Week in Review: Davis is out, Mo’Nique protests pay, Frosh fights for net neutrality, more

New BPD Commisioner Darryl DeSousa / Photo by Lisa Snowden-McCray

-Baltimore native, comedian, and Oscar winner Mo’Nique issued a call via Instagram last week for her fans to boycott Netflix because the streaming content company offered her $500,000 to do a comedy special versus the $11 million they’ve paid Amy Schumer and $20 million she says they’ve paid Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle. People, it seems, are mostly laughing off her request, but Mo’Nique has a point. She’s a fucking Oscar winner, after all. Mo’Nique accused them of colorism and gender bias and it’s worth noting: Another black comedian, Wanda Sykes, says Netflix also tried to lowball her but she instead opted to work with another company.

-Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, along with 21 other AGs from around the country, are fighting back after the FCC’s recent net neutrality repeal, filing a lawsuit to block the move. Opponents of the repeal say it favors big business and makes the web less accessible for regular citizens by allowing companies like AT&T and Comcast to manipulate download speeds and favor some sites over others. “The repeal of net neutrality would have dire consequences for consumers and businesses in Maryland and across the country that rely on a free and open internet,” Frosh said via a statement.

-Amazon released the list of cities in the running to be the site of their HQ2 headquarters, and Baltimore didn’t make the cut. That’s a good or bad thing, depending on who you ask. Mayor Catherine Pugh released a statement shortly after the announcement, saying that she was disappointed but that she’s not letting this stop her from pursuing a “strong growth agenda for Baltimore,” which means trying to lure other big businesses, like Apple, to the city. We just want to know: Is she ever going to tell us what she promised Amazon in the first place?

-We all got a shock last Friday morning when we learned that Mayor Pugh had axed now-former Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, and named 30-year veteran Darryl DeSousa as commissioner-designate. Pugh said that she made the move because she was “impatient.” Our beef: There were over 300 murders in this city last year. What made the mayor run out of patience now? Also, how is a 30-year veteran going to bring change to a department that desperately needs it?

-City officials announced last week that they’d be forcing the people experiencing homelessness out of the makeshift encampment set up under Interstate 83. They said the move is driven by safety concerns, including the recent cold weather and the use of open flames. The city will provide up to 40 beds for anyone who wants them. However, according to advocates who spoke to The Baltimore Sun, the move is potentially traumatizing for many of the people who live there, noting that some places meant to be havens for people instead offer a whole host of other problems. Similar concerns were voiced during Mayor Pugh’s interaction with the protesters who set up tents on the lawn in front of City Hall this summer. There’s still much to be done to solve the city’s problem with homelessness.

-Thousands turned out in Baltimore last Saturday to mark the one year anniversary of the Women’s March. There were lots of signs and some dancing and words from Mayor Catherine Pugh, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, and City Health Commissioner Leana Wen, among others. Ava Pipitone, executive director of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance noted that even among members of the #resistance, there is still much work to be done—noting that we “not anchor our womenhood to the genitals of cis women,” and adding, “we need to upgrade our language from reaction to collective action.”

-The primaries are in June and candidates were required to file their latest fundraising stats last week. We learned that Republican Governor Larry Hogan has the most cash on hand—more than $9 million—and that he’s received donations from the Koch brothers. Among the Democrats, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has received $2 million, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker has $1.05 million, and Ben Jealous has received $1.5 million in donations.

-Between Jan. 15 (when the previous issue of the Beat went to press) and Jan. 22 (when this issue of the Beat went to press) there were two homicides in Baltimore: A not yet identified man on Jan. 20 and Darone Johnson on Jan. 21. On Jan. 21, the Baltimore Police also mentioned “26 year-old Marco Byrd, murdered on January 19, 2018 in the 600 block of Duncan Street,” though this has not been determined to be a homicide. There have been 13 homicides in Baltimore this year.

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