Maryland Morning Podcast

Sheila Dixon Campaign Website


Today, we continue our conversations with candidates for Mayor of Baltimore City.  Sheila Dixon joins me in Studio A.  In the late 90s she became the first African American woman elected as the President of the City Council, and in 2007, she became the first African American woman to become Mayor.  Her story after that is well-known: she resigned in 2010 after a conviction and an Alford plea.  She has entered a crowded race asking for a second chance.  I’ll ask her about her vision for the City.

Then, the award-winning local writer Kathy Flann introduces us to some of the quirky characters who populate her new collection of short stories.  Get a Grip explores Baltimore from the perspective of people who often live on the margins, and who flavor the city with funky charm.

On this Martin Luther King Day, 48 years since his death, a look at the past and present of the civil rights movement.  First, a conversation with two women whose actions in Baltimore and the Eastern Shore changed the tide of equality in Maryland.  In the early years of the movement, women were often overshadowed by men, but today, we meet Helena Hicks, who’s 1955 action led to the integration of Read’s Drug Stores, and Gloria Richardson, a founder of what’s come to be known as the Cambridge Movement.  

Sagamore Development

Our monthly series, The Accountability Index, continues this morning with a closer look at the Port Covington project that Under Armour 's CEO Kevin Plank is proposing.  It’s one of the biggest waterfront developments in Baltimore since the Inner Harbor.  But are private developers driving the planning?  Tom talks about that with Baltimore Brew reporters Fern Shen and Ed Gunts.

Then, as temperatures plummet, a status report on efforts to care for the thousands of Baltimoreans who are homeless this winter.  Dr. Jaquelyn Duval-Harvey, the director of the Mayor’s Office on Human Services, and Kevin Lindamood, the CEO of Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore, join Tom in the studio to discuss new strategies for helping people deal with housing insecurity.

And as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra celebrates its centennial, Tom talks with BSO oboist and author Michael Lisicky, whose new book, A Century of Sound, chronicles the first hundred years of this cultural colossus.


Today, we begin a series of weekly profiles of candidates for Mayor of Baltimore City.  Every Wednesday for the next several weeks, we’ll talk to the people who want to lead the city at a time when we face tremendous challenges.  This morning, a discussion with Elizabeth Embry, who had this to say when she announced her candidacy in early November: 

"I love Baltimore, and I’ve devoted my entire career to Baltimore City, to government, and state government -- working on the problems that Baltimore City faces.  There is nothing more noble and more important than working for the city."

Elizabeth Embry joins Tom in the studio to talk about her experience, her vision, her hopes for Baltimore. 

Plus, the 436th session of the Maryland General Assembly gets underway today.  The budget is in the black; the Governor and the legislature have different ideas about what to do with the surplus.  We’ll parse the big issues facing lawmakers with Erin Cox, the State House bureau chief for the Baltimore Sun.  She joins Tom by phone from Annapolis.

WYPR-Tom Pelton

A new study by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that over the past five years, the city has intentionally dumped hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Jones Falls and the Inner Harbor.  That spillage -- caused by structural inadequacies in the city's 100-year-old network  of stormwater and sewer pipes -- also found its way into more than 400 homes in the city of Baltimore. Tom Hall talks with the author of the report, Tom Pelton, and with Jeffrey Raymond of the  Baltimore Department of Public Works about the city’s overwhelmed sewer system, and why its federally-ordered repair is so seriously behind schedule.

Then, a roundup of some of the top local stories -- from the latest developments in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson to Governor Hogan’s demolition plan for blighted sections of East and West Baltimore -- with Yvonne Wenger of the Baltimore Sun, Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV, and attorney Ed Smith.

Our theater critic, J Wynn Rousuck, reviews Moonlight and Magnolias at the Spotlighters Theater.

And rapper Abdu Ali sits downs with producer Jonna McKone to talk about his dance party series called Kahlon and what it's like being gay in the hip hop, Baltimore club and soul music scenes.

Flickr-CreativeCommons: photo by Jason Morrison

President Obama’s executive actions on gun regulation, announced on January 12th, seek, in part, to put more muscle behind enforcement of current federal statutes.  One gun policy expert applauds the White House move:

“What President Obama did with these new executive actions is to actually give the federal government better capabilities to enforce the laws on the books, and this is meaningful.”

Dr. Daniel Webster is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, and the chair of Baltimore’s Homicide Commission.  We begin today with a conversation with Dr. Webster about what the federal and state governments can do legislatively to reverse the horrendous uptick in the number of homicides and shootings in Baltimore.

And we're joined once again by our Movie Mavens -- Jed Dietz, Director of the Maryland Film Festival,  and Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post.  They weigh in with their suggestions about what to see at the cinema this winter season, as the Golden Globe and Oscar competitions heat up, and discuss with Tom the powerful role violence plays in some of this season's movies -- an issue Ann Hornaday discusses in greater depth in her Critic's Notebook column in the Washington Post. 

Creative Alliance

Congressman Elijah Cummings joins me this morning to talk about President Obama’s executive actions to address the scourge of gun violence, and what Congress may do to support, or oppose, those efforts. Also, the barriers that former inmates face when they’re released from prison are substantial: what can be done to make re-entry after incarceration succeed? 

Plus, that gadget you got for Christmas is so last year.  Tech writer Marc Saltzman joins us from Las Vegas on this first day of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, with a preview of the next things we’ll soon be unable to live without.

And, Crankies are back.  It’s an old school form of storytelling that’s being adopted by some decidedly new school artists, including WYPR’s Aaron Henkin, who’s cranking up a new take on Out of the Blocks.  I’ll talk to Aaron, and to the women behind the 3rd Annual Baltimore Crankie Fest.    

With the holiday break behind us, Baltimore is bracing for another trial of an officer accused in the death of Freddie Gray. Jury selection in the trial of Officer Ceasar Goodson begins Wednesday. Of the six officers facing charges, he’s accused of the most serious crimes. Dr. Sheri Parks helps us take the pulse of the city.

Then, a conversation with the award winning actor and writer, Anna Deavere Smith, about her new one person play, which examines the so-called School to Prison Pipeline. Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education is a powerful piece of theater, developed after many conversations in Baltimore.

Plus, Steve Martin and his long-time musical collaborator, Edie Brickell, have written a new musical, which is in its pre-Broadway run at the Kennedy Center. Theater critic J Wynn Rousuck has a review.

And, from the city that brought you Natty Bo, Hon, after a decades long absence, Baltimore gets back in the business of rye whiskey. 


Fifty years ago last August, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. This morning historian Taylor Branch and legal scholar F. Michael Higginbotham discuss that most fundamental dimension of democracy: voting. We’ll talk about how federal anti-discrimination laws at the time were insufficient in opening up registration and we’ll discuss the status of voting rights as the 2016 presidential race picks up steam.

And, a year after Dr. King’s death, his widow, Coretta Scott King, visited Baltimore to support health workers who were organizing for higher wages at Johns Hopkins Hospital. We hear from two union members and civil rights organizer who recall that day.


Before the Supreme Court’s historic decision in 2013 that said states could no longer ban same-sex marriage, there was Edie Windsor and a big real estate tax bill. Roberta Kaplan is the lawyer who took Edie Windsor’s case to the Supreme Court, and when she won, the Defense of Marriage Act was no more. A conversation with Roberta Kaplan, who takes us behind the scenes of that historic case.

Then, Author Beth Baker says that Baby Boomers are finding all sorts of new ways to retire. She’ll tell us about the many new colors of the golden years.

Plus: Martin Goldsmith's grandfather and uncle tried to sail to Cuba and America to escape the Nazis in World War II. They were turned away, and eventually killed at Auschwitz. Goldsmith re-traces their final journey in a poignant book, Alex’s Wake.