10/31/07 Free Speech: Waters, Nader, Thomas

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Last month MICA and the Maryland ACLU teamed up to put together a rather unusual celebration for Constitution Day, a holiday that not many people bother to celebrate in the first place.  They put together an event devoted to the First Amendment, and the right of free speech.  Who better to speak on this topic than the trio of John Waters, Ralph Nader, and Helen Thomas?  That’s what someone thought, at least, and they were all brought together for a couple hours.  It turned out great; the auditorium at MICA couldn’t even fit everyone who tried to get in.  So, for those of you that missed it the first time, we’ll be playing it as a two hour special, from noon-2, on The Marc Steiner Show today.  To hear the complete version, because we had to cut a little bit for time and edit a few words here and there, ironically enough, just go to www.wypr.org and download the podcast anytime in the next month.

-Justin

thoughts from Sarbanes after today’s show

Michael Sarbanes was kind enough to sit down in the next studio over with WYPR senior news producer, Mary Rose Madden, right after the Marc Steiner Show today.  Click here for the audio of their conversation, which includes additional ideas from him on the land bank plan, including any loose ends that he felt were left at the end of the show.

-Justin

10/30/07 New City Council Members

Assuming each of these Democrat nominees wins the general election next month, there will be four newly elected City Council members in Baltimore.  Today at 1pm you’ll have a chance to find out more about three of them, and the ideas they will be bringing to the City Council.  Sharon Middleton is already serving on the Council, having been appointed to fill a seat left vacant last January.  She’ll be here along with newbies Bill Cole and Bill Henry.

As for the fourth, Warren Branch, he’ll remain a bit of a mystery to our listeners, but not for lack of an invitation.  You can read an article here in The Sun about the city public works inspector’s primary victory over incumbent Vernon Crider by a mere 51 votes.  If you’re googling him, don’t confuse him with bodybuilder Branch Warren.

-Justin

10/30/07 Land Bank

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 Some interesting stats on vacant houses and property in Baltimore:

  • 13% of the total property in the city is abandoned

  • there are about 30,ooo abandoned buildings and lots in Baltimore

  • the city owns about 1/3 of the abandoned property

  • the city owns about 4,000 abandoned buildings and 6,000 abandoned lots

  • the city owns about 25% of vacant buildings

All of these figures are taken from here, the Housing Authority’s “A Plan to Create The Baltimore City Land Bank.”  Basically, the city is planning to sell many of its vacant properties cheaply as soon as next July.  The city is also planning to acquire more vacant properties, with the intention of selling them, as well.

If you’re wondering if and how you’ll be able to buy a cheap house to fix up, tune in at noon today, when the author of the Land Bank Plan and the head of Baltimore Housing, as well as housing activist Michael Sarbanes, will be here to help us figure out how this is all going to work.

And for a look at a land bank program that has already been implemented in Flint, Michigan, another town full of abandoned properties, take a listen to this story from Morning Edition today.

-Justin

10/29/07 Special Session Begins Today!

A special legislative session begins in Annapolis today, and while that might not be the most exciting news to everyone, it may end up having an impact on your daily life in more ways than one.  The goal of the session is to work toward balancing the state budget, which means finding more revenue than the state is currently taking in.  So, by the time it’s over, we could see things like an increase in different kinds of taxes, whether it be sales tax, personal income tax, or business taxes.  Once again, for the millionth time, bringing slots to Maryland will be considered and debated, with the possibility of a statewide voter referendum.

This hour we’ll be focusing on the business side of the equation.  Are businesses taxed fairly?  What that means depends who you ask, of course, so at noon we’ll be seeking some varied opinions.  Call in or write us here to let us know what you think.

An article in the Wall Street Journal last week about Wal Mart’s agressive strategies to cut their state income tax bills got us talking about some of the ideas we’ll be exploring today.  Wall Street Journal doesn’t have free online archives, but thanks to walmartwatch.com the article is reprinted here in its entirety, along with other related articles.

-Justin

10-29 Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean is our guest today.  She’s the nun whose work with death row inmates was profiled in the Academy Award winning movie Dead Man Walking.  She joined Marc to talk about the death penalty, and why she believes it is not only morally wrong but replete with racial, economic, and geographic disparity as a result of a broken judicial system. 

-Jessica

10/25 The Rothmans: Hollywood Insiders

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Sunday, October 28 at 8:30 pm at the Charles Theater and Tapas Teatro, the Maryland Film Festival will hold its first fundraising event. One of the highlights will be a panel discussion entitled The Rothman’s: An Insider’s Look at the Movie Business. The talk will feature Donald Rothman, founding partner of the law firm Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander, and one of the founding members of CENTERSTAGE. Also taking part are his sons John Rothman an actor.writer and producer and Tom Rothman, Co-Chair of Twentieth Century-Fox Film Entertainment.

In preparation for Sunday’s program, Marc spoke with the Rothmans and Jed Deitz, director of the Maryland Film Festival.

                                                                                                                              –Marcus