Plan to keep Baltimore from holding the bags

March 05, 2001|By Dan Rodricks

I WOULD LIKE to pick up where my congenial colleague Rob Kasper left off Saturday with that timely column about plastic bags marring our world. There is a genuine plague out there. In East Baltimore, there's Italian luggage (Santoni's shopping bags) strewn everywhere, and I'm sure plenty from Super Fresh and Giant and the Dollar Store and just about any retail outlet that bags in polymers.

So this is what I suggest: I suggest each Baltimorean or Surb - Surbs are people who live in the burbs - grab just one bag and dispose of it properly. You'll find them along chain-link fences near playgrounds and parks. (I got 10 in Patterson Park on Friday evening.) You'll find them in gutters and stuck in trees. You'll find them clinging to shrubs. You can pick them up when you walk your dog. You can use a broom handle to snatch one from a tree.

One man, one bag. One woman, one bag. One kid, one bag. One small step for mankind. I know: Today is not the best day for this project. The hysterical (except for WBAL's John Collins) weekend weather people on TV say we're going to get clobbered with snow. So do it some time during the rest of the week.

Assuming - my God! - there is a rest of the week.

Short course in parking

The following is a public service message for all Baltimoreans and Surbs who plan to attend performances of the Baltimore Opera or the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the next two months: Take light rail or take aspirin!

Parking, always a challenge in the city's cultural colony, has been a Mount Royal headache this winter because of construction, the loss of a lot and, as usual, night classes at nearby University of Baltimore. TJI warned about this several weeks ago, with the tale of two elderly Lyric patrons who, desperate for a parking spot, ended up leaving their car in one of those sleazy tow-away lots. Last week, we heard from a woman in Middle River who, on her way to "Rent" at the Lyric, gave up after 45 minutes of space-hunting in the Mount Royal area and went home. "Is it a Baltimore secret that unless you are in a limo or a pass-holder for the Meyerhoff, you'd better plan on leaving for an evening performance at the Lyric no later than lunchtime of the same day?" she asked. "Is this part of town always so unmanageable?"

Only when the Lyric and Meyerhoff are busy on the same night, and classes at UB and the Maryland Institute are in session.

The symphony and the opera warn their regular patrons about this matter, but theatergoers with less experience - and no prepaid parking vouchers - are the ones who really need the help. So, here are some tips (Middle River, this one's for you):

Leave at lunchtime! (Just kidding). Consider light rail. (Sorry to repeat myself, but it's probably the best way to go if you're younger than 65 and ambulatory.) Consider parking at the Penn Station garage. Consider the UB Biddle Street garage (near Maryland Avenue) and the 5th Regiment Armory parking lot, at the southwest corner of Howard and Dolphin streets.

By fall, things should be better. A new 650-car garage, part of the Symphony Center development, is scheduled to open opposite the Meyerhoff on Biddle Street.

Political forecasts ...

Here's The Talk, conveniently packaged in one fat paragraph. Clip N Save. Put it in your wallet. Use it for reference when someone starts talking Maryland politics:

Movers and shakers in Democratic Party politics appreciate Kathleen K. Townsend, but they can't see her as governor, even with Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan on her ticket. So they persuade Martin O'Malley to "strike while the iron's hot" and run for governor with Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry as his running mate. O'Malley persuades Curry to go along because, at the end of their first term, in 2006, O'Malley runs for the U.S. Senate seat of Paul Sarbanes and Curry becomes Maryland's first African-American governor. This scenario, naturally, has Townsend freaked.

... and revised forecasts

Here's The Counter Talk, also conveniently packaged in one fat paragraph:

Baltimoreans, who voted O'Malley to a five-year term in 1999, will resent his using City Hall as a steppingstone to higher office so soon in his tenure and not vote for him in a primary against KKT. (Older African-Americans, in particular, like the idea of voting for Bobby's daughter, anyway.) The Governor O'Malley scenario also assumes the implausible: that Curry will want to play sidekick to O'Malley.

Today's bet: O'Malley doesn't run, but uses the mere threat to serve the city in getting goodies from Annapolis.

Lights, camera, Maryland

This Just In: Production starts in Baltimore County and on the Eastern Shore next month on a Disney film, "Tuck Everlasting," based on the popular 1975 children's novel of the same title. The book, by Natalie Babbitt, tells the story of a family that unwittingly drinks the water of eternal life. More later.

Perhaps a padded cell

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