Here’s your weekend catch-up:
Kenneth Holt, Gov. Larry Hogan’s housing chief, said that Maryland should consider relaxing its lead paint liability law because it could be abused by mothers willing to poison their kids for free housing. Holt, speaking to the Maryland Association of Counties convention, speculated that a mother could deliberately expose her child to lead, then use test results to force her landlord to cover housing until the child turns 18. Holt admits that he has no proof this has ever happened (he says a landlord told him the story).
Other state leaders and public health officials were quick to slam Holt’s remarks. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford says that Holt’s comments don’t reflect administration policy and that Hogan has no intention to reduce lead paint liability.
300 Men March, an anti-violence activism group, is on their way to the White House after starting a march from Baltimore overnight. The group, led by Munir Bahar, hopes that the 35 mile march will draw more attention to Baltimore’s street violence. The Baltimore Sun’s Kevin Rector is live-tweeting the march.
The violence continued this weekend. Two men were shot and killed in east Baltimore over the weekend. On Friday night, a man was killed in the Middle East neighborhood.On early Sunday morning, another man was shot and killed on N. Caroline Street, near Johns Hopkins Hospital. So far in August, Baltimore has had 18 homicides.
This weekend, police also identified the victims of Thursday’s triple homicide: Marquis Caldwell, 19, Franklin Morris, 17, and Tyrik Adams, 17.
Robberies are also at a five-year high in the city, with a 20% increase over last year. The rise in robberies is being felt by a wider swath of the city than the surge in shootings, with upticks in downtown neighborhoods like Mt. Vernon and Pigtown (though robberies are slightly down in Baltimore Police’s Southeastern district, which includes Highlandtown, Fells Point, and Canton). Alongside the increase, police are solving fewer robberies, with a 2015 clearance rate of only 12.7%.
Now that the Red Line is out of the picture, some property owners along the transit project’s planned path find themselves in a tough spot. With construction originally scheduled to begin next year, building owners along the path have been unable to find tenants or were expecting the MTA to buy them out. At least one developer is suing the MTA for economic damages.