“I would rather undergo a…”

“I would rather undergo a vasectomy via Weed Whacker than attend an opera,” wrote one of my favorite comedians, Dave Barry. Thank goodness I’m not in the market for a vasectomy. I am, however, in the market for a new form of entertainment. So I’m putting on my depends and attending the Annapolis Opera’s performance of Aida this Saturday night. I know you’re all thinking that I’m too young to attend the opera, but I figured that if this form of live entertainment has been around for as long as it has, than it can’t be that bad, right? I’ll let you know next week (or next year if I continue to blog at my current speed.)

But really, I follow a lot of weird trends and I’ve noticed “younger” folks attending more arts focused events over the last few years. And I heard a rumor that the Annapolis Opera is hoping to soon start a club for young people, so I want to get in on the action while I can. Plus, I need to start broadening my horizons, getting out more, and being more involved in ALL of Annapolis. Details on that to follow at a later date.

So here’s what I do know. The fine folks over at Eye on Annapolis wrote a piece about it here highlighting 3 things you probably never knew. Annapolis has had its own opera for 40 years and this year marks the 30th year of the music director. In February, Little Red Riding Hood will come to life, complete with some young, cute kids. And then if I haven’t been turned off, I’ll try and hit performances in March and April.

If you aren’t able to attend, I heard that someone will be live tweeting Aida. If I can get my stuff together, I’ll tweet (and Facebook) as well… but can’t promise it will be about the opera though. My ADD may kick in if one of our fine city council members, or mayor, are in attendance. I’ll be sure to make note of their fashion choices, especially any elected official that is in favor of hiring a decorator to come to City Hall to pick out paint chips. You think I’m kidding? Then you didn’t read this.

I’m hoping that after Saturday, I’ll have plenty of material to blog about. Both the performance and who and what I see. And I’m hoping you’ll join me, and if nothing else, provide me with future content for this here blog…

A dirty little secret about parking in downtown.

I’m probably going to get a ton of backlash for this. But since I haven’t been so great about posting on the blog, I thought I’d give my readers a treat.

You may have heard that starting August 20th, parking rates for the parking lots will increase. If not, our subjectively-tight-lipped friends at Eye on Annapolis wrote about the details here.

There are about 10-12 free, unmonitored parking spots in downtown Annapolis. Remember when I posted about the folks in Kingsport protesting the community garden because they didn’t want the poorfolk within a mile radius of their home? You may have guessed I had all this knowledge because I myself garden through Grow Annapolis. Down at the community garden outside the old rec center. And you were right.

Anyhow, for the last two months as I tend to my little plot, I’ve been watching the servers and bouncers at a waterfront restaurant park and skip across the street to work. I’ve watched mother after mother (and sometimes a dad) park their car in these spots and walk across the street to the playground they fought to keep. (I hope you see the irony behind that.) And I’ve watched the City of Annapolis parking enforcement officers drive right down Newman Street and not stop and ticket them once.

In good Chatter fashion, I chased one down to ask the question. Their response, “I’m not allowed to ticket this area.” In my mind, I’m thinking no freakin’ way. And as any good journalist would do, I made a follow up call the next day to the Transportation Office for the City of Annapolis. And I spoke with the lady (the Parking Manager) there. Her response, “We won’t ticket that area until the City tells us to.” Ummmm. Okay.

So there you have it. Happy Friday! Free parking in downtown Annapolis… and there are usually always parking spots available. Just about every time I drive by, there’s available parking.

If you aren’t so lucky… take the Circulator. I took it for the first time a week or so ago. What took me so long? I had to be inspired. What did it? A few days before, I received an email from Ima Nottelling with a pic attached….

 

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?

 

Hey, I just met you and this is crazy…

Earlier, we told you we’re going to try and bring some fun and entertainment back to the blog. So to balance out today’s rather heavy post, we want to share with you some details about poor Gary’s incident last Friday.

We do love that people are comparing this to County Executive John Leopold’s discovery of him gettin’ it on in parking lots, but as we mentioned here, APD and County PoPo are quite different.

But we’re here to tell you the gossip the news isn’t reporting. Turns out, Gary and Carol weren’t just getting to know each other on a more intimate level in the back of his black Escalade, but they were also enjoying some tasty adult beverages and working on their portfolio to become the next John Holmes and Jenna Jameson.

Don’t ask me, I’ll never tell. So here’s my number, call me maybe?

 

Reading between the lines.

Whoa… how crazy have the last few days been? The Mayor is in Vegas attending a conference and it appears our City is falling apart. We have green water in Back Creek, home and car break ins, sexual assaults in alleys, people smoking pot on front porches downtown, and a man considered a person of interest in the disappearance of a woman while on holiday, doing inappropriate things in an Annapolis City garage. (We have our own ideas about what business they were heading to or coming from…)

Add to that a movie being filmed at State Circle in downtown Annapolis and the beginning of USNA Commissioning Week 2012 and you’ve got yourself enough small town craziness to last a while. Good thing our population is less than 40 thousand.

But alas, there are some serious issues going on over near the Safeway on Forest Drive.

To sum it up, the City of Annapolis has plans to put a community garden in a City park next to a City playground. The City owned land is located off Bywater Road and is situated between two neighborhoods: Kingsport of Annapolis, a neo-traditional community that offers coastal living with amenities that include a community pool with terrace, spa pool, and grilling area; fishing dock; putting green and playground areas; walking and biking trails; and Bywater Mutual Homes, a community home to qualified families of low and moderate income (HUD Section 8 and Section 236).

And it’s the end of the world to some residents of the Kingsport community much like it was the end of the world for Chris Stelzig and his followers when the City entertained a proposal to build a parking lot on Compromise Street. But unlike Stelzig, the fine folks who oppose the community garden aren’t PR gurus by day and therefore, are on the opposite end of the spectrum from being a word ninja. Don’t believe me? Check out this article and all the comments below it. (Note- it’s lengthy but full of passion. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.) .

The issue is that a community garden is included in the Capital Improvement Program for the City of Annapolis 2012-2017.  That along with the Market House improvements, road improvements, other park work, city vehicles, building maintenance, water treatment and a whole lot of other really exciting stuff.

The rumor mill tells me a garden was planned for this space all along, and they saw Grow Annapolis as being able to do all the work as opposed to the City. The garden was part of a long term plan for use of the land, along with the trees planted in the last few years. The opponents have also publicly attacked Grow Annapolis and questioned “who” they are at the last City Council meeting. You know, they’re the same group that did all the work for the downtown community garden and the one that works with the schools to create gardens. You can see all the no good they’re up to on their website.

But to clarify, the line item estimates $140,000 for this project. (Not the $170k some are claiming.) Seems like a lot of money to grow tomatoes, right? But if you read closer, you’ll notice that it’s in the design stage so the money will cover all the planning, designing, as well as infrastructure and so on. Accordingly, the document states: Design Stage: includes the development of any environmental documents, legal documents, construction plans and specifications, and a detailed construction budget. 

The proposed project, #378, is included in the long-term capital program. That being said, Many of these projects are subject to more careful scope definition and management review. These projects, generally identified via area plans or other planning activity, will be included in the capital budget in future years, depending on priorities, funding availability, and other considerations. They are listed in no particular order.

And continues on, This project will complete the development of the Kingsport Park, a 3-acre parcel donated as part of the Kingsport residential development. The project will provide a 10-car off-street parking area, pathway, linear field, security lighting, landscaping, and park sign. Recommended budget is approximately $140,000.

No where did I see anything about a chain link fence as some have claimed. They question the parking and say if it’s a community garden, then everyone can walk. Correct, to some degree. What if people from outside the immediate neighboring communities want to come play at the playground? I spent an hour there yesterday observing and there was no place for me to park so I parked illegally and hoped I didn’t get a ticket. What if I wanted to take children to the playground or host a pick up frisbee game on that sprawling piece of green space the opponents talk about? There is no place to park. The opponents have also stated that the Kingsport development “donated” the land to the City. I have interpreted the comments as implying that because it was originally their’s, they should still have control over it. And I’ll stop there after reminding them that the land was deeded to the City by the developer as part of the deal before any home was purchased.

There is so much more to this argument. But Annapolis Chatter has been told we’re too political and we’ve been encouraged to have more gossip focused posts, so we’re going to try and bring some more of that to you. As for the garden- I’ll let you decide for yourself. If you are so inclined, please consider writing and/or calling the Mayor and/or your Alderman and sharing your opinion. Here’s their contact info. I wrote mine and told them about my personal experience with community gardening. And if you’re in favor of seeing a community garden go into this area, please sign this petition. I did that, too.

I think I need to send City Council a post script reminding them that there has not been any indecent exposure down at the garden… yet!

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!