By: Comrade Carlo
In South Baltimore, in an uninhabited former industrial zone called Port Covington, Goldman Sachs and Sagamore Development are moving in. They may disguise themselves under the local group Weller Development, but they’re backed by Wall Street. Weller Development has made an arrangement with the city on the behalf of these capitalist pigs, to take money out of the city’s coffers and place it directly into their pockets. The area of Port Covington was desolate two years ago when the project officially began. Nobody lived in the vacant neighborhood. It wasn’t zoned for occupation. So the city has begun building roads and connecting utilities for more investment in an unsustainable colonial project, while inhabited buildings crumble around us.
The deal that the Weller Development group procured is officially called a Tax Increment Funding Agreement. In essence, the city will pay out of our pockets for all this infrastructure development. In exchange, Weller Development will agree to build and open up shop in Port Covington. The deal is so bad the Journal of Business and Technology published the terms and commented that the only concession from Waller Development for the $107 million project was they would give a pittance to a local school and promise to hire 51% of their staff from the city. The city is so eager to roll over for our exploiters they had to sacrifice millions of our taxes in return for a speculative revenue and a half-hearted handshake. It is not immediately clear to me how this deal will benefit the residents of Baltimore, many of whom live day-to-day with the threat of being blown up in their own homes due to the failing gas pipeline systems supplied by another public-private partnership with BGE.
Whose side is the city on that they allow this to continue? That they condone the persistent robbery of the Black and Brown working class? They disguise this deal as creating jobs, but wouldn’t investing in the city bring jobs? The city government officials are obvious agents of big capital and colonization. Port Covington is an everyday form of neocolonialism, where groups of white capitalists seek to extract resources from our city, to set up themselves a fortress of exploitation, and use the city government as their manager in the process. All over the country, billionaires hold cities hostage with their threats to take “their investments” to more accommodating local governments, with more exploitable workers. Baltimore City government pretends it has no choice but to turn our taxes over to Wall Street, and they’re happy to do so. Meanwhile, Baltimore residents are ducking bullets and eating the poisonous trash that the city sanctions business permits for. We got to have each other’s back, because Wall Street and our “representatives” sure as hell do not.
Source: FULD, BENJAMIN S. “‘We’re Not against Development, We’re against Bad Deals’: How Baltimore Negotiated the Port Covington Community Benefits Agreement.” Journal of Business & Technology Law, vol. 13, no. 2, Jan. 2018, pp. 279–317