Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sit down a spell. That can wait.

I'd like to invite anyone who's interested to join me in forming the Professional Porch Sitters Union Local 1924.

From their own description:

Professional Porch Sitters (PPS) is an informal organization with a large and growing grassroots membership. To become a member you simply need to say you are a member and agree to sit around with friends and neighbors shooting the breeze as often as possible or practical. Preferably on a porch but that's not critical. There are no dues, no membership requirements, no mailings, no agenda, no committees, no worries. PPS believes that the radical act of sitting around sharing stories with no specific agenda is critical to building sustainable communities.

Television and air-conditioning have moved far too many people off their porches and into their homes where they quickly become isolated from their communities. We believe that sometimes the most effective course of action is to sit down and relax while sipping lemonade and sharing stories.

PPS only has one rule but it's more like a suggestion. “Sit down a spell. That can wait.”

Starting your own chapter of PPS is simple. You simply declare yourself a local chapter, pick a number to represent your Local Chapter identity and then sit back with friends and neighbors to celebrate with an interesting story or two. Meetings can be called at any time by any member and attendance is optional. You are invited to communicate with PPS Headquarters but that is voluntary since no records are kept. PPS was founded on a porch in Louisville, Kentucky in 1999 but many additional chapters have been founded since then. Perhaps your chapter will be next.

We would love to hear from you if you start up a chapter, but don't sweat it if you don't.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Primary results: Same 'ol, same 'ol

I know a lot of people are simply disillusioned by the current state of politics in Baltimore, but come on people! A 28% voter turnout?! This is not only shameful, but also counterproductive. In the end we have the status quo: Dixon, Rawlings, and Curran.

When I went to our polling place (the Firehouse) at 6 p.m. there was only one other person voting. I asked how the turnout had been: about 215 people all day. This when I hear from fellow citizens how awful they think Dixon is, or how we need an activist like Sarbanes to stand up to her and the O'Malley machine. How did you think anything would change if you didn't bother to go vote?

But rather than become disillusioned by these results, I'm looking at the opportunity to give Curran a run for his money and throw my full support behind the Green Party candidate, Bill Barry. His chances for actually beating Curran in the election? yeah, pretty much nil. But my goal is to give Bobby the message that there are plenty of us out here who are unhappy with him, and that he needs to start serving the entire community. Let's send him the message that we in Westfield need him to respond to our concerns and help us revitalize our neighborhood.

If you're concerned about gangs, prostitutes, empty storefronts, and traffic, please join me in my effort to make Councilman Curran give Westfield a little more attention.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Would anyone from this neighborhood be interested in participating in the Women in Black - Baltimore project sponsoring the sixth annual Peace Path 911 on Tuesday. Everyone who would like to join in and create this Peace Path from the Inner Harbor through Baltimore to the Beltway would be welcome. Since I go home in this direction, I figure an area right there at Kenilworth and Charles. This was originally created to mourn the losses of Sept. 11, to respond to increased U.S. military presence in the Middle East and to confront city violence, WIBB also aims to create a visible path to support its goal -- a world without violence and bloodshed.

The path begins @ 4 p.m. to 6 pm Tuesday, September 11th. For information call 410.467.9114 or e-mail

Come on out, I'll be standing at 83 and Charles Street (near Kenilworth) PEACE & LOVE

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Gang activity: What can we do to stop it in our neighborhood?

There's been a lot of discussion in our neighborhood lately about an increase in gang graffiti. I'm not sure if I would know the difference between generic graffiti and gang grafitti if I saw it. Can anyone tell me what gang graffitti has been spotted?

I found some general information about gangs that might be useful at this University of Maryland site. The sites says:
Report non-emergency information about gangs to the Baltimore City Intelligence Watch Center at 1-888-223-0033.
This would be absolutely horrible if gangs see our neighborhood as an easy place to claim as their territory. But if we don't react to their initial sitings (or markings) I'm sure that's just what they'll do.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Don't forget ...

There's a neighborhood association meeting on Tuesday September 4th at 7:30 pm.

If you want change, you have to be a part of it ....

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Wandering the Wilds of Westfield

I was so pleased to see a fox in my backyard early this morning. I used to see one, and in fact I think there was a fox family, before the developer got his crazy idea last year of tearing up the vacant lot on Eunice Avenue. I'm sure when his crew was marking the lot and tramping around they scared off the foxes.

Foxes are skittish, and are afraid of humans, and this one ran as soon as I opened my back door. Although my dog was incensed at the intruder (ran around the yard with his nose to the ground), I am happy to have a fox around. They keep down the rat population, for one thing. Also, it means we have enough foliage to support wildlife. I have also seen a hawk many times, and a blue heron sometimes cruises overhead. (He's probably eyeing the fish and frogs in my pond!)

So if you see the fox, just pause for a moment and observe the beauty and grace of one of God's creatures. And be happy that we live in a neighborhood that is not just concrete and asphalt, but also a little bit of nature.