In the Media: Activist Sculpture Removed from Wyman Park; Graziano Responds to Critical Energy Audit
A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.
From City Paper: Activist-Artist’s sculpture Removed from in Front of Lee-Jackson Monument
"Around 5 p.m. today [Oct 30], artist Pablo Machioli's sculpture, which he placed in front of the Lee-Jackson Monument last night with about 10 others, was removed, according to activist Owen Silverman Andrews.
"'BPD made it clear they care about protecting art dedicated to white supremacist slave owning war criminals rather than art inspired by Black resistance to oppression,' Silverman Andrews wrote via email. 'Art represents society, so BPD's removal also says a lot about who they serve and protect and who they don’t.'"
From The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore Housing Commissioner Responds to Critical Audit of Energy Program
"Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano, who is facing an outcry over poor conditions in public housing and a lawsuit accusing maintenance men of sexual abuse, is also dealing with a critical audit over his agency's handling of grants meant to help poor families pay their energy bills.
"According to a city audit, his agency approved $6.2 million in questionable payments, including grants to three dozen households that aren't even in the city.
"City Auditor Robert L. McCarty, who reports to Comptroller Joan Pratt, found 'widespread discrepancies' in the handling of energy assistance grants by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Auditors say the city could supply no documentation for one in five of the cases sampled in the audit, and files that were available often had missing or incorrect information. In nearly three dozen cases, the housing agency signed off on paying the same energy bill twice, auditors said.
"Graziano told the Board of Estimates this week he is addressing the auditors' concerns. He blamed the missing files on water damage in a room where the records were stored.
"'The files that were missing, there was a flooding incident at that site,' Graziano said. 'Records were destroyed.'
"Graziano also told the spending panel that the state has no rules against the city awarding grants to county residents."
From The Baltimore Sun: Housing Authority, Women to Enter Settlement Talks
"Settlement talks are set to begin in January between the Housing Authority of Baltimore City and 11 women who allege that maintenance men demanded sex before making repairs, according to electronic court records.
"U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner ordered a settlement conference for Jan. 12 after attorneys representing the women and the housing agency petitioned the court for intervention.
"The women filed suit in late September, claiming that several maintenance men at three public housing complexes sexually harassed and abused them over the course of recent years. They say their constitutional rights were violated.
"The parties jointly requested the judge's assistance in helping to achieve 'justice and the swift resolution of this case.' The mediation would be nonbinding.
"The women's attorneys, Annie B. Hirsch and Cary J. Hansel, said they appreciate the agency's willingness to discuss a 'fair resolution.'
"'We will continue to aggressively pursue our clients' rights until justice is done, whether through an amicable resolution at mediation or a public trial,' Hansel said in a statement."