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In the Media: Mayoral Candidates Agree, Graziano Must Go; Lawsuit Payout Reform in MD

Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano.
Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore Mayoral Candidates: Graziano Must Go

"The leading candidates to become Baltimore's next mayor don't always agree on things, but they do about this: City housing chief Paul Graziano has got to go.

"Former mayor Sheila Dixon thinks the current mayor should fire him. Councilman Nick J. Mosby spent Tuesday morning at East Baltimore's Latrobe Homes calling for Graziano's resignation.

"State Sen. Catherine Pugh and businessman David L. Warnock say that if elected, they will replace Graziano. And City Councilman Carl Stokes — who is planning investigative hearings into public-housing conditions — says the agency needs 'new leadership at the top.'"

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From The Washington Post: Maryland Needs Better Safeguards for Lawsuit Payouts

"Companies that buy the settlement rights to lawsuits argue that Maryland’s proposal of new rules to govern these transactions will lead to prolonged court proceedings that could delay, or even derail, the sales. Let us hope so. The slapdash way Maryland courts have approved these questionable arrangements has allowed vulnerable people to be exploited. The need for new safeguards for an industry that has profited from the poor and the disabled is clear.

"The rules committee of the Maryland Court of Appeals has recommended changes in the review and approval of structured settlement buyouts, in which people with court-awarded settlements paid out monthly receive lump-sum payments from companies that, in exchange, gain rights to the proceeds. The impetus for reform followed a report in August by The Post detailing how lead paint victims in Baltimore were preyed upon by companies that paid them a tiny fraction of the value of their settlements: One case saw a seller getting 9 cents on the dollar. Robbed of their futures because of their childhood exposure to lead, victims were then robbed of the money that was supposed to sustain them through the years."

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From City Paper: Differing Strategies: Experts and Activists Weigh in on Confederate Monuments in Baltimore

"Two different approaches to continuing the conversation on Confederate monuments in Baltimore played out on Thursday, with the second meeting of the Commission to Review Baltimore's Public Confederate Monuments in the morning, and that night, an action by artist-activists who placed an anti-racist sculpture in front of the Lee-Jackson monument in Wyman Park Dell.

"The second meeting of the Commission to Review Baltimore's Public Confederate Monuments at City Hall which began at 9 a.m included expert testimony from Eli Pousson, the director of preservation and outreach at local nonprofit preservation organization Baltimore Heritage Inc., and noted sociologist and author James Loewen.

"Pousson provided exhaustive evidence linking the Confederate memorials throughout the city to the long-running narrative of racist, revisionist history which is the hallmark of the "Lost Cause" and neo-Confederate movements.

"While Pousson reiterated that his testimony wasn't meant to be 'representing any specific recommendations regarding the disposition of these monuments,' Loewen took a more aggressive stance. Loewen, who also testified before a similar committee regarding the Confederate monument outside the Rockville Courthouse in Montgomery County, praised Pousson's detailed historical contextualization of the monuments before going on to recommend removal of all monuments, even going so far as to propose removing the memorial to Civil War era dissident Severn Teackle Wallis while the commission was at it."

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From The AFRO American: Ann Todd Jealous Addresses Alma Mater, Western High School

"In 1955, Ann Todd Jealous was met by jeers and slurs from White picketers as she and nine other African-American students integrated Western High School in East Baltimore. On Oct. 31, six decades later, she was greeted by cheers and applause by the 1,000-plus girls whom she was invited to address.

"That wasn’t the only change 60 years had wrought, Jealous said. 'The school is very different—different location, different buildings, different racial population—so it did not feel as if I was at my alma mater.'

"The Western the 75-year-old remembers was a crucible where she—then a coddled, much-loved and protected teenager—would be tried. 

“'I had never been tested before,' she told the AFRO. 

"Yet, when the NAACP approached her to be one of the handful of Black students to desegregate Western—whicheven then had the reputation of being one of the best schools in the country—Jealous accepted the challenge. 

“'Maryland was very resistant to desegregating its schools,' Jealous recalled, saying detractors picketed and otherwise protested to stop Black students from joining, and one school official even said Western would be desegregated over her dead body. 

“'What pushed me was: One, I really believed everyone should have the right to do whatever was right for them; two, somebody has to be the first so why not me; [and] three, Western had a very good reputation as the best academic school in the city and I wanted that,' said Jealous."

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