Clearing the benches – Tuesday, January 13th

At last night’s Baltimore City Council meeting, the council endorsed a new city slogan “Baltimore: Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner,” mostly because it’s harder to mock compared to old slogans. The slogan change won’t really mean much of anything, unless the city invests in using it for marketing campaigns, or other minor atrocities like re-painting all “The Greatest City in America” benches around Baltimore.

Also last night: a new plastic bag ban proposal. A similar bill was floated a couple months ago, but it was vetoed by the mayor.

Councilwoman Rikki Spector introduced a bill to reduce the number of council districts from 14 to 4, with 3 members serving each district. Spector argues that by reducing the number of councilmembers, and vastly increasing their constituencies, the council can be more responsive to citizens – somehow. The change would likely make it easier for sitting councilmembers to win re-election, and would make it politically inconsequential for the council to ignore the problems of specific neighborhoods. Baltimore Rex is going to keep a close eye on how this plays out, and what the potential change could mean.

A 32-year-old man died after a shooting last night in Clifton Park.

Friday’s double homicide in North Baltimore stemmed from a recurring dispute over a parking space.

A group of students in the Curtis Bay neighborhood are leading the fight against a new, giant garbage incinerator under construction in a nearby industrial area. Curtis Bay already suffers from poor air quality, with a nearby coal pier, fertilizer plant, and a medical waste incinerator.