The Chatter’s Guide to Voting. All you need to know for tomorrow’s primary.

I love election day! Tomorrow, the polls open for the primaries and I can’t wait. I have long argued with friends that they have no right to complain if they don’t exercise their right to vote. If you’re of the type that doesn’t know where you stand, let me shed some light. And vote – it’s a right and a responsibility. Remember, however, that our silly state requires that you are registered with a party to vote in the primary (unless it’s an open primary.) You may only vote in your party’s primary so if you’re registered as an independent, you’re out of luck for tomorrow.

Sadly, there are a few uncontested battles. You can visit the City’s site here and see who all is running. But here’s what you need to know for the contested battles.

Mayor
D- Josh Cohen

R- Bob O’Shea

Why? Joshy-boy hasn’t exactly been the leader with the biggest pair over the last 4 years, but he’s working on it. And the fact that he finally stood up for the City is a good sign. He’s the lesser of the two evils if you ask me. Not in love, but he’ll suffice. And I think he’s a decent leader. Bevin will be a disaster for the City. She reminds me of the bull in a china shop, and quite frankly, her husband refused to pay for a ticket to attend a festival a few years ago. He sorta walked right in like he owned the place. Really rubbed me the wrong way, and sadly, I remember those little things. I haven’t been impressed with her at all. So if you’re a registered D, vote Cohen.
For those registered Republicans, I feel for you. You’re in one of the bluest states in the country. And our City isn’t much different. But having a 29 year-old with nothing more than name recognition as our mayor, will do more damage than anything else. Does Mike really know how to manage a city? I met him once. He was arrogant and dismissed everything I had to say. I’m his peer, and he looked at me as if I knew nothing. Call me crazy, but up until then, I hadn’t seen him on Monday nights over on Duke of Gloucester. Not impressed. And therefore, a vote for O’Shea.

Ward 1
D- Tom McCarthy

As a member of Ward 1, I give Joe Budge credit. He’s responsive and he takes his duties as Alderman seriously. But he’s also arrogant, and I’ve been less than impressed with him from the days of Tri-Rock Annapolis debates. And, his wife is the head of one of the most powerful commissions our City has. I take it back, she probably has more power and control over the Historic District (the City’s crown jewel) than the Mayor. So tell me why, and how, it’s okay for her to be in that position and her husband to be Ward 1 Alderman. HUGE conflict of interest if you ask me and he openly stated that he will NOT recuse himself from votes. He’s in bed with Save Annapolis. And they’re stupid, so by default, Budge needs to budge his way out. Why I like Tom – He’s young. He speaks his mind. He cares about the City. He’s smart. He won’t play the games. He’ll be an effective Alderman for the residents of Ward 1 and will advocate for us. He’ll provide a balance for those who don’t necessarily agree with the Ward 1 Whiners. Vote Tom McCarthy for Ward 1 Alderman.

Ward 2
D- They’re both good as far as I can tell.

Read both their bio’s and I think you’ll be good with either one.

Ward 4
Anyone BUT Sheila Finlayson. We can do an underground movement to write-in on election day. Any takers? PLEASE!!

After tomorrow’s results, I’ll provide a guide to November’s election. But really, for those of you who live in Ward 1 and are registered Democrats, please think. We’re in a mess right now. Bevin was head of the Ward 1 Residents Association before Joe took it over. They’re both fighting improvements to City Dock … they both don’t think anything is wrong with downtown. Do we want them running our City? Tom is a viable candidate. He’s not collecting his pension… and therefore, has a different approach. Josh is slowly making headway. I’ll just chalk it up to the notion that it took him a few years to get his feet warm.  

Polls are open from 7 am – 8 pm. You may find your location here. Go earn your sticker!

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Disclaimer. I’m not in love with JoCo as Mayor… And yes, it took Joshy-boy 4 years to open the Market House…. but that’s a topic for another day….

Annapolis Market House … skimming the political surface

Election season is quickly approaching, which means Joshy-boy has been more active on the social media front. Something tells me it’s at the encouragement of his campaign manager. Last week, the Mayor posted a pic on Facebook along with “Trying out new, more vibrant colors on the Market House. What do you think?” He also posted a pic of construction, “Ricardo and Francisco breaking ground today to lay new pipes and electric for the new Amsterdam Falafelshop in the Market House!” We asked if this was the only vendor requiring work but he didn’t respond. We think his campaign manager needs to tell him about Instagram.

Anyhow, things seem to be moving along with the Market House, which is great news. I don’t think anyone will disagree with that. And if JoCo wants to keep his prime parking spot in the Hillman garage, he better darn well get that thing opened before we head to the polls in November. He knows that. His camp knows that. And I think collectively, the City wants (and needs) that.

But at what cost? We got this email from the guy who’s heading up the Market House contracts, and who also happens to be a part owner of the Falafel franchise group, but that’s a whole different subject. This was attached to his email. Personally, I’m not in love with the colors or design. But I also get that Sally is the resident-artist-contractor for the City of Annapolis, so she’s gonna get the work either way. And the opposition to the proposal will only really delay the process… so how does that really benefit anyone? Her argument, however, is a little off-base:

Are we supposed to expect quality vendors to risk their livelihoods while not allowing them to advertise and compete in today’s marketplace? These businesses will not survive if their potential customers can’t even tell that MH is open. Who knows how long before it sits vacant again.

Maybe Sally and Chuck didn’t do their homework, but the folks who are opening shop in the Market House have quite a few other business ventures that put food on their tables, a roof over their head, and clothes on their back. Have you seen those HB Properties sign around town? The seafood and oyster bar, the coffee, the corned beef – yes. Ten bucks says their to-go bags will say “Land and Sea.” The falafel stand – we already covered that. Not sure about the organic market, but they have a place in Severna Park that must be doing okay that they’re able to afford the space in the Market House. And the gelato people… well… they’ve obviously survived since they were last around town. So if you’re going to try and get people to support you, be honest and upfront. Please.

So next week on the 14th, they’ll have the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) Public Hearing. Attend if you’d like. Or attend to watch what could be a great show! It’ll be a genuine display of small-town politics as it’s literally the day after the new Ward 1 Alderman, Joe Budge, gets sworn in. His wife is head of the HPC. All the articles say that Mr. Budge wants the Market House open. I know that Ms. Kennedy also shares that same vision. But I’ve also seen her testify at City Council meetings regarding the integrity of the HPC. Given the amount of work Art at Large has already done in the City, I sure hope they’ve done their homework and don’t make complete donkey-hiney’s of themselves. This should be interesting…

Say hello. To me. In real life.

There’s been a lot (like, A LOTTTT!) going on around town and I’m trying to be brave enough to finalize and hit publish on a post I’ve been writing for many, many months. With some new developments, I think I’ve found the courage. Just not right now. This full-time job thing of mine has me pretty consumed right now. But I will tell you that for some reason, I no longer get the basic channels (I don’t have cable) so if I want to watch TV, it’s either PBS or the Annapolis government channel…. and that, my friends, has given me a decent amount of information to plug into this blog.

But for now, I’m going to again stray from the gossip and snarky commentary. I heard a rumor that this rather cleverly witty and entertaining blog writer in town will be “guest bartending” at Fado Irish Pub Annapolis tonight to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation alongside some card carrying NRA member of the Maryland State House of Delegates and Annapolis Fire Department peops. (Darn you for it not being the popo!)  Fado will also be doing the Great Guinness Toast AND, if you don’t get their emails, you may not know that they’re doing free food promos pretty much all month long.

Almost a year ago, we posted about a similar event for the same cause. That brave and courageous little boy is no longer suffering in pain, but those who loved him are. No child should have to fight this fight. So if you believe that every little bit helps, stop by Fado tonight to support this cause. And come say hi and share what you’d like to read on this blog.

So. Here’s a deal for the readers. If at least 10 people stop by tonight that heard about it from this post, there will be a deliciously entertaining (or enlightening) post in the next ten days. That’s a promise…. and a threat!

Plus, who knows what could happen tonight… new developments, new rumors, new information, shared secrets… you want in on that action. It’s true.

Stuck in the middle with (or without) you.

Nothing says blogger like sitting at a bar, drinking loads of water and eating soup on a wet, cold night after spending a few hours at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts for a riveting Ward One Residents Association meeting.

I joined the club months ago, and once they cashed my check, I’ve been trying to get to a meeting. And tonight, I did it! (yes, please, I’ll take that gold star) And man, what a great first meeting to attend. (And to think I was just going to see if the nickname of Ward One Whiners was rightfully earned… which, I have to admit, was not really the case. Most of the old(er) ladies were quite pleasant and enjoyable.)

If you follow me on Facebook, which is most likely the case considering about 75% of my traffic comes through the book, you may have seen the status update about the future of Castlebay Irish Pub. And like many of the people I frantically texted, you were probably a little flabbergasted, much like I was.

But why? Well, because it seems the fine folks of the newest “i’m gonna bring culture to dta”-themed restaurant on Main Street apparently have plans for a(nother) new restaurant- a speak-easy, comfort food joint with “gourmet food and a refined beverage list” to be located at 193 Main Street. With such specific information, I naturally turned to my next bff, Google, to help answer some questions. You know, that pretty obvious one of “what’s at 193 Main Street?” And do you know what my bff Google told me? Castlebay Irish Pub. So that’s where the question came from. And the answer, as far as I can tell, is no. Suffice it to say though, in my quest for responsible journalism, I think I found my new favorite go-to in this part of town. (I have my Uptown favorite and my Eastport favorite already.) The staff at Castlebay is awesome, they let me get on their wi-fi, the music was great and the food was surprisingly fantastic. I am now a loyal fan.

And here I sit at Castlebay, having finished the most delicious tomato bisque with spinach and ham+cheese sandwich, trying to finish this here post before my carriage turns back into a (rotten) pumpkin. (Because of course you always go somewhere when you hear it’s closing.) Whilst here, I wondered outside to take a call only to discover that Castlebay is actually at 193A Main Street and next door is 193B… a vacant storefront. So maybe this business owner just misspoke. Among other oversights spouted, the following phrases came out, “we know the importance of community” and “we work well with other businesses downtown.” But then again, even Forbes believes that many experts misspeak every now and again. The bigger issue is however, at the end of the day, I feel like Castlebay Irish Pub is going to be, if they are not already, just stuck in the middle. Hopefully, with you.

Heck, I’m a “gossip” blogger, sooooo…. take what you read here for what you’d like. I guess only time will tell and we hope you’ll join us for the ride. Just hold on tight and wear your seat belt (we don’t need the Annapolis PoPo writing any tickets) because I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s gonna be a bumpy one…

Because City Council members don’t have anything better to do…

Unlike yours truly, certain members of Annapolis City Council have found some extra time on their hands this summer. And their lack of social media common sense just reconfirms my desire to change legal residence so I can run for office. After all, it’s not about me. It’s about you, the citizen. I’d just be taking my civic duties to the next level.

But I digress. (I’ve been away from the blogosphere for a bit, so please bear with me as I get back into the groove.)

A little over a month ago, there was this street festival, music thingy. Eastport-a-Rockin’. This festival took place outside the Maritime Museum on 2nd Street and used the “park”  as one of the stages. A(nother) sign had been put up. Smack dab in the middle. Long story, the sign came down. Plus, it was an eye sore as it stood. AND there’s already a sign there. Anyhow… a little bit ago, my favorite Ward 4 Alderman posted on her Facebook page about the situation. I’m not sure what my favorite part of the whole thing was, but I do know that she was an English teacher at some point. And I know there is a minor error on the sign. (Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.) Lastly, at almost 10 a.m. on a workday, I’d like to think my elected officials have better things to do than whine about personal issues on Facebook. But apparently they are taking this new Wayfinding Program quite seriously.

In fact, they, or their subordinates, are busy posting signs all over town. Instead of helping businesses open, they’re posting stop work order signs. And I guess the City has started with the Market House debacle since they’ve reserved parking for contractors. When I snapped this picture today at 6 p.m. today, there were cars parked there. And I can almost guarantee they weren’t contractors. After all, what City contractor (or employee) works past 5 p.m.? Crap, they aren’t even working at 10 a.m.

Now how do we go about getting a City job? I guess we just need to move and run for office. After all, what’s one more thing to this girl’s plate?

Oh em goodness. Please stay out of our sweet little town.

We’ve seen a lot of comments on message boards and talked to folks around town about the little incident that happened in the Hillman Garage. (If you’re unfamiliar, google Gary Giordano.)  And we found out earlier that they were drinking and filming themselves going at it. But it gets worse. It’s not very often that we express our opinion on this blog, but this stuff is just weird and disturbing… although one male said “hey, if you can pull it off, that’s kinda cool.” No sir, sorry, you’re wrong.

Turns out that the Hillman Garage wasn’t their first stop. Yup, down at City Dock, parked around school buses, they got busy as part of their couch casting portfolio. With their camera on a tripod, they go to it. In plain daylight… with kids walking by the car, they did their thang. And no one stopped or said anything. I’m guessing they didn’t get the attention they were hoping for so they went to the highly trafficked Hillman garage, heavily intoxicated.

Gary and Carol, two old friends who grew up in the same community, attended the same high school… or so their story goes. And when they dressed themselves and got out of the car, Gary apparently proudly introduced himself as the guy who was with the girl who went missing in Aruba. As if he was proud of it… I’ll let you draw your own conclusion on this one. 

I’m not sure about you, but what in the world? I was thinking maybe this lady didn’t know who he was? Although gettin’ it on in the back of a car is a bit tasteless in my humble opinion, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Nope, apparently that’s not the case. We haven’t been able to confirm if Carol is still married, but if it turns out that she is, ohhhh… the story gets better. We are also still trying to determine if they were planning on spending any money here or not, but we promise that if we do, we’ll let you know. 

Until then, Annapolis gossip girl thinks that we definitely need to tear down Hillman, put green space at City Dock, and build a bright, fancy new garage on Compromise Street. And in the meantime, while the City is buying a slew of signs, can we please add one or two, “no creeps allowed inside City limits” to the list?

 

Wowza… but maybe this will deter people from parking in Hillman?

Have you read the article about the Aruba suspect being charged with indecent exposure inside the Hillman garage? I wonder if the lady from Tennessee is really from here…. and why on Earth did they choose to come to Annapolis?

But of course it would happen in the garage…. and it proves my point that even suspected criminals aren’t getting the message about the Circulator and not parking in Hillman.

I know this is crazy, but I feel like Hillman just screams old and yucky… and therefore, it’s okay to be inappropriate in the garage. I know I won’t park there any time soon. Gross.

Anyhow, you can imagine how big my eyes got when the article popped into my inbox.

I don’t even like hand holding… good thing I wasn’t around as I probably would have vomited.

What is our City coming to? More on that later….

Until then, I’m off to observe a few things!

Best title for this post wins a cool prize

When the folks from Hollywood took over State Circle yesterday, I found myself asking new questions. I think it’s great for the City of Annapolis for this type of exposure. It’s a great source of income for the City, but like everything else, it comes at a price to the citizens. Is it going to deter folks from coming downtown? Or is it going to bring down gawkers? I’m hoping for the latter… and that they come with full wallets.

But I wonder. Does the City have an obligation to let people know? We’ve been given announcement after announcement about the road closures for the TriRock Annapolis tomorrow, which closes streets for six hours. Not days. The City stated it’s up to the organizers, and not the City, to inform the residents. (I thought the City had three public information officers on staff?) This information was distributed in this letter, but Bishop Varney Productions’ distribution didn’t expand very far. (Don’t bother Googling them, they don’t have a website and the address they’re operating out of appears to be recently rented.) The City also stated that all streets are functional for normal use. This picture taken on North Street proves otherwise. Sorry. Additionally, a not-so-polite Annapolis Police Department Officer sat in his car blocking State Circle. (I would have snapped a picture but I’m pretty sure that would NOT have gone so well.)

Park up on West Street and take the Circulator down to avoid the closed roads. You should have plenty of opportunity to see the action and I hear they’ll be out late tonight. Also heard on the streets:

*Sadly, Dame Judi Dench will not be coming to Annapolis.
*They might be filming a scene inside a restaurant up near that area… and it may be shot sometime between Tuesday and Thursday next week.
*It is rumored that the out-of-towners are staying close to downtown in a hotel.

If nothing else, walk by Johnson’s on the Avenue and peer in the window. They totally transformed the inside of the building. Maybe the owners will consider actually renting it after this. (another post to follow about that) Thankfully they didn’t change anything on the outside, or I would have wondered if the HPC had approved it. There’s a lot inside that building… and I hope that the nice people from Hollywood will consider donating it to our community when they pack up and leave town. I’m sure the Lighthouse Shelter, the FoodLink, the Food Bank, or any of the other community organizations, would very much appreciate the generosity. If you’re going to close down parts of our City, please be open to helping out those in need. And Sam, Olivia and Michelle, if you don’t have big plans to leave town for the weekend, you can still buy a ticket to Saturday’s Rock & Roast, benefiting Box of Rain, at the Maritime Museum in Eastport. They’re a great organization that throws a heck of a party and will give you a taste of what Annapolis is like. I may know someone that can sell you a ticket…

Hollywood comes (back) to Annapolis

In high school, Walt Disney came to our school to film some parts of a movie. As students, we were offered the opportunity to be extras. Not really being an academian, I jumped at the opportunity. We missed class AND they paid us. (could explain a few things about my education) I ended up making a few extra bones because I had a speaking role… and after they didn’t include my six word line in the final cut, I gave up on my Hollywood dream. (I never really had that dream, but I was a little bitter.) So when a message came my way last week about a similar opportunity, I politely declined. There was no school to miss and I don’t think they were going to pay. After all, we’re in a recession.

Parts of a movie are being filmed right here in town- at the Annapolis Athletic Club and around the Eastport area. The best part? The PLOT. Had I known the movie was about “a straight-laced pharmacist’s uneventful life spirals out of control when he starts an affair with a trophy wife customer who takes him on a joyride involving sex, drugs and possibly murder” perhaps I would have considered it. Scandal and drama? I don’t really do murder (or drugs) and in fact, if you know me in real life, I don’t really do violence or crazy drunk women who try to fight, but a scandal of a pharmacist’s wife involving sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, sounds like just the thing a gossip blog would be all over. Instead, I’m just all over telling my readers to go check it out… and please bring back any juicy info!

Better Living Through Chemistry is rumored to be here for a few weeks… so if you’re looking for something fun to do or stalk around town, head over to Eastport. According to IMBD, Dame Judi Dench is cast in it. She was my favorite on the list. If someone could guarantee she was in town, I’d go hunt her down for a picture. But I wonder if the others are in town, too?

I know that Kevin Spacey is. Well, he’s staying in Edgewater and driving a black Range Rover, but he wasn’t listed on the casting list. He’s here for a few more months, so I guess there may be two movies being filmed in town? Keep your eyes peeled… and then please share! We could do a whole piece on scandals that occur when Hollywood comes to Annapolis. I have some stories, just need a few more… now go make it happen!

Would the real Gil and Jen please stand up?

If you’re a Fan of the Chatter on Facebook, you may have noticed a status update about comments on the blog criticizing the recent post about the Junior League’s upcoming fundraiser. The comments were deleted and I sent both an email explaining why, only to have both emails returned because the addresses left were invalid. So to you Gil and Jen… if you’re going to voice your opinion, stand behind it. Own it.

The comments left directly called me out about my involvement in the organization. Yes, I am an inactive member of the organization. Over the years, I dedicated a lot of my time, talent and treasure to the organization and in return, the organization taught me A LOT of great lessons… too many to list… but something I will always be appreciative of. I feel like I got much more out of my involvement than they got out of me.

My decision to write that post with third-party references was intentional. I try to write each post as if I’m not involved. It’s the blog… that’s its “thang” if you will. I leave my personal information out because I don’t think it’s necessary. If you know me in real life, you know that I shamelessly tell people to read my blog. But who I am and what I do is irrelevant.

I do not get paid to write this. I don’t get anything for spending five hours at City Hall. You may be wondering why I do this then? I’ll tell you – it’s a great learning tool. I started the blog to teach myself how to blog- and I needed something that people may read so I can watch the traffic. It’s clearly that simple. And I get to write- something I genuinely love to do but need serious improvement on. I’m not artsy or creative or clever, and no one wants to read about my rather boring life, so I had to find a topic that people might enjoy reading. And as I state in the About section of the blog, I love Annapolis. So why not write about this great town, but from a different angle? I also clearly state that the Chatter isn’t a news source. It’s a gossip site in its most simple form.

If you don’t agree with what I write, great! That’s one of the objectives of the blog- to get people talking. To be informed and involved in what’s going on. And to be entertained. I like humor… and while mine may be warped at times, I hope you’ve found yourself chuckling once or twice when you visit AnnapolisChatter.

So there you have it Gil and Jen. While you may think what I do is “kinda lame,” I thank you for challenging my convictions. You clearly know me and don’t like me, so please, don’t waste your time reading what I have to say. And if you’re going to criticize the fact I don’t disclose who I am, please don’t be a hypocrite and do the exact same thing.

Until then, you can find me tonight at the Marriott downtown supporting The Junior League of Annapolis at their fundraiser, Moonlight Masquerade. My friends involved told me about some of the auction and raffle items available… diamond necklace donated by La Belle Cezanne, platinum diamond ring with a sapphire, baby stuff, jewelry, salon services, activities, restaurant gift certificates, trips to Cali, Orioles-Red Sox tickets (with booze included) with a hotel stay in Baltimore, and so much more. I’ll be the one in pearls and white gloves with an empty bank account. At least I put my money where my mouth is…

SIDE NOTE: Right after the comments were left, my girl over at theblondeside.com (hysterical sports site worth visiting) led me to this great piece in the Huff Post written by the girls who started the wallpaper app, Paper’d. I thought the timing was rather interesting.