Guest post – Baltimore sucks, too

I do a lot of complaining here about the DC government. Turns out Baltimore has its share of problems, too. Here for your reading pleasure is a guest post from Gary at Vinotrip. Baltimore has a lot of problems. What big city doesn’t? I’ve lived in or around the city for most of my life and, as most Baltimoreans do, I give the city a pass on the problems that it faces. Sure, some things are nuts and don’t make sense, but it’s a good town. Two weeks ago, City Councilman Edward L. Reisinger (who represents me and my district) sponsored a bill to raise off-leash fines for dog owners from $100 to $1000. To little fanfare, the bill passed. Along with the good men and women of the Baltimore Police Department, Animal Control swept down on Riverside Park and started handing out $1000 fines. Needless to say, everyone is bitter. Smart move, Ed. Pass a ten-fold increase in fines targeted at dog owners in your district, then hold a neighborhood meeting about it. I get that dogs have pretty much taken over Riverside Park and if you are afraid of dogs, God help you because you’re going to fear for your life in this neighborhood. There is a leash law in the park, and that leash law should be enforced along with the law about picking up after your dog. Got all that. But the problem is sending several police officers and Animal Control officials to the park for days at a time. In Baltimore City where we probably have more important things to do besides extort taxpayers in a park. Well, city officials, your free pass is over. My self imposed gag-order on bitching about Baltimore has been lifted. Early last week, on Tuesday April 28th, a water main ruptured underneath a major downtown street. Water poured out, shut down streets during morning rush hour, closed businesses, and pretty much ruined the day for lots of people. They still haven’t gotten it fixed. Finally today, an entire week after the main broke, the city got up a sign on the major freeway heading into downtown regarding the major crosstown street shut down. For a full week, people rolling into the city found out the hard way that Lombard Street was still closed. The city can’t fix it. The city can’t put up a sign about it. The city can only bitch and moan and pander for Federal stimulus dollars. The best part is the quote from Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon at a press conference

“This is an example of what happens when you having a very aging infrastructure system,” Dixon told reporters.

You. Are. The. MAYOR. Don’t tell me we have a problem. I know we have a problem. GO FIX THE PROBLEM. Were I Dixon’s speechwriter, her news bite would have sounded something more like

“This is an example of what happens when you having a very aging infrastructure system,” Dixon told reporters. “But things aren’t all bad. We have a per capita murder rate so bad that if we had New York City’s population, there would be over 4,000 murders per year. Property taxes are 2.2% but we still can’t get water mains to stop exploding underneath downtown. We couldn’t even describe what a fully funded school looks like. Half the homes in low-income neighborhoods are boarded up and vacant. We send out Traffic Officials to stand under the traffic lights and direct traffic like we’re in North Korea. As your mayor, I’m riding around in a hybrid taxi trying to smile while being indicted for fraud But don’t worry everyone, we have that Riverside Park dog problem handled. I am on top of the dog issue. I’m sending more units down there as we speak.

It’s enough to make you cry. For all the problems going on, we get $1000 tickets dished out for having a dog off-leash. Maybe they can put that money toward fencing off a dog park, or the schools, or more police, or the water mains, or the traffic light timing…

Guest blogger Gayles bathroom experience

Gayle originally left this as a comment on this post, but I have to share it on the main page.

this guy intrigues me. first, he obviously has a hair dryer at work…but no towel? i would think most guys would have a towel before a hair dryer. of course, i’m a girl and i just blow dryed my hair for the first time in several years the other week (it’s long hair, too).

second, he was drying his body with the dryer? as opposed to his hair or shirt?? i think it’s safe to say that’s a little strange, even in the privacy of your own bathroom.

third, this post prompts me to share a related work bathroom etiquette complaint:

i work in a building with 2 women’s restrooms and maybe 6 women total. each bathroom is a single locking room (no multiple stalls, so one person at a time, technically). one of the women i work with is just coming off maternity leave and has to pump her breast milk every few hours. this takes up about half an hour of single bathroom time. i am completely on board and understanding of that.

the thing that bothers me is, another one of the women in my lab will come in, go into the only other bathroom (while the first is unavailable), and put on make up and do her hair…with a curling iron! this seems a little less pertinent to me than pumping breast milk, especially when i have to use the bathroom for more legitimate reasons. and to add insult to injury, this woman generally doesn’t look any different after all of her primping.

as a result of this whole scenario, i can say i’ve: a. been inconvenienced on more than one occasion, and b. been inside (and used) the men’s room at my work.