No excavation needed for downtown hotel site


November 21, 1997|By DAN RODRICKS

Pardon me while I have a juxtaposition. I'm thinking of two things - that big hole over on Franklin Street (and what it symbolizes) and the Big John Paterakis hotel proposal for Inner Harbor East (and what that symbolizes).

This year, we've had a huge water main break in East Baltimore, causing millions of dollars in damage and the demolition of 15 rowhouses, and now the mother of all sinkholes at Park Avenue and Franklin Street. This old city appears to be falling apart in its bicentennial year. You'd think the mayor and City Council would want to invest in aging infrastructure before more underground time bombs go off.

Meanwhile, the politically connected Paterakis, his Wyndham partners, the mayor and apparently the City Council (except for John Cain) want to build that big hotel a mile from the convention center. They want to build on ground where some $20 million already has been spent on - guess what - improving the infrastructure! Now much of that infrastructure would have to be dug up to build this hotel. And taxpayers, who paid for the street work in the first place, would have to foot the bill a second time.

I'm looking at these two things - the big hole, the Big John hotel - and I'm thinking there's something wrong with this picture. Maybe Paterakis should just build his hotel at Franklin and Park. There's already a hole there.

Bachelor bashes exposed

"I'm hoping women all over the country will listen to it and get PO'd," says former WJHU announcer Lisa Simeone about her "Soundprint" documentary airing nationally tomorrow. The subject: bachelor parties. Simeone found it difficult to get men to talk about the ritual, though some did. Women who later learned about raunchy sexual activities at bachelor parties speak to the divisiveness they caused in their marriages. The program airs on WAMU-FM, 88.5, out of Washington at 7:30 a.m. Too bad WJHU doesn't carry it here.

The morning after, a safe bet

One of Pizza Hut's problems with last Monday night's madness was what it left the fast-food chain with (or without) Tuesday morning. Outlets in the Baltimore area sold so many pizzas because of the Ravens' defensive performance last Sunday - nine sacks of the Philadelphia quarterback, and $1 off each pizza for each sack - they ran short of ingredients for next-day business. ... By the way: If Ravens defensive lineman Tony Siragusa scores a touchdown in any game, any large pizza is half price the following Monday night. That's what the company's radio promotions says. Siragusa seems unlikely to do such a thing - he runs the 100-yard dash in two or three days - but he almost went there earlier this season. It happened in the Ravens' Sept. 21 game against the Oilers in Tennessee. Siragusa recovered a fumble on the Oilers' 29-yard line and raced - raced? - seven yards before being tackled. He was injured (strained left ankle tendon) on the play. I'm told there's no truth to rumors that video replays of the action showed the tackler to be a Pizza Hut executive who'd dashed onto the field. ... One more thing about the Hut. I mentioned in Wednesday's column how it would be nice if the company gave literacy efforts a boost. Actually, PH has been involved in such a thing for a decade. The company has a national reading incentive program for kids. In Maryland, students receiving three or more A's on a report card get a free pizza.

Sounds familiar

Remember Mike Lasky, the "Psychic Friends" millionaire who put up the big bucks last year for Eddie Murray's 500th home run ball? Lasky's son, Marc, has been cooking up an independent film in Los Angeles, and it's due for East Coast release here Dec. 9. "The Fanatics," a comedy, features Ed Asner and a hauntingly familiar plot: Town loses football team. A few members of its marching band stay together, hoping for new football team. Then - this part won't sound too familiar - leader of the band appeals to team owner to return to the old hometown. Owner refuses. Band leader kidnaps the ... (I promised not to give it all away.). Premiere is at the Senator.

Do your duty, or else

"An observation," says a TJI reader who had jury duty this week. "We like to blast 'stereotyping.' But the criminal justice system is partly based on it: Defense lawyers and prosecutors picking jurors solely on race, sex, age, clothing, how they guess people will vote. It's classic stereotyping." ... Jury duty is not everyone's idea of fun, or even civic responsibility. (Which explains, in part, why the rest of us get called for it so often.) About 100 shirkers - men and women who failed to post for jury duty at least three times - will be called before Judge Edward Angeletti on Monday morning in Baltimore Circuit Court. This Angeletti, he takes jury shirking very seriously. He puts the "ow" in frown. One hundred jury shirkers is a record for one of these hearings. They face fines, even jail time. It won't be pretty.

Picks by 'The Coach'

Just received: Paul "The Coach" Baker's new self-published book of short sports stories, "Moments in Time," and his predictions for the 1997-1998 college basketball season. He rates Duke No.1, followed by Arizona, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina. Baker ranks the Terrapins 17th. ... After 21 years here, I have this observation about Baltimore: We must lead the nation in women named Dottie. ... Joey Amalfitano, on vacation last week in Arizona, walked into the visitor's center at the Grand Canyon with his girlfriend, Maxine. He was wearing a black and purple cap with a garish golden emblem peculiarly shaped like Ace Ventura's hair.

"Oh, no," said the young woman behind the information counter. "The Baltimore Ravens."

"Why the revulsion?" Joey asked.

"I'm from Ohio."


Pub Date: 11/21/97

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