The Baltimore Youth March. Photo courtesy The Real News Network.

-A unanimous vote from Baltimore City Councilmembers last week means the city is a little closer to getting the $12 million youth fund up and running. The goal of the youth fund is to make sure that smaller groups that work with youth in the city get access to money that will help them do their work more effectively. It still needs a vote from the Board of Estimates. Also, officials still need to figure out who will decide how the money is allocated. It has the potential to be a step in the right direction, especially as some city and state officials stubbornly cling to over-policing as a way to fix Baltimore’s problems.

-Governor Larry Hogan called for U.S. Marshals, state troopers, and more probation and parole officers to fix the city’s recent increase in crime. “I have absolutely no tolerance whatsoever for these repeat violent offenders and these criminal gangs causing lawlessness in our streets,” he said last Tuesday. He didn’t mention any plans to boost the city’s school, transportation, or jobs problems, though, and used the occasion to dismiss Mayor Catherine Pugh’s focus on city youth: “I didn’t consider that to be an immediate violent crime plan or strategy, and I still don’t.” He didn’t mention any plans to fix the city’s scandal-embroiled police force, either. Weird.

-Due to Alec MacGillis’ ProPublica piece “The Beleaguered Tenants of ‘Kushnerville” published in the New York Times, Jared Kushner’s properties in the Baltimore area are being investigated and some of its tenants are suing. But Kushner Companies, formerly run by the presidential son-in-law, doesn’t think the media needs to know the identities of its investors. A subsidiary of the company, Westminster Management, is being sued by tenants who accuse them of charging excessive and illegal rent. A document listing the names of those investors is part of court filings and the AP, along with The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and WMAR-TV, filed a motion in federal court last Friday, looking to see those names. Kushner Companies, by the way, denies any wrongdoing in the tenant suit. Why so secretive, then?

-The Baltimore Sun reports that earlier this month Leo Joseph Green and James Green were awarded $147,100 by the city tied to a lawsuit involving false arrest, battery, and the violation of constitutional rights. The officers named in the suit are Officers Nicholas Chapman, Daraine Harris, Brian Loiero, Marcus Smothers, and Nathan Ulmer, and it alleges that the Greens were stopped without cause and searched, and that James Green was tased. One of the officers involved in this suit, Nicholas Chapman, should sound familiar to those following police brutality cases in Baltimore closely. Chapman was also involved in the 2013 in-custody death of Tyrone West (whose family was given $1 million earlier this year) and the alleged beating of Abdul Salaam (who was given $70,000 earlier this year). In total, the city has paid out $1.2 million over the past two years in cases connected to Chapman.

-The Roland Park Civic League has asked residents to take down signs posted in support of immigrants and the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s a bad look for the area since, as pointed out in a piece written about the flap by The Baltimore Sun’s Luke Broadwater, the area once “championed racially restrictive covenants a century ago.” In that same piece, City Solicitor Andre Davis pokes holes in the group’s assertion that the signs violate Baltimore City zoning code, saying those rules don’t apply to small signs in residential areas. To their credit, the people who have those signs posted refused to take them down. We ask you, Roland Park Civic League: What is more unsightly? Signs making black and brown people feel safe, or appearing to prefer staying holed up in your silo over acknowledging the problems of others?

-We got just enough snow Saturday to make the city look pretty and wintery, but not enough to make the roads slushy, impassable, and gross. We got nearly three inches—a not-bad first snowfall of the season. We’re not going to say that this winter miracle was the result of our first ever holiday guide hitting the streets, but it’s certainly an interesting coincidence.

-There were four homicides in Baltimore over the past week (Dec. 4-Dec. 10, the week before the Beat went press). John Gray’s death was declared a homicide on Dec. 4—he was shot on July 22, 1993 and died on August 3, 2017, and the Medical Examiner declared his death a homicide last week. His shooting was never solved. There were three other homicide victims, all not yet identified, who died on Dec. 6, Dec. 7, and Dec. 9. As of Dec. 10, Baltimore has had 326 homicides.

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