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In the Media: Protests Opposing Commissioner Davis; Housing Commissioner Also in Spotlight

Protestors in City Hall on wednesdasy.
Randall Smith
Protestors in City Hall on wednesdasy.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From The Baltimore Sun: Protests Continue Outside Baltimore City Hall After Overnight Sit-In

"Protests continued outside City Hall Thursday morning, just hours after Baltimore police arrested 16 people who occupied City Hall overnight following a City Council committee approved the permanent appointment of interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis on Wednesday.

"Lawrence Grandpre was among about a dozen protesters that returned to the area outside City Hall around 8 a.m. Thursday. Grandpre, with Baltimore United for Change, said he hasn't personally talked to the protesters who were arrested but the group has a legal team that has.

'They all are saying they are doing ok,' he said. But he said supporters are worried about the health of those arrested since many had not eaten in 14 hours.

"He said some supporters tried to deliver food to protesters inside City Hall overnight but they were denied by police. Their treatment "shows callousness and inhumanity," Grandpre said.

"Three minors and 13 others were arrested and were all charged by police with trespassing.

"'The goal is to get our protesters out of jail,' and to make sure they have proper representation, Grandpre said. Secondly, he said, they plan to continue to advance the agenda they introduced last night.

Full Article

From Dayvon Love of Leaders of A Beautiful Struggle: 15 Years a Failure: Why Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano Must Go

"Paul Graziano has been housing commissioner of Baltimore City for 3 administrations, and after nearly 15 years of service, many in Baltimore are now wondering what they have to show for his tenure besides broken promises and dereliction of duty.

"Communities throughout Baltimore have presented two distinct reasons why Mr. Graziano should be fired. First, it is the job of the housing commissioner to develop a strategy to effectively deal with blight and vacant housing, yet Black Baltimore continues to decay. There has been no significant progress made on these fronts even though he has been commissioner for three consecutive mayors, only flourishes of gentrification and displacement spun as “urban renewal”. These failures have real material consequences for people in our communities. A 78 year old woman in Park Heights named Ms.Convington was hospitalized due to the stress of the ineffective communication and administration on the part of the Department of Housing , whose botched relocation plan left her without water and electricity for days.

"Another major incident is the controversy around maintenance workers in the Gilmore Homes public housing complex, where Freddie Gray lived and tragically died, demanding sexual favors in exchange for doing maintenance for residents. While there have not been any convictions or settlements yet, it is my assessment, one shared by many in the community, that Mr. Graziano’s lack of response to the complaints, which were filed for years, shows gross negligence and should cost him his job.  The use of institutional leverage in order to solicit sex is not a new, but what is frustrating is the fact that often Black women have no effective recourse to respond to these advances, left to suffer due to the failure of those in power to respond with appropriate urgency."

Full Article

From The AFRO American: Race, Economics Loom Large at Democrats’ Debate

"The Democratic candidates for president talked about a wide variety of issues in their recent debate but issues of income equality and race relations played a major part of the discussion.

"Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the front-runner in the Democratic presidential contest, was joined at the CNN/Facebook-hosted first Democratic presidential debate by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Sen. Lincoln Chafee on Oct. 13 at the Wynn Las Vegas resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the two-hour long event, the candidates focused on the economy, foreign policy and race relations.

"When asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, Sanders made his views clear. 'Yes, Black lives matter,' the senator said. 'We have to combat institutional racism and reform the criminal justice system.' 

"On Black Lives Matter, O’Malley said that while he was the mayor of Baltimore, he saw that people of color’s lives were undervalued and he worked with Black and Brown leaders in his city to address race problems. Clinton credited President Obama for leading the discussion on racial justice and said that the country’s leaders need to address mass incarceration and improving the lives of all children.

“'If there is one thing that has bipartisan support in the Congress is that we have to address the problems of the criminal justice system,' she said." 

Full Article