Memo to Baltimore: Clean up your act

This Just In...

August 21, 2002|By DAN RODRICKS

I DON'T know why but I found myself in a William Donald Schaefer state of mind the other day. It came over me suddenly and creeped me out at first. I did a Don Donaldo and I drove around this City of A Few Dozen Charms making note of things that had to be fixed or cleaned up - by other people, and preferably people who get paid with Baltimore taxpayers' money. It got to be a kick after a little while.

I don't know if Martin O'Malley spends his off-hours making notes on potholes and trash. But Schaefer used to - no wife, no kids, but a driver and lots of time to cruise the streets of the old palatinate.

So I guess what follows might be called an "action-memo" in the old Mayor Annoyed style. Here goes:

Would somebody please empty the blue plastic drum at the end of Hull Street in Locust Point, the one by the fishing pier? It's full of guts - or something - from guys cleaning fish down there, and it's been baking in the sun for days and pretty soon they're going to be smelling it in Canton and there go the property values.

Could we do something about the ugly, twisted, falling, rusted chain-link fence along the northbound Jones Falls Expressway, near Penn Station? Makes the JFX look like a Stalin-era auto route.

Memo to O'Malley: Are there any plans to fix the broken Curran Bell Tower in Govans, the one named after your late grandfather-in-law? It would be nice to hear it chime "O, Danny Boy" again some day.

Could we get the Howard Street Bridge painted? I say give it up for a class project of freshmen at the Maryland Institute.

Some dope left a rolled-up carpet on Cold Spring Lane, between Falls Road and Roland Avenue. I know all too well the O'Malley-era policy on bulk trash in this city - you have to call ahead, make an appointment and tell the solid-waste concierge just what you want removed. But, in this case, the carpet is not mine, and its location is not a residence. It's just there - dry-rotted, full of ant larvae and such a bad shade of brown no wonder someone junked it. So can we get a city truck out there to pick it up, please? The people of Med-Rol (the territory between Medfield and Roland Park) thank you.

Would those of you who like to read the City Paper - or at least its personal ads - while waiting for the bus in the 3100 block of Eastern Ave., Highlandtown, kindly take your copies of the paper with you and not leave them on the sidewalk?

You guys in the park on Greenmount Avenue, around 22nd Street - how about cleaning up the trash before you go home? Or, better yet, how about just staying home?

Would the people responsible for that new parking garage in Little Italy please tear it down and start over again?

Or could you at least commission a giant, kitschy neon spaghetti bowl for the top of it?

Can we get the owner of the building that houses the Club Orpheus, 1814 E. Pratt St., to paint over the graffiti? What are you waiting for, Raoul Middleman to do it for you?

Little Italy is marvelous - and this weekend, it's time again for the St. Gabriel Festival - but I'd like the nice folks at the Sons of Itlee Hall to consider removing the razor wire that crowns their fence along Pratt Street. That's not only overkill but it doesn't exactly say, "Benvenuto, Baltimore!"

And one more artistic thing: Those nice banners around the neighborhood, the ones with the map of Big Italy - where's Sardinia? Last I heard, that was still part of the old country.

There's a dead tree at Milton Avenue and Fleet, and certainly some yuppie with a rowhouse fireplace could use it as kindling.

I think it's time to remove that dead stump at Eastern Avenue and Kenwood, too. A couple of stump bombs while the neighbors are down at the ocean and voila!

The Patterson Park pagoda looks fantastic these days, but there's some large old curbing out of place, needing to be reset, at Baltimore Street and Patterson Park Avenue. I'd have done it myself but the only tool I had on me was a Phillips screwdriver. Can we get some public works guys on the scene?

As William Donald Schaefer used to say: Do it now, baby! (Or, at least, do it when it's cooler, baby.)

Acting commissioner

Ed Norris appeared on The Wire for the third time on HBO Sunday night - this had to be told to me because, alas, we don't have "premium channels" on the cable, hon - and this time the Baltimore Police Commish logged several minutes of mug time and had several lines. The Commish has been playing a veteran detective and, in Sunday's episode, he questioned the supervisor of a wounded detective. Norris' character appeared to be more compassionate than that of the commissioner on the show (whose last name happens to be Frazier). Norris appeared in the background of emergency room scenes. Later in the show, he and several detectives talked about how to investigate the shooting, and The Commish's character had an encounter with a cop from the department's pawn unit. Norris congratulated him for coming up with a fingerprint hit that might be key to solving the crime.

I'm glad The Commish can find time to make these appearances on HBO - when he's not appearing on 20/20, or having a big dinner in a fine restaurant or zipping up to New York on police business, or, you know, doing all that other boring stuff, like trying to reduce the homicide rate here.

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