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Young Enough

Though your recent article regarding the 8th District race (“Holton Holding On,” Mobtown Beat, Aug. 24) mistakenly labels Dayvon Love as “the youngest candidate for office in the city”—actually Devon Brown, 21 years old in the 12th District is—Love’s age does not in any way take away from his service to this city and his “Love” for his district! Actually, we have recently passed a bill through the City Council that aims to lower the age requirements to run for City Council from its current standard of 21 to that of 18 years of age. If these young folks are old enough to register to vote for some of these idiotic elder legislators, as well as being old enough to go to war and fight for and possibly die for their country, certainly they are old enough to run for office and seek the votes of their fellow city constituents!

Hassan Giordano
Baltimore

The writer is the chairman of the Independent Movement Political Action Committee, which sponsored CB 11-0634 to lower the age requirements.

Editor Lee Gardner responds: You are correct about Mr. Brown’s age, and his status as the youngest candidate. City Paper regrets the error.

He Types Crap

I must add my voice to the comments about Joe MacLeod published in today’s edition (The Mail, Aug. 24). I have never understood why you continue to allow Mr. MacLeod’s puerile, terribly written rants to appear in your paper on a regular basis.  He has nothing to say, and continues to say it repeatedly and at length.  Further, why you continually allow him to insult your readers with his arts reviews (such as the one in question [Editor’s note: a review of Cowboys and Aliens]) is beyond understanding. The lack of seriousness he displays is trivial at best, and an unworthy addition to your otherwise valuable weekly. Truman Capote’s comment about beat poetry applies here: “It’s not writing; it’s typing.”

Please, stop disrespecting your readers.

Herman Meyer
Baltimore

Prix Fix

I’m in total agreement with the letters of both Charlie Cooper and Tom Chalkley that the Rawlings-Blake City Hall’s bet that the Baltimore Grand Prix will be a money maker is wishful thinking (“Race to the Bottom Line,” The Mail, Aug. 24). A much more forward-looking investment would have been to upgrade all our major streets for bicycle traffic. Establishing Baltimore’s reputation as the mid-Atlantic’s most bicycle-friendly place to live would have enticed the  growing, upwardly mobile, bicycling-to-work population that’s out there to put down roots here and become solid, tax-paying citizens for decades to come. Unfortunately, it seems, City Hall has chosen to remain mired in backwardness and poverty.

Herman M. Heyn
Baltimore

A wise man once told me, “A house of illusions is easy to build but drafty to live in.” His words kept running through my mind as I read Edward Ericson Jr.’s “Race Questions” (Feature, Aug. 17) about the upcoming Baltimore Grand Prix race. Despite the millions of dollars spent and to be spent, the inconveniences of the event from muddled traffic weeks before to assaults on the environment to the weekend closure of much of downtown to the unholy alliances of the original and current dreamers of the event’s success, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot there.

On top of this—well chronicled in Ericson’s article incidentally—there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of profit expected from the Grand Prix for a while nor very many sorely needed jobs generated in our city where unemployment officially runs (no, races) at 10 percent. With so many folks out of work in Baltimore, it seems strange to put an event together with a five-year commitment to it that will be irrelevant to those long desperate to find meaningful work with benefits.

It’s high time that we take the same type of time, energy, and resources that were used to set up the Baltimore Grand Prix and devote them to making Baltimore a world-class city where just about everyone works who wants a job. Harborplace, when it opened in 1980, was supposed to be a great opportunity for our citizens to get jobs, zero tolerance was supposed to bring residents back to the city, and now we have the promise of the Grand Prix in Baltimore.

The race has been a few years in the making, finally to be realized sadly enough on Labor Day weekend. It is just too ironic isn’t it? On behalf of Full Employment Baltimore, a coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to demanding good jobs for Baltimoreans by increasing access to jobs already here or in the pipeline and creating more jobs in alternative energy, refurbishing schools, or whatever else we can think up, when we’re not dreaming up glitzy projects, we say enough is enough!

Let me say it: It’s time that the city, state, and federal officials we’ve hired cooperate and create a public-works jobs program. In fact, Full Employment Baltimore demands that when proceeds do come in from Baltimore’s Grand Prix, that those dollars be dedicated to a massive public-works jobs program for the thousands upon thousands of under- and unemployed Baltimoreans.

Ericson concludes his piece by saying, “In all, the Baltimore Grand Prix, while potentially grand, remains an unknown quantity.” Uncertainty also exists for the unemployed multitudes in Baltimore. It’s time for some answers. When are we going to focus government attention on the folks who need jobs? How about right now?

Ralph E. Moore Jr.
Baltimore

Pro-Conaway

I am responding to “No Way, Conaway?” (Mobtown Beat, Aug. 17). As a resident of Baltimore City’s 7th District, I am less concerned with where Councilwoman Belinda Conaway is hanging her hat at the end of her work day. I am more concerned with my district’s council representative’s job performance.

She clearly understands issues and proposals and how they will impact on her district and the city at large. Councilwoman Conaway is a valuable resource to the residents of the 7th District, ensuring they receive quality services and helping them to solve problems. She is responsive to her constituents’ concerns and responds in a timely manner to phone calls, e-mails, and written correspondence. She maintains a constant presence at community association meetings. Ms. Conaway performs her duties and responsibilities with high levels of integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and professionalism.

Her accomplishments are many. She sponsored voter registration training for community residents in partnership with the Baltimore branch of the NAACP. She sponsored a unanimously passed resolution asking the governor and the General Assembly to hold a special session on BGE rate increases. Councilwoman Conaway also sponsored a job fair at Mondawmin Mall with the mall owners that brought city residents together with contractors working on mall renovations and other employers. She helped Remington with traffic safety issues and helped improve safety at the stoplight at 36th Street and Falls Road in Hampden, just to name a few. She works hard to earn the votes of her constituents.

In concluding, let’s judge our council representatives by their accomplishments, work ethic, and concern for their constituents.

Reginald Thomas
Past President, Panway Neighborhood Improvement Association
Baltimore

Dirty Gastards

I find it deeply troubling that City Paper would choose to interview and provide an open forum for someone who has proven himself to manipulate facts and ignore science to adhere to his own pre-determined agenda (“Josh Fox,” Film, Aug. 17).  The false and misleading claims that Josh Fox depicts in Gasland and in interviews across the nation are a disservice to a reasoned and informed dialogue about our energy choices as a country.

The truth about natural gas production is that it can and is developed safely across the country. It is not a matter of choosing environmental protection or economic opportunity—we can have both.  The natural gas community is committed to the safe and responsible development of this domestic natural resource to help create jobs, advance clean air, and promote U.S. energy security.

The film’s signature moment, the flaming-faucet scene, has been widely discredited. The film tries to purport that the flaming tap water is a result of natural gas drilling. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission tested the water from these wells and found “no indications of oil and gas related impacts to the water wells.” Instead, they found that the landowner’s water well had been drilled through multiple naturally occurring pockets of methane on his property.  Most telling of all—these facts were known to the filmmaker when he shot this dramatic, yet misleading, scene.

Fox also erroneously claims that the natural gas industry is not regulated and is exempt from many federal laws. In fact, this could not be further from reality. Natural gas production is regulated by the federal, state, and local government.  This includes the Safe Drinking Water Act, which would unquestionably be in force if ever there was an actual case of groundwater contamination.

In addition, natural gas companies disclose the contents of the chemicals they use through an online registry managed by the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC)—two organizations tasked with protecting local fresh water supplies and conducting oversight of industry operations.

Natural gas is a powerful economic engine that’s responsible for supporting 2.8 million American jobs and contributing nearly $400 billion to the economy—one of the many benefits of natural gas production that the film—and this forum— failed to mention. In Maryland, natural gas reserves are pegged at a lifetime value of up to $49.1 billion, according to a University of Maryland study.

Nor does Gasland detail the environmental benefits that natural gas provides. When used to produce electricity, natural gas produces far less carbon and smog-forming nitrogen oxides, and emits virtually no sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, or mercury. When used for transportation, natural gas is not only more affordable, but 25 percent cleaner than traditional fuels.

I encourage your readers to examine the facts and the many benefits of natural gas development when making important conclusions about U.S. energy policy and our energy future.

Tom Amontree
Executive Vice President, America’s Natural Gas Alliance
Washington, D.C.

March of the Greys

I would like to express my disappointment at the way City Paper handles its business. The Baltimore band Grey March played a show Saturday night [Aug. 20] at Frazier’s on the Avenue in Hampden. This show marked not only the band’s 25th-year reunion but also represented a gathering of people who helped to bring in an important era of music that has been sucked dry by the big music-industry machine and left out to dry in the musical wasteland. These people seem to be unimportant to City Paper. This to me is disturbing, as the paper is supposed to be about all things Baltimore. After many attempts at sending e-mails to Michael Byrne, the music editor of the paper, we failed to get a response from even one e-mail. Some of these e-mails were from people who pay for ad space in your publication, thus putting money in your pocket. This show drew 400 people which I’m sure in some small way supported a local business here in Baltimore. This lack of effort just shows me that City Paper is not really about local artists or the wants or interests of people in this great city. What a shame. Next time I will not waste my time e-mailing someone who could care less about something positive. Grey March will continue to play and support the people who support us without you or Mr. Byrne. The same as it ever was.

Ron Weldon
Baltimore

It’s a shame you declined to cover a 300-plus-person Grey March show at Frazier’s. It was a hugely missed opportunity for advertising revenue and readership! It would be a good idea for your music department to actually take the time to review your archives before writing copy or to at least give the public a full spectrum of what is available to them on a given evening. To be honest I’m surprised that as a group you do not do more than go to the web sites of venues and basically re-post their schedule! CP used to actually work with the music scene in the past.

Theodore Lubonovich II
Baltimore

I am surprised at City Paper’s lack of advance coverage of the biggest show and ’80s scene reunion to hit Baltimore since, well, the ’80s. The Grey March show at Frazier’s on the Avenue on Aug. 20 was a show I just knew would be featured in your paper before the event.

In the ’90s, while I was guitarist for All Mighty Senators and bartending at the Grog and Tankard, Blues Alley Baltimore, the Rev, and Studio Ten, we relied so much on your paper to get the word out and it worked.

Though picks in your paper are presented as if they are completely editorial recommendations based on the writers’ insight and knowledge of the scene, that seems not to be the case these days. It seems that there is preferential treatment for advertisers in City Paper. That’s not what we looked to City Paper for. What happened to that beacon of insight that guided us so well in those early days?

You see, I remember how integral City Paper was in the early ’80s as well. I was playing music and working at the Marble Bar and the Loft as the house sound engineer. So you can kind of say that CP and I have grown up together. In those days you guys were at the forefront of everything we wanted to get out there. You also showed us things we’d have otherwise overlooked. We worked in concert with each other and it worked. The scene thrived.

Does anyone at City Paper remember what helped start the momentum of the Ad-Hoc Fiasco, Pow Wow, and SoWeBo festivals and the Jockey Club parties? You guys did. You were there with us and you had our backs along the way. Today, not so much, and the scene has floundered as a result.

But it’s not like we didn’t see this coming. As I exited the MARC train after a particularly good day, I headed to the Mount Royal Tavern for my celebratory ritual. I ordered a pint and went to retrieve a copy of my favorite paper. As I sat down at the bar I noticed the new smaller profile of the paper and thought that it was nice how it would easily fit into my bag now.  Then I opened it in horror as I realized that the smaller font in the paper I ritualistically enjoyed over a pint had now rendered it completely unreadable in a dimly lit pub—the very place where most of your readers read your paper.

I’ll never forget Easy-E blaring in my earbuds, “Chiggidy Chiggidy Chiggidy Check yo self before you wreck yo self!” as I thought, My god, what the hell are they thinking?

I fear you are blindly driving City Paper into obsolescence.

I hope you have the back of your wrist firmly applied to your forehead when you take your standard “Oh, but sadly, we can only do so much” stance on this EPIC FAIL.

The Grey March show sold out.

Ben Watson
Baltimore

Music Editor Michael Byrne responds: For what it’s worth, City Paper meant no slight or snub, nor is there some vast conspiracy at work against the band Grey March or its fans.

Correction: Antonio Glover’s age was reported inconsistently in last week’s story on the 13th District City Council race (“Feeling Lucky,” Mobtown Beat, Aug. 24). He is 34 years old. City Paper regrets the error.

Editor’s note: With this issue, we say farewell to Don Farley, publisher of City Paper for the past 23 years (he says goodbye himself here). For those of you not familiar with the job descriptions that correspond to the titles on a newspaper’s masthead, that means he’s been the boss of the whole thing, making it run and making it succeed. In doing that job over the past two-plus-decades, he’s not only had an incalculable effect on every aspect of the publication you’re reading right now, but also on the city of Baltimore itself, not to mention the careers and lives of those who have worked at the paper. He leaves City Paper and Baltimore to take a management position at Times-Shamrock Communications, CP’s parent company, in Scranton, Pa. We all wish him the very best of luck.

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