a pie-in-the-sky concept even before it opened in 1998. The Hyatt, now the county's second-largest employer with as many as 700 jobs in the summer peak season, has survived most of its 11 years without teetering on default. That alone sets it apart from its politically motivated Western Maryland counterpart. It's hard to believe there's anything wrong with the Hyatt that can't be cured by an uptick in tourism, in its conference trade and in traffic on U.S. 50. The nonrated bonds aren't even the responsibility of state taxpayers.
Certainly, a case could be made that MEDCO might want to look at resort projects more skeptically in the future. But it would also be a mistake to evaluate the Hyatt in Cambridge solely on the recession-related red ink on its ledger and not on the benefits it has provided to the surrounding community for the past decade.
Below you see the development plans that everyone knows is bad policy but is it stupidity or is it deliberately calculated to keep the public on tap to make sure a corporation brings in profit and pays no taxes? Right now any tax base this hotel would have paid----and believe me all the TIFs and breaks given for zoning have those taxes at a minimum are now being used to keep the hotel solvent. So a large sum of revenue is going to keep a hotel-----in the midst of tons of hotel space that have a crisis in filling rooms----going to Hilton.
Note when this deal finally started-----2006-2008. This is exactly when all the press was calling the US economy and the stock market a 'HOUSE OF CARDS'.
Greenspan and Geithner had just refused to acknowledge and prosecute massive subprime mortgage fraud and the fraud exploded and imploded the economy all between 2006-2008 and all politicians knew this was happening. Remember, I am not a rocket scientist----I simply read the financial news.
So, O'Malley pushes to place this albatross on the neck of the citizens of Baltimore and Maryland knowing the economy was going to crash in a big way and a recession would no doubt be deep and long. He knew the business would not be there-----he built it because of a Master Plan of Baltimore Development Corporation and Johns Hopkins that projects 50 years out in development. They say the loses to the citizens living in Maryland now do not matter----we are building for the 21st century and we are going to do it our way!!!!
What Baltimore's downtown needed was thousands of small businesses supported by people employed and earning a Living Wage. You cannot do that in Baltimore because the public policy keeps most Baltimore citizens in poverty and unemployed----unable to provide the product consumption to fuel a domestic economy. THIS IS DELIBERATE.
The Hilton Baltimore is a 757–room hotel located on West Pratt Street in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Initially proposed in 2003, actual construction of the city-owned venture took place between 2006 and 2008 as part of the Baltimore Convention Center.
Despite Losses Baltimore Won’t Sell Taxpayer Funded Hilton Hotel
Losses mounting for financially troubled hotel
November 1, 2013 by Brian Griffiths Watchdog Wire
The City of Baltimore decided to do an extensive investigation into the city-owned Hilton Hotel. And their decision on this matter shows exactly why you don’t do stupid stuff like build city-owned hotels in the first place:
There’s too much money tied into the city ownership of the Hilton Hotel to put it on the market, Baltimore City officials said Thursday.
City officials said the hotel is not for sale and that they would expect to lose tens of millions of dollars by putting it on the market. They said restructuring the debt is not an option, and they believe the hotel will turn a profit in 10 years.
This study indicates the Hilton is outperforming other hotels in the city and that holding onto it will pay off down the road.
Read the whole thing. The city has lost money on the hotel for years because it could never meet the revenue projections promised by its supporters, which some predicted at the project’s inception given its comparison to similar projects in other cities that had been completed at the time. Since then the hotel hasn’t exactly been swimming in profits; just last year the hotel had to withdraw money from their reserve fund in order to pay their bills after running up over $54 million losses since its opening. Of course, any sale of the hotel would certainly create political headaches for one Governor Martin O’Malley. Remember the city-owned hotel was O’Malley’s brainchild all along. Once created, O’Malley used the construction of the hotel to engage in one of his favorite sports; throwing development dollars to Democratic operatives. The hotel wound up being developed by Ronald Lipscomb, notorious developer, Democratic fundraiser , and boyfriend of disgraced former Mayor Sheila Dixon. Despite his flaws and issues with jurisprudence, O’Malley called Lipscomb “a man of vision, talent, and commitment to the greater good.” And to top it off, O’Malley was able to create the hotel, enrich a crony, lost the new Hilton company headquarters to Virginia despite his support of a public financed hotel, and then attempt to blame former Governor Bob Ehrlich for the failure of the hotel when it was preordained to fail in the first place.Needless to say that selling the hotel would be an admission that Martin O’Malley failed, something that the Governor can ill-afford to have as he embraces on his Titanic-like Presidential campaign. While there are obvious political reasons that would make Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake want to protect O’Malley and her Democratic cronies, there is no legitimate reason to keep the hotel in city-controlled hands. With $54 million in losses and counting, there is no reason to believe that the Hilton is going to turn a profit at any time in the near future. In a city that is in serious financial straits, with crumbling schools, dilapidated infrastructure, and not enough police in order to keep basic order in all parts of the city, something has got to give. If the Baltimore sold the hotel right now and was able to get out from under the cost of operating the hotel and the cost of the debt service of the hotel, it would in a small way reduce the fiscal burden that the city faces, and would cut the city’s losses at around the $54 million mark where it currently sits. Baltimore would then be able to redirect the funds from the occupancy tax (which are partially funding hotel operations right now) back into its general fund so that it can be used for city-related endeavors which are not related to competing with the private sector. Baltimore’s inability to admit defeat and sell the Hilton is just another example of how city elected officials either don’t understand basic economics or don’t take their role as fiscal stewards seriously. It’s time for the city to cut its losses, get out of the hotel business, and try to focus on fixing the myriad of problems facing Baltimore. Brian Griffiths