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In the Media: Rawlings-Blake Opposes Bill to End 'Strong Mayor' Govt; City Bloc's Formation Week

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Roberto Alejandro
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From the Baltimore Sun: Rawlings-Blake calls bill to end Baltimore’s ‘strong mayor’ form of government ill-advised

"Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake expressed concerned Wednesday about legislation that would effectively end Baltimore's 'strong mayor' form of government, calling the bill 'ill-advised.'

"Rawlings-Blake — who would leave office in December before the proposed charter amendment could be fully implemented — said she would veto the bill if it makes it to her desk.

'I don't think it will enhance the ability for the city to conduct business at all,' she said at a news conference. 'I don't think it is a wise decision.'

"The bill would strip the next mayor of control of the city's Board of Estimates by giving the council president and city comptroller nearly equal power to approve or reject significant spending on the budget, salaries and contracts.

"The mayor controls the decisions made by the five-member spending panel through her vote and those of her two appointees on the board, the city solicitor and the director of public works. The council president and comptroller also are members.

"The legislation would remove the solicitor and public works directors from the board, leaving just the mayor, comptroller and council president.

"A City Council committee unanimously approved the bill Tuesday, sending it to the full council for consideration. City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young pushed for the committee to send the bill to the full council."

Full Article

From City Paper: I Slay: City College students assert their authority during Formation Week

“'So, City Bloc, is just lit,' 17-year-old Makayla Gilliam-Price says, standing not far from Baltimore City College High School.

"Lit, as it happens, is a word I’m in love with. Lit, to me, is goodness. Lit is brilliant. What is lit is what is illuminated, glowing, powerful.

"Gilliam-Price, a member of the Baltimore City College student-run political group City Bloc, is describing Formation Week and why City Bloc, conceived of it. Inspired by Beyoncé's spirited anthem ‘Formation,’ Formation Week is like Spirit Week—but more lit. Instead of dressing up in pajamas or like victims of terrible ‘80s fashion to show and prove 'school spirit' – City Bloc kids and other students at Baltimore City College did things that reinforced their blackness.

"The week started with Mindwrap Monday – a day where students (male or female) were encouraged to wear head wraps.

"'In the beginning of the year, we were told that we were no longer allowed to wrap our hair up in scarves,' reads a sheet written and distributed by City Bloc members. 'Hair wrapping has been an important part of our culture for centuries. This forced assimilation ignores the rich culture and history of black hair.'

"The next day was Traditional Tuesday – where students were asked to wear either traditional African clothing or any articles of clothing that express their blackness.

"Wednesday was Women Work Wednesday where students were asked to take some class time to discuss a woman who played an important role in history. Thoughtful Thursday was a time to start conversations about issues that minorities face and Formation Friday was a day that students were asked to be 'unapologetically themselves and unhindered by social pressures.'"

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From the Baltimore Sun: When vacant house fell in West Baltimore, a retiree was crushed in his prized Cadillac

"The retired truck driver cherished his aged Cadillac, cream-colored with red interior, usually sporting a coat of polish. He would just sit in it and listen to Otis Redding on the stereo.

"On Monday, Thomas Lemmon, 69, was crushed when a vacant rowhouse collapsed onto the car near his home in the 900 block of N. Payson St. in West Baltimore. Lemmon died at the hospital, firefighters said Tuesday.

"'Every day, he would come out and sit in that car,' said his cousin Robert English.

"Lemmon inherited the Cadillac from an uncle years ago, English said.

"Sometimes, Lemmon would offer rides to people, no charge. He drove the neighbors: Cassandra Ervin to the store, Rashaad Whitfield to his job in Mount Vernon, Whitfield's mother to her work as a nursing assistant — a chance to show someone else his prized wheels.

"On Monday, Lemmon was sitting in the car about 4:30 p.m. when the house collapsed. Down the block, English heard the crash and a neighbor shout, 'The car blew up!'

"Lia Brown, who lives next door to the vacant house with her children, was leaving for dinner at Golden Corral. As her son opened the door, they heard people screaming and hollering. 'The house was shaking,' she said."

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