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In the Media: Mikulski Secures FBI Headquarters; Activists Respond to Thornton's Letter on Protest

MD senator Barbara Mikulski.
MD senator Barbara Mikulski.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From The Washington Post: Mikulski Secures $390 Million for New FBI Headquarters in D.C. Suburbs

"Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) has secured $390 million for a new FBI headquarters as part of the spending agreement that was just negotiated between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

"The agency is in the first stages of relocating from the aging J. Edgar Hoover Building downtown to a new suburban campus. The search for a new home began three years ago, and three potential sites have been chosen — two in Maryland and one in Virginia.

"Mikulski and her fellow Maryland lawmakers have been pushing vociferously for their state to land the headquarters and the 11,000 workers it would hold. State officials have promised to invest millions in road improvements to bring the FBI to Greenbelt or Landover in Prince George’s County, rather than to Springfield, Va."

Full Article

From The Washington Post: Baltimore Faulted For Dumping Raw Sewage into Jones Falls

"A new report details how Baltimore has deliberately dumped more than 330 million gallons of raw sewage over the past five years into the Jones Falls, which flows to the Inner Harbor.

"Elsewhere in the city’s 1,400-mile network of aged underground pipes, the report by the Environmental Integrity Project notes, there have been more than 400 complaints of sewage backing up into homes.

"The intentional overflows — releasing 15 times as much sewage as the city has reported spilling from pipe breaks and blockages — are coming from two openings in the sewer system that the city was supposed to close years ago, according to the Washington-based environmental group. The releases are intended to avoid sewage backups into homes from the city’s leaky, overloaded sewer system.

"The report, based on public information requests, comes as the city is nearing a deadline for fixing the system that it will not meet."

Full Article

From Baltimore City Paper: Student Activists Respond to CEO Thornton’s Letter on Protesting

"Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Gregory Thornton released a letter to parents and community that, among other things, warned, 'we need to make it clear that student walkouts, vandalism, civil disorder, and any form of violence are not acceptable under any circumstances and that students who participate in such behaviors will face consequences.' 

"Among the responses: a defense of students' First Amendment rights from the Maryland chapter of the ACLU and a motion from Officer William Porter's defense attorneys for Judge Barry Williams to rule for a mistrial and change of venue (those motions were denied).

"Last night, student activists from the group City Bloc—the same group that helped organize a sit-in at City Hall during the confirmation hearing for Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis—released their own letter, telling classmates they "feel that Thornton's stance will inevitably stifle student's political agency and freedom of speech. By equating student walkouts with 'vandalism, civil disorder, and [other] forms of violence,' the BCPSS has characterized students' voices as inherently violent and destructive to the city that we all are tasked with protecting."

"It goes on to say: 'Therefore, this letter released by BCPSS today not only proves why the issues that have been previously brought to light by student organizing efforts in regards to Dr. Thornton and the mayor were significant, but is also belittles students’ capacity to effectively make change in our community. This letter offensively and dangerously conflates the productive and affirming acts of students with criminal acts that not at all contributed to the advancement of our city. These are the same thoughts that allowed our mayor to call us, Baltimore’s youth, thugs, for fighting for the city she should have protected long ago. We will no longer tolerate this constant criminalization of our voices.'"

Full Article and Thornton's Letter at City Paper