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Baltimore News Updates from Independent & Regional Media 7/23

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This week’s news includes: Baltimore mandates the mask, Governor Hogan in the hot seat, school safety insecurity, and more reporting from Baltimore Brew, Politico, Maryland Matters, and others.

 

 

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How Larry Hogan Kept Blacks in Baltimore Segregated and Poor
by Sheryll Cashin
Published July 18 in Politico

Excerpt: In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, the term “structural racism” has moved from the academic world into the public conversation — a shorthand way to talk about why Black Americans can do everything right and still find themselves with less income and wealth than white Americans of similar education, consigned to live in poorer neighborhoods, with fewer opportunities, more repressive policing and worse life outcomes.

If the idea still sounds abstract to policymakers in Washington, they don’t have to look far to observe its realities. They can just drive an hour north, to Baltimore — and see what is not there.

Sorely missing is a long-planned east-west transit route that would connect isolated Black Baltimore neighborhoods to downtown and suburban job centers and to other rail lines. In 2014, the Obama administration offered Maryland a selective “New Starts” grant of $900 million to finally build what was called the Red Line — a project that would not only have connected thousands of Black Marylanders to better jobs but would also create a comprehensive transit system that might restart the Baltimore region’s economy and improve race relations by building literal connections between communities.

Today, there’s no construction of rail in Baltimore. The $900 million has been returned to the federal government. The state of Maryland redirected $736 million of state funds originally set aside for the Red Line to building roads instead — in predominantly white areas. And the U.S. Department of Transportation, which was supposed to investigate whether that decision was illegal and discriminatory, quietly closed the case without making any public findings.

See also:
Report: Hogan Killed Mass Transit Despite Discriminatory Impact
by Jaisal Noor
Published July 21 in Real News Network

 

 

‘This Is Voter Suppression,’ Protesters Say of Hogan’s Plans for the Fall
by Bennett Leckrone
Published July 22 in Maryland Matters

Excerpt: The Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. has taken special care of his nearly 80-year-old mother since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, buying her groceries and teaching her how to attend virtual medical appointments.

But Yearwood, president of the voter mobilization group Hip Hop Caucus, knows there’s one thing he can’t do for his mother: cast a ballot. The longtime voting rights advocate worries that his mother will have to risk her life at the polls this fall as a result of Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s plan to hold a more traditional November election.

“I want to keep my momma alive,” Yearwood said at a rally outside of Government House, the governor’s mansion in Annapolis, Wednesday afternoon. “If we are forcing our senior citizens to put their lives on the line to vote, then we have failed.”

 

 

Shoppers leave a grocery store in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, April 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Mayor Young Orders Baltimoreans To Wear Masks While Outside Of Their Homes, Suspends Indoor Dining
by Emily Sullivan
Published July 22 in WYPR

Excerpt: Baltimore Mayor Jack Young issued executive orders Wednesday that suspend indoor dining services and require residents to wear masks whenever they leave their homes and cannot engage in social distancing. They take effect at 5 p.m. Friday.

Since Baltimore entered its phase 2 of reopening just over a month ago, the city has seen a near-double increase in new coronavirus cases, a dramatic rise of cases in people under the age of 40 and a disproportionately high positivity rate in southeast neighborhoods like Canton and Patterson Park.

“I have always stressed that my administration would continuously monitor the data related to COVID-19, and that I would not hesitate to tighten restrictions if the data indicated we should,” Young, a Democrat, said during a news conference.

See also:
Indoor dining suspended in Baltimore as leaders push Hogan to do likewise statewide
by Fern Shen
Published July 22 in Baltimore Brew

 

 

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby argues with commenters on Facebook about coverage of her travels. (wnd.com)

Marilyn Mosby answers few questions about her travel company
by Mark Reutter
Published July 22 in Baltimore Brew

Excerpt: Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby has taken to social media to defend her out-of-town trips, calling coverage of them unfair, while declining to answer many questions about the travel company she incorporated last year.

Mosby offered remarks on Facebook over the weekend in response to last Thursday’s Brew story and Fox45 follow-up about her travels and formation of several businesses to provide consulting and “travel hospitality” services.

One of her Facebook comments reads in part, “I have NOTHING to hide. I answered EVERY question which is why they’re reporting on the data ‘I’ provided.” Another says, “Please don’t be dooped by media with an agenda.” (She later noted the correct spelling is “duped.”)

“I will continue to fight for you even if you don’t recognize that’s I’m doing [sic]. I’ll be the sacrificial lamb in a city that has lacked stability for the past five year,” she says in another message.

See also:
The Peripatetic Prosecutor: Marilyn Mosby took 23 trips in 2018 and 2019, accepting $30,000 in reimbursements
by Mark Reutter and Ian Round
Published July 16 in Baltimore Brew

 

 

Hogan says students should return to schools ‘as soon as possible’ but not before it is safe
by Marcus Dieterle
Published July 22 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday said local governments should be working to get children back to in-person learning “as soon as possible,” but he stressed that a return to school buildings should not come at the expense of students and staff’s health.

“I know that people are anxious to get these final decisions, but it’s absolutely critical that rather than rushing, that we get this right for our communities, our teachers, and especially for each and every one of our children here in Maryland,” he said.

With the upcoming school year a little more than a month away, some jurisdictions, such as Baltimore City and Baltimore County, have said they will begin this fall online.

See also:
Baltimore city schools is providing Wi-Fi hotspots to students this summer
by Dante Kirby
Published July 17 in Technical.ly Baltimore

 

 

Illustration Emilee Beeson

How Creative Alliance is Keeping Art Alive Through COVID-19
by Lydia Woolever
Published July 20 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: On March 16, the Creative Alliance marquee signaled changes afoot for the Baltimore arts community. Instead of its usual lineup of jazz concerts, burlesque acts, comedy nights, and film festivals, the square black letters simply read: “Wash your hands! Support local artists! Fly a kite!”

Like other arts spaces across the city and state, the Highlandtown institution, known for its eclectic, diverse events and exhibits over the last 25 years, had closed its doors due to the arrival of coronavirus. “What used to be this vibrant place was suddenly so quiet,” says communications director Heather Keating.

What’s a venue to do when it can no longer host crowds inside its gallery or theater? Almost immediately, they had their answer: Move outside—and online—but it didn’t come without soul-searching.

 

 

Photo by Leonard Robinson

As Hampden’s ‘The Avenue’ slowly reopens, merchants fear a second wave
by Leonard Robinson
Published July 20 in the Baltimore Business Journal

Excerpt: “The Avenue” — that stretch of eclectic shops and restaurants in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood — is back in business. But as Covid-19 cases continue to surge, the question remains, for how long?

A walk around the once-busy shopping district found owners struggling to adapt to a new normal of masks, social distancing and a few store closures. A possible second wave of the virus is only adding to their stress.

See also:
Hampden home goods store Trohv is closing
by Marcus Dieterle
Published July 21 in Baltimore Fishbowl

 

 

Johns Hopkins’ map won’t be affected as COVID-19 data shifts from CDC
by Stephen Babcock
Published July 16 in Technical.ly Baltimore

Excerpt: With tracking of COVID-19 trends essential to efforts to prevent the spread and reopen, data that’s reported by hospitals has been a key focus in the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the path that data travels came under scrutiny, as The New York Times reported that the Trump administration ordered hospitals to sidestep the Centers for Disease Control and instead send information on hospital beds and intensive care unit capacity to a database run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC and has politically appointed leadership. By Thursday morning, the data was already gone from the CDC’s source, Ryan Panchadsaram of data tracking site Covid Exit Strategy told CNBC.

This marked a change to how things were being done in the pandemic to date, as well as historically. The administration said the CDC system was inadequate and the shift designed to streamline the data gathering process. But it has brought scrutiny about whether transparency will suffer.

“Historically, CDC has been the place where public health data has been sent, and this raises questions about not just access for researchers but access for reporters, access for the public to try to better understand what is happening with the outbreak,” Jen Kates, the director of global health and HIV policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Times.

 

 

President Trump during an Oval Office address earlier this year. Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Trump Threatens Baltimore; Raskin Says ‘States Appear Defenseless’
by Bruce DePuyt
Published July 21 in Maryland Matters

Excerpt: Amid bipartisan criticism of his administration’s use of “secret police” and “paramilitary occupations” against Black Lives Matter protesters, President Trump pledged on Monday to send armed federal personnel into “Democrat cities” — including Baltimore.

Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation spent the day working to thwart the controversial use of unidentifiable federal police, which began in Portland, Ore., last week, drawing a swift rebuke from Oregon leaders and others.

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) co-sponsored legislation to curtail the use of unidentified federal officers and vehicles. And Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives — led by Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) — urged Attorney General William Barr on Monday to stop “secret police” tactics that they said violate the Constitution.

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), the outgoing head of the National Governors Association, has yet to address Trump’s announcement.

See also:
Hogan Calls Trump’s Proposal To Send Federal Law Enforcement To Baltimore ‘Very Unusual’
Published July 22 in WJZ13/CBS Baltimore

 

 

Trans man sues Baltimore Catholic hospital for denying surgery
by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Published July 22 in The Washington Blade

Excerpt: The American Civil Liberties Union on July 16 filed a lawsuit against the University of Maryland Medical System and its Towson, Md., based University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center for the Catholic hospital’s refusal to perform surgery on a transgender man.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of Jesse Hammons, a 33-year-old transgender man who lives in Baltimore.
The lawsuit charges the hospital violated Hammons’ First and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights and violated the U.S. Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination provision when it cancelled a hysterectomy that Hammons’ surgeon was scheduled to perform on Jan. 6 at the hospital.

A hospital official told the surgeon it cancelled the hysterectomy, which the American Medical Association considers a necessary standard of care for transgender men, on grounds that it was prohibited by “Catholic health care values.”

 

 

Header image: still from Governor Larry Hogan's appearance on the view, pictured with Sunny Hostin

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