In the Media: Man Charged for April Protest Destruction; Rep. Edwards Challenges Hollen to Debate
A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.
From The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore Man, 21, Charged in Burning of North Avenue Liquor Store During April Rioting
"A 21-year-old Baltimore man has been charged in the burning of a West Baltimore liquor store during the riots of April, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
"Prosecutors said Darius Raymond Stewart was captured on surveillance cameras 'intentionally setting multiple fires' at the Fireside North lounge and liquor store in the 2200 block of W. North Ave.
"Fire investigators later determined those locations were 'areas of origin' for a fire that caused an estimated $350,000 in damage, prosecutors said. They said city cameras also captured Stewart in the area at the time, and he was later identified by multiple confidential informants of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"Stewart was charged with malicious destruction of a commercial building.
"John Chae, one of the owners of the Fireside who was badly injured when the store was attacked, said Thursday that he had "mixed emotions" about the arrest — in part because he still blames Rawlings-Blake and other city officials for allowing the unrest to happen.
"'It isn't so much the perpetrator, it's the city, the mayor that I'm angry with," Chae said. "I am relieved that they did catch him, whoever it was, but what good is it going to do? ... I'm not going to say I'm ecstatic. I'm not going to be jumping up and down for joy, because my livelihood was taken away.'"
From The AFRO American: Civil Rights Breakfast Addresses Racial Disparities in Wealth and Education
"White convicts make more money than Black college graduates. Being college educated boosts median income for Whites by almost $56,000, while Blacks receive a little under $5,000 for their investment, according to Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“'This is not accidental,' said Arnwine. 'This is all a result of racial subordination, and it requires us to think about it.'
"Arnwine’s comments were made at the Baltimore city’s 26th annual civil rights breakfast, where she served as keynote speaker, and touched on a number of alarming racial disparities in income, wealth, education, and homeownership. Arnwine also came armed with a bevy of policy proposals that might address the gaps she highlighted during her talk.
"For example, on the wealth and homeownership front (a home being one of the principal assets making up the wealth of most households), Forbes has reported that Black families have a 45 percent homeownership rate, while White families enjoy a rate of 73 percent.
"Moving forward, Arnwine suggested that legislators in Maryland should work to create more jobs, increase investments in education, and raise the minimum wage well beyond the $10.10 that is slated to take effect in 2018."
From The Washington Post: Donna Edwards Challenges Chris Van Hollen to Six Debates
"Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) is challenging her Democratic primary rival for Maryland’s open Senate seat to six debates, starting with one in Baltimore.
“'We owe it to Marylanders to pursue a level of spirited discourse that raises expectations and challenges each of us to stand before the voters and discuss our differences,” she said in a letter to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
"She wants the debates to start in November in Baltimore and after that spread across the state. She also asked that all debates be live-streamed online, that two be televised and one be broadcast on radio in both the Baltimore and D.C. media markets, and that one be hosted by the black press."
From the Baltimore Sun: Democrats Cry Foul Over Proposed Closing of Early Voting Sites
"Democrats in Montgomery County are crying foul over a Republican plan to close two early-voting sites, calling the proposal an attempt at 'voter suppression' they vow to fight in Annapolis.
"The dust-up in Maryland's most populous county could portend partisan conflict in other jurisdictions because every election board in Maryland now has a GOP majority after Republican Larry Hogan became governor this year.
"The Montgomery fight broke out after the county election board voted 3-2 along party lines last month to close early-voting sites in populous Burtonsville and Bethesda-Chevy Chase and open new ones in the less densely inhabited areas of Brookeville and Potomac. The board chairman says the move was aimed at bringing 'geographic diversity' to the nine county locations where voters can cast ballots before Election Day.
"Democrats say the new sites are in more GOP-friendly communities with fewer minority voters.
"The brewing controversy took a surprising turn Thursday when the election board chairman told a County Council committee that he and two GOP colleagues held a conference call with the chairman of Montgomery's Republican Party Central Committee. Republicans said the call — from which Democrats were excluded — was legal, while Democrats called it a breach of the state open meetings law.
"Montgomery Democrats say they'll fight the plan to close the two voting sites at the State Board of Elections and, if necessary, will take the battle to the legislature."
"Democrats were especially put out over the elimination of the Burtonsville site in the east county. They said it is the second-most-active of the county's early voting sites and the one with the most minority voters. Republicans countered that during the last presidential election it was the least active site and therefore the most logical to close for the 2016 election.
"Following the council meeting, Democratic members held a news conference to denounce the plan to move the two sites. They were joined by Democratic legislators and a variety of groups representing minority voters, including the county NAACP and Casa of Maryland."