This election in Baltimore and for President is about WE THE PEOPLE WITH US CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND A BILL OF RIGHTS GUARANTEEING WE ARE CITIZEN WHO LEGISLATE, CONTROL OUR GOVERNMENT, AND ELECT POLITICIANS TO REPRESENT OUR VOICE IN PASSING LAWS VS WE THE GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL WILL USE PEOPLE AS HUMAN CAPITAL FOR CORPORATE PROFIT ANYWAY WE CAN KNOWING HUMAN CAPITAL HAVE NO RIGHTS.
This week's discussion is exactly that. We must restructure our Baltimore City Hall and agencies away from corporate control and back into our communities to have that voice and control in public policy effecting our local economies and how our communities are developed and operate. It is the only way to do that. When we are told we have no rights to know what is going on in agencies tied to Baltimore Development and other quasi-governmental structures in this city, they are saying------YOU WILL NOT ZOOM US----WE WILL ZOOM YOU.
Aretha Franklin Who's Zoomin' Who
Published on Oct 25, 2015
The article I shared yesterday had citizens in Baltimore angry because ALL WATERFRONT PROPERTY WAS BEING GIVEN TO GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUSES. Indeed, the entire waterfront---from Inner Harbor to development planned for West Baltimore and Dundalk have given real estate to global corporation. WE THE PEOPLE they say can ACCESS piers, waterfront walkways, and corporate landscaping they call parks. It is critical this stop now and we work to reverse these policies. These are NOT PUBLIC SPACES----THEY OFTEN DO NOT OFFER OPEN PUBLIC GATHERING AND VOICE---corporate non-profits are corporations, not public groups.
Characteristics and Guidelines of Great Public Spaces
A public space may be a gathering spot or part of a neighborhood, downtown, special district, waterfront or other area within the public realm that helps promote social interaction and a sense of community. Possible examples may include such spaces as plazas, town squares, parks, marketplaces, public commons and malls, public greens, piers, special areas within convention centers or grounds, sites within public buildings, lobbies, concourses, or public spaces within private buildings.
As with all categories of Great Places, it is important to identify what sets a space apart from others spaces so as to qualify it for a Great Spaces designation. Public Spaces must be at least 10 years old.
I will end this discussion with a great question asked at a mayoral forum. If you brought two people to the table to discuss how to bring people together in Baltimore who would they be-----using the analogy of sharing beers while talking over disputes. I shared Catherine Pugh's response-----the richest developer and a child from an underserved community. That is indeed the modus operandus of Johns Hopkins and Baltimore Development for decades and current political machines really believe that.
This was my answer-----building each community with public schools, unique recreational venues, unique cultural venues, each with fresh food economies, each with their own economic development venues----brings an inter-community connectivity missing from Baltimore maybe forever. Citizens from one community will come to another for the recreation venue and community competitions in that venue can start. Public schools in one community competing in athletics or sharing after-school program activities coming to another community. Fresh food grown in one community brought to another to sell or share----cultural venues in one community taking their arts to other communities---
THIS IS HOW WE BUILD INTER-CONNECTIVITY IN OUR CITY WITH CITIZENS TALKING AND SHARING WITH CITIZENS IN ALL COMMUNITIES. YES, THEY MAY EVEN SIT AND SHARE A BEER AND TALK PUBLIC POLICY AND CONCERNS.
Now, I understand the passion around Baltimore's professional sports teams and I support that but there has for too long been too much revenue driven at these global sport enterprises while our communities are starved on recreation and our public schools an athletic venue. Private schools are funded and have these venues----public schools do not. It is critical to develop are athletic events locally---we should not need a national non-profit driving our charity races---these kinds of public actions would be discussed and decided in each community at their community development complex for example.
Publicly funded sports arenas add little to local economy, report saysStudy comes as Milwaukee considers financing of BMO Harris Bradley Center
By Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel
April 5, 2013
Examining the benefits, costs of a new arenaMarquette Law School and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, with support from the Law School’s Lubar Fund for Public Policy Research, hosted a conference April 8 at the Law School focusing on three key questions: Should a new sports and entertainment facility be built in Milwaukee? If so, who should pay for it? Should a new arena be part of a larger plan that addresses other community or regional interests?
View the full video from the conference here.
Should taxpayers pay to replace BMO Harris Bradley Center?
Publicly financed sports arenas do not provide a positive economic impact to communities, according to a new report released Friday by the city's Legislative Reference Bureau.
The report was done at the request of Ald. Michael Murphy, who said the community deserved an "open and honest assessment of the fiscal implications" of a publicly financed arena.
The report was released in advance of a conference Monday at the Marquette University Law School that will discuss key questions relating to a new arena in Milwaukee. The conference is co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"Before we go too far down the road of how to pay for such an arena, it warrants analyzing other, similar cases to determine the realistic economic impact the city of Milwaukee could expect as a return on its significant investment," Murphy said in a statement.
The reference bureau report cites studies showing publicly financed sports venues have not paid off economically for the city, county or state governments financing them. The report cites the work of Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College, who has questioned the economic impact of new sports arenas.
"One should not anticipate that a team or a facility by itself will either increase employment or raise per capita income in a metropolitan area," Zimbalist said in 2009.
Zimbalist is scheduled to appear at the MU-Journal Sentinel conference.
The Legislative Reference Bureau report notes that new arena proponents often say construction of a new facility will create jobs; that those who attend sports events generate new spending; that a sports franchise attracts tourists and companies; and that the new spending produces a so-called multiplier effect in terms of additional spending.
But studies by the Cato Institute, Zimbalist and Dennis Coates, another prominent sports economist, have shown that most stadium and arena spending comes from local metropolitan residents.
"Instead of spending their entertainment dollars at local restaurants and nights out dancing, they are spending at the ballpark or the arena," the reference bureau report cites Zimbalist as saying. "Their overall entertainment spending is constant."
This is known as the "substitution effect," in which consumers do not increase their overall spending when a new arena is built, but substitute spending at an arena when they might otherwise go to a movie or show.
Coates' study, released in 2003, reports that "economists have found no evidence of positive economic impact of professional sports teams and facilities on urban economies."
"These results suggest at best (that) professional sports teams and facilities provide non-pecuniary benefits like civic pride and a greater sense of community, along with consumption benefits to those attending games and following the local team in the media; at worst, residents of cities with professional sports teams pay a high cost for the privilege, both in terms of large public subsidies and in terms of lost income and employment," Coates concluded.
Reports the reference bureau: "Sports economists cannot quantify or dispute the claim by public financing advocates that sports facilities are critical for a host city's self-image and prestige."
The Legislative Reference Bureau also cites a Zimbalist study in which he says cities or counties can receive some level of economic benefit in publicly financed stadium and arena deals if the sports franchise agrees to invest in development projects around the stadiums or arenas. But Zimbalist, who has advised professional sports leagues, players' associations and municipalities, also has warned that "professional sports have been historically unreliable when it comes to promises to make such local development investments."
Murphy noted that the report should be used as a tool as talk evolves on whether the community needs or wants a new, multipurpose arena to replace the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
"Given the community's current fiscal challenges to provide basic services like police and fire protection, it's safe to say that publicly financing a new arena would further strain residents' and municipal budgets," Murphy said. "This report raises serious doubts about the type of return Milwaukee could expect on its investment, and I hope it tempers some of the enthusiasm the business community has for public financing of such a project."
No specific financing plan has emerged amid talk of a new arena. Mayor Tom Barrett has said in recent weeks that, while he wants to keep the Milwaukee Bucks in town, a regional solution needs to be found to decide whether a new arena is warranted.
The 29-page Legislative Reference Bureau report reviews the experience of Oklahoma City, which employs a series of 1% sales taxes to finance a sports arena, other civic projects and school system improvements.
The study also looks at the financing into major venues in Wisconsin, including Miller Park, Lambeau Field and the BMO Harris Bradley Center, as well as other arenas and stadiums around the country.
This one issue is exactly about what building public space and communications centers. How many folks watch EXTREME SPORTING EVENTS ON TV? Most people. Most are young and white doing very dangerous things and being called talented and passionate about excellence.
Flash forward to Baltimore and these illegal dirt bike riders. I DO NOT CONDONE THESE FOLKS BEHAVING THE WAY THEY HAVE------I do feel Baltimore could have VERY EASILY created a sporting venue for MOTO-X where these talented youth could legally perform and citizens wanting to be an audience can cheer them on. If we can have race cars soaring through the streets of downtown----WHICH I HATED-----why can we not set a day aside to block streets to allow these young men to perform their dare-deviling on wheels......given they sign clearance of city from damages to themselves and property. I have watched these young men----they act dangerously but I have never seen one crash or harm someone. I may not be aware of all incidences but the point is this-----they are professional at what they are doing and not being recognized as such.
These are the conversations Baltimore needs to have----rebuilding all communities will allow for venues like these and rebuild communication across the city.
The Illegal Dirt Bike Gangs of Baltimore
By Jamie Clifton
July 3, 2012
Photo by Lotfy Nathan
There is something undeniably American about biker gangs, from the quintessential images ingrained in our mind of the 60s-era Hell's Angels made legendary by the writing of Hunter S. Thompson and The Rolling Stone's film Gimme Shelter to DMX's video for the "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" where he had all those dudes in baggie jeans riding through the ghettos of New York on ATVs and suicycles.
It's time to add one more motorist collective to that pantheon of rebels on wheels: Baltimore's Twelve O'Clock Boyz. They're a hundred-strong gang who wheely dirt bikes through a city where police are banned from chasing them, creating an illegal underground sport that the cops are powerless to do anything about.
For the last three years, filmmaker Lotfy Nathan has been documenting the Twelve O'Clock Boyz for a new film called Twelve O'Clock in Baltimore (trailer below), which is now ready for release at the end of this year. I spoke to him about the gang.
VICE: Hey Lotfy. How did you first come across these guys?
Lotfy Nathan: I saw them first in passing, actually. I think a lot of people in Baltimore see them tearing through the city, and most people don't really know what the whole thing's about. It's assumed that they're pushing drugs on dirt bikes—like a pack of dealers, or bandits, or something—which is kind of ridiculous, because these bikes are incredibly loud and attract a lot of attention, which is not what you want if you're selling drugs.
Very true. What made you want to make a film about them?
Well, I didn't know if it would actually be possible to contact them at first. But I asked around and found out where they congregated and they were actually really receptive to being filmed. I hadn't really connected the showing-off element of the bike riding to what they might be like in person before, but it kind of made sense. A lot of the guys are going for a YouTube celebrity status, so they were all about the camera.
I read about the weird situation with the police and the riders. Could you explain that a bit?
Basically, the bikes are illegal to ride in the city, but the police aren't allowed to chase anyone riding them, so they leave them alone. It's because of a death that occurred in 1999, involving a dirt bike rider when, allegedly, a police officer was giving chase. It's just too dangerous to chase the bikes. That then creates this awkward cat and mouse thing, because the police are being taunted.
There's a lot of "come get me" stuff from the riders?
Exactly. Some of the riders take that further than others, but, for the most part, it's just a big congregation. These guys come from all over the city and they flock up in packs of up to 100 bikes.
Do they ride through the whole city, or just their own neighborhoods?
No, through the whole city. It's a chance for kids who would otherwise be stuck in their own neighborhoods to parade through the whole city and declare it as their own. They go up to the harbor, where they're trying to keep things nice and pretty for tourists. They go to East Baltimore, West Baltimore, they go north, they hit the highway—wherever, really.
How do the police deal with them?
Police helicopters, undercover police, and unmarked cars... There are police staking out corners with tasers, ready to take these guys out.
Jesus. Have you seen anyone get in real trouble?
Sure. Occasionally there'll be a clash, whether that be from police, or someone wiping out on a bike, or someone pulling out a gun and trying to steal a bike in a block where they just aren't having it.
I've heard that it's also kind of turned into a sport in its own right. Is that racing? Or, skills, or something?
It's more about skills, yeah. There's this kind of choreography to it, and the reason they're called the Twelve O'Clock Boyz is because the main goal is to achieve this perfect vertical wheelie, and whoever can keep a wheelie up the longest and nicest gets the most respect. It's illegal, but I think it's a lot more innocent than some of their alternatives.
Is there a big culture of doing the bikes up with LEDs and all that kind of stuff?
No, it's more about the rider than the bike. People do little bits to their bikes, but, for the most part, it's a pretty raw thing. You just deflate the back tyre of the bike and you wheelie as long as you can. It's a dance, basically.
Like a mating dance? Are there girls in the gang, too?
I've seen a couple of girls, but they're usually hopping on the back of bikes, rather than riding them. That's a big part of it, though—impressing women.
What does the rest of the city feel about it? Has it turned into a bit of a local treasure?
I would say it's pretty divided, and that really speaks of the divides in Baltimore. Some people think they're intentionally terrorizing people, some just think they're obnoxious and some people think they're sensational.
Is there an end goal to it all? Are they doing any of this in the hope of making a career out of it?
There's one kid who's starting to get some sponsorship and some attention. Kids can start riding with the packs as young as ten. In terms of some official validation, I don't think it exists yet, but it is kind of starting to. This whole thing is starting to be recognized as a kind of underground sport, and there's definitely a fan base, because it exists in a lot of different cities.
Would it ruin it for these guys if it became an official sponsored thing, do you think?
Yeah, I think it would. Inherently, it's about it being illegitimate and illegal, and part of the thrill that I've seen is the chase and the danger. The alternative is riding these bikes on dirt, and there's no real allure to that compared to this.
So, what's the basic story of the film now?
It follows a young boy who's just lost his older brother, and he's gravitating towards the dirt bike riders. He's growing up in a rough area in West Baltimore, and you see him acclimating to the group more and more as the story goes on. I just thought he was a kind of poetic representation of why the group exists. It's kind of like Boy Scouts in the hood, or something like that.
WHEN WE ALLOW CORPORATIONS AND WALL STREET WRITE OUR POLICIES THEY COULD CARE LESS ABOUT PUBLIC ARTS---IT TAKES FROM REVENUE THAT COULD BE MOVED TO THEM AS PROFIT.
Every mayoral forum in Baltimore has artists, musicians, and spoken word performing asking this-----PLEASE STOP CHARGING FOR PERFORMING WHEN OUR ABILITY TO GENERATE REVENUE IS ALREADY TOO LOW.
Baltimore and Maryland use these permitting policies to gain revenue that replaces the fact corporations and the rich pay no taxes and to fuel the revenue needs for corporate subsidy to maximize profits. That is what a corporate Maryland Assembly does----A VERY REPUBLICAN THING TO DO. Baltimore is worse since we have a very, very, very global neo-conservative Johns Hopkins/Wall Street Baltimore Development controlling all public policy through the Baltimore City pols who work for them
You have a failed public policy when a cities artists, musicians, and spoken word citizens have to beg for the ability to fill our streets and public spaces with art. Agreed, not all of what everyone does is talent or creative but we have the ability to distinguish and gently help those people most would find to be nuisance to move on.
The History and Cultural Impact
of Street Performing in America
by Stephen Baird © Stephen Baird 2015
Baltimore, Maryland2002 on
Web site with info on $25 permit at http://www.baltimorearts.org/how-to/how-to-get-a-permit/
Application form from Department of Revenue http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/conservatory/mecc/jvb/performances/BuskerLicenseApp.pdf
New license for performing in Baltimore in summer 2006 with blatant unconstitutional audition requirement. Will the city require all Baltimore newspaper writers to send samples of their writing before people can read the papers in public spaces? Will the city require everyone who wants to speak and run for public office to go through an audition? The First Amendment does not say you have to be good. The public is the judge of expression in public spaces, not the government. Entire art forms from tap-dancing to break dancing, hip-hop to blues, jazz to rock n' roll were created on street corners and it was never considered acceptable when it was first created. Ben Franklin sang the first newspapers on the streets. Sam Adams wrote political parodies that were sung on the streets. Does the Baltimore City Council think Ben and Sam would agree to an audition before they are allowed to express their views? - Stephen Baird
Street Entertainers Program
You must apply for a license from the Board of License for Street Entertainers. The application is available by clicking on the link at the top of this page and from the Baltimore City Miscellaneous Tax and License Unit, 200 N. Holliday Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. A non-refundable $25 fee must accompany the application (check or money order made out to Director of Finance) and must be submitted by July 24, 2006. Auditions are required and will be held this year on July 29, 2006 at Broadway Plaza in Fells Point. Those licensed as street entertainers will be issued a badge which must be worn while performing. The license is good for one calendar year and is renewable. Street Entertainers will also be issued a sign to post next to their "hat" for donations during their performance. For information on any of the events or services provided by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, please call 410-752-8632 . http://www.bop.org/resources/up335.aspx
Can the City of Baltimore ban the reading of newspapers in public spaces because a police officer does not like one of the cartoons or letters to the editor or story? -- Stephen Baird
Juggler and Jokester Jerry Rowan banned from street performing at Baltimore Harborplace Amphitheater with a Maryland ACLU attorney announcing the filing of a Federal Law Suit that will challenge the City of Baltimore and Rouse Company to policy to ban street performances based on unconstitutional restrictions of content.Jerry Rowan sent me and called me with these documents and online references about the banning of his street performances from Baltimore Harborplace by the City of Baltimore and Rouse Company on October 21, 2002 for telling a joke about the DC sniper case. This is not the first time censorship of Baltimore street entertainers has become an issue. Heyn Herman, Baltimore's Street Corner Astronomer, challenged the city of Baltimore and Rouse Company in the 1990s. The ACLU took on Jerry Rowan's case and filed court documents on October 7, 2003. Read my article on malls and the Federal Court Case against Faneuil Hall Marketplace for background information on the larger issues-- The Malling of America: The Selling of America's Public Parks and Streets--The Economic Censorship and Suppression of First Amendment Rights article by Stephen Baird Citizens to End Animal Suffering v Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Inc., 745 F. Supp. 65 (1990) The short outline is:
- 1981-2002 -- Jerry Rowan performs on a regular basis at the Harborplace Amphitheater. He is featured artists and emcee for many events with frequent articles in Baltimore and national publications.
- 1990s -- Heyn Herman, Baltimore's Street Corner Astronomer, successfully challenges and receives a settlement from the City of Baltimore and Rouse Company to allow him to give lectures and use his telescope at the Harborplace which they had banned.
- October 19 and 20, 2002 -- Jerry Rowan performances includes a joke about the DC sniper.
- A year ago, Rowan made a quick joke during the height of the sniper frenzy. "I heard that they've finally come out with a composite of the sniper," he said Oct. 19 and again the next day. "Apparently, he's a white guy that speaks Spanish and looks like he's Arab." from the Washington Post, Wednesday, October 8, 2003; Page B07 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59161-2003Oct7.html
- October 21, 2002 -- Rouse Company sends letter banning his performances and threaten him with arrest after three Baltimore police complain about the joke.
- November 2002 -- Articles appear in Baltimore papers The Sun on Nov 4, by Dan Rodericks and City Paper on Nov 6, by Anna Ditkoff http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=4633 and http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=4730
- December 2002 -- I received calls and emails from the Butterfly Man and Jerry Rowan requesting help. Send letters plus make calls to Maryland ACLU to support Jerry Rowans challenge to the performance ban and his right to perform.
- April 4, 2003 -- Women in Black silent vigils to protest war and violence at Harborplace banned by Baltimore police.
- October 7, 2003 -- ACLU sues the City of Baltimore for banning the silent vigils and adds Jerry Rowans street performance ban to the case. See the articles and editorials in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post.
- Baltimore City Paper: Out on the Street -- By Brian Morton http://citypaper.com/2003-11-19/pf/animal_pf.html
- February 4, 2004 -- Thje City of Baltimore is considering a new street entertainers ordinance with an application fee of $75. See article in Baltimore City Paper http://www.citypaper.com/2004-02-04/mobs.html
- February 5, 2004 -- Received call from Jerry Rowan with an update on the status of his legal case against the City of Baltimore. The joining of Jerry Rowan's case with the Woman in Black war protest case by the ACLU was challenged by the city and the court agreed the cases need to be argued separately. The ACLU and Jerry Rowan are actively seeking a large law firm to support a First Amendment federal court case. Jerry has been unable to perform in Baltimore for over 16 months.
- Baltimore Sun article on June 17, 2004, by Lester J. Davis on proposed new street performance ordinance by Councilwoman Catherine E. Pugh. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.performers17jun17,0,4126689.story
- Received call on October 20, 2005 from Baltimore official. New law that was passed in 2004 charges $20/year for permit plus $75/year for performing in downtown area and $50/year for other sections of the city. They are reconsidering the fee structure. It is my opinion the current fee structure suppresses and curtails artists from sharing their First Amendment expression with fellow citizens.
- "A sense of humor returns to Harborplace" by Dan Rodricks at the Baltimore Sun article June 4, 2006, on Jerry Rowan returns to street performing http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.rodricks04jun04,0,7336708.column?coll=bal-local-columnists
Note: The US District Court in Maryland ruled in favor of street performers in Markowitz v. Mayor and City Council of Ocean City, 1995. The ACLU had brought suit on behalf of a member of the Libertarian Party who wanted to collect signatures on the Boardwalk, along with a puppeteer and a juggler who regularly performed on the Boardwalk.
Ocean City, MD: Mayland ACLU sued city in 1995 -- Markowitz v. Mayor and City Council of Ocean City. U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Garbis called the ordinance "vastly overbroad" and said courts have allowed government to restrict free speech only when necessary to protect the public safety of health. Second case involved caricature artist Adam Pate in 2005. Ocean City officals under pressure of ACLU law suit were forced to allow him to do his art work on the boardwalk. See: ACLU helps artist earn right to paint on the Boardwalk by Stephanie Mojica http://www.oceancity.md/readstory.cfm?PubID=2911 ACLU Maryland press release http://www.aclu-md.org/aPress/Press%202005/070205_Pate.pdf
Below you see the #1 policy to broaden communication between citizens and communities-----BALTIMORE HAS ONE GREAT BIG MEDIA CONSOLIDATION THAT MUST BE REVERSED.
When I describe bring CharmTV to each community I am talking about subsidizing community media outlets both public and private. Not only social media---but radio, TV, print media. We want our emerging technology small businesses to thrive but we also know that internet freedom and access is under attack so we do not move all media growth online----WE BROADEN AND DIVERSIFY OUR REBUILDING OF LOCAL MEDIA.
There should be a long line of community papers and voices from which to choose when we go to a market or newstand. We should have public broadband for the City of Baltimore that allows for all kinds of voice on local TV and radio programming playing 24 hours a day. I want both private and public----we need small business media to grow and compete with the Baltimore Sun monopoly----et al. This would be the media complex located near our public schools which would fit nicely into youth voice.
Fighting Media Consolidation
Comcast-Time Warner Cable MergerDiversity in Media OwnershipFake NewsMoney, Media and ElectionsRupert Murdoch ScandalCovert Consolidation
Who owns the media has a huge impact on the stories that get covered in our communities.
Today absentee corporations own more and more of our media. Focused only on the bottom line, they are cutting journalists, gutting newsrooms and replacing meaningful debate with celebrity gossip and junk news. And many of these corporations are dodging the Federal Communications Commission’s ownership rules to snap up more outlets and create media monopolies in markets throughout the country.
The more independent outlets a community has, the more different viewpoints will be presented on the air. But what happens when there’s no one left to compete? When one company owns everything in your town, it can cut staff and not worry about getting scooped by a competitor. The fewer reporters there are on the streets, the less journalism there is on the news. The fewer DJs there are at your local radio station, the more automated computers and pre-programmed playlists take over.
The FCC is supposed to preserve a competitive media landscape and ensure that broadcasters are good stewards of the public airwaves. The agency sets limits on how much of your local media one company can own. These limits are supposed to encourage stations to compete with one another to provide quality journalism. But powerful media companies have the FCC's ear, and over the years it has become easier for these companies to snatch up more of our local airwaves.
Our ownership chart reveals exactly who owns what. It’s time to change what’s wrong with this picture. We need the FCC to serve communities, not corporations.