No kidding. But if you think this place drives students to drink then maybe you should see what it does to the faculty and staff…
The Rolling Stones? U2? Aerosmith? At Comcast? That’s what the DB article speculates in reporting news of Comcast soon hosting more outside entertainment events, all in the name of ‘saving athletics’ on campus.
Our first reaction was, ‘where the heck are they going to park?’ But of course, we know that answer. As we see from football, basketball, and area graduations, the students and people who work here will be displaced. Grad students intent on research that could lead to breakthroughs to help society are told to move their cars (or be towed) and stay away. The DB news is that all these projects will lose another couple weeks’ worth of effort to serve the commercial needs of the athletics empire.
Based on that article, SGA student affairs vice president Josh Ratner is in the running for colossally stupid public remark of the month. Commenting on news of the concert deal: “It provides an opportunity for students to have entertainment or to have something to do right in College Park.” Besides scholarship, we presume.
Our brand continues to be diluted.
Amid stiff headwinds and the project having become enmeshed in politics, the developer courted by Loh to give us a new northern portal to campus has backed off on his planning. This may quash our theory that this was a “done deal” but what is visible so far is consistent with a deal having become undone when gubernatorial candidates started to choose sides. That risks Loh being on the wrong side of the next governor, so for now, better that a project of this scope be left in limbo (deniability all around) – but look for it to be revived (possibly with another developer) depending on who is ahead in the governor’s race. All that was announced tonight was a developer’s intention not to go forward – not President Loh.
Assistant basketball coach Dalonte Hill is busted – again – for DUI, and this time also with a ‘dangerous substance’ charge too. How many times is this? We’re going to start losing count. We’ve written about him in the past too.
This is the kind of role model we get for our students with a $300,000 contract? That’s four or more assistant professors we might have had. Think about this next time you’re short on seats in key classes needed to graduate.
The campus is unquestionably disadvantaged by not having a convivial environment that speaks to being a campus town where people would actually want to live (as opposed to one of the state’s hot spots for prostitution, as was reported previously). But leadership’s mishandling of the Route 1 redevelopment was confounded by city and county planners who optimize for business needs – theirs – instead of a coherent plan. No wonder then any sense of “east campus” development is in the tank and Loh looks to other fronts – in this case, the north side of campus.
But Loh’s practice of thinking of his legacy first and impact later is getting us far deeper in debt – this time not just financially (as with the big ten move) but politically. The Post article shows that Loh will pretty much have to go this one alone.
The devil is always in the details, and in case of the Purple Line, details give shelter for devils of biblical proportions, as we see in more discussion by a Post article which sheds light on the public-private partnership which will enable the Purple Line to advance.
The corporations which will implement this project get a sweet deal. “Public-private partnership” means they will have all the power of the state’s eminent domain muscle – that’s the public part – but then enjoy being ‘private’ when it comes to cashing the checks. They get effectively a 30-year funding stream. What role does the state play? We – meaning you, me and a couple million other taxpayers – are responsible for accepting the risk.
It’s a sweet deal for these companies. We’ll reimburse them for engineering costs up front, buy properties (with a gun to the head of homeowners along the route), and supposedly get a little piece of the revenue from ridership down the line. The lion’s share of that cash stream, however, goes to companies, which will operate the line. There is language about incentives for them to provide good quality service – this is chiefly window dressing since any docking of payments would be contested by an army of lobbyists who will make clear that nobody representing you and me are at the table – but if ridership tanks (for any of a host of unforeseen reasons) then it won’t be those companies holding the bag. In fact, after using this project to pay their bills for only a few years, these companies could freely flip the contract to some new cut-rate player and just walk away, leaving maintenance of the contract in the hands of some cut-rate operator who might cheerfully accept the reduced revenue stream knowing they still have a profit margin after rendering some token service.
Officials today will enjoy the gratitude of these corporate benefactors of O’Malley’s governmental largesse (which is to say, well-heeled campaign donors), and maybe even a few constituents who won’t fully have thought through the horror of what was just done to them, but the Purple Line partnership takes the “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone” practice of rape-by-government to whole new levels.
Maryland’s historically black colleges won a federal ruling that state universities unnecessarily duplicated their programs, needlessly cutting into their market share. This is a long-fought issue with lots of twists and turns, and the battle won’t stop here – there is no remedy yet called out – but it doesn’t speak well for the University System of Maryland’s handling of programs, nor of the state.
The ‘College Park is becoming a trashy party school’ thread continues with this morning’s DB report about Terrapin Turf’s opening:
[T]he “epitome” of what she said her family hopes the bar will provide for the community.
Seriously? Bars are an important resource that can provide for the community? Maybe if your community is comprised of people whose needs involve dancing girls in tutus and a simulated nightclub scene created by wall-to-wall TVs.
Well, that and one more way. That Terrapin Turf serves Admission’s needs by offering more ways to par-tay at College Park we have no doubt.
The article demonstrates once again how the city maneuvers to create this kind of seamy campus town environment. Did you catch the part about Terrapin Turf needing a year and a half to win permits from the city and county? Tell us any business that can live for its first 1.5 years (and more) before opening its doors to the first customer. Any business, that is, outside of the grip of the corrupt county liquor board that ensures high demand for
over-priced high-margin drinks and entertainment by throttling supply, with creative ways to keep that startup operation afloat … so long as you play ball with their people.
Does anyone on campus get a cut of that action? Or are the officials in Main Admin content just to live off the recruiting opportunities afforded them by the free advertising among prospective students?
Let’s review where we are on community, and especially the trends along Route 1, shall we?
Varsity Grille – closed, and reconstruction continues as it is converted to a Denny’s (with liquor license?)
Roti – closed, being renovated into bar.
Y’Lov frozen yogurt – closed, property being incorporated into bar next door.
Seven Seas Chinese restaurant – closed recently (after many, many years) and being renovated into “Piggy’s grill and bar” according to posted permit (but the sign cheerfully directs you to the Seven Seas Rockville location.)
ChiDogs hot dog restaurant – closed, looking for new tenant. Gosh, you think a bar might go in? Seems like there is a pattern.
This may reflect planning but not for any sense of an academical village along Route 1 or grand partnership between campus and town. It’s more likely a demonstration of how racketeering works, to maximize cash flow to the big bosses.
And lest you missed it, a bit more of the light of day was cast on plans to bring I95 right to our front door. The golf course, a bit of green in an otherwise increasingly-paved urban area, will get trashed along the way, making for a more grand front door (says Main Admin) and enabling up-scale campus housing, entertainment venues and business.
Translation: It will make room for more business. Remember the now-dead East Campus plan? It was also going to make room for up-scale campus housing, entertainment venues and business. As it moved forward, special deals were made, city leaders got their take, the Purple Line got a go-ahead to crash through the middle and in the end, all that’s going in is a patchwork quilt of little businesses. Instead of improving the lot of Route 1 and the city, it has all simply gotten worse.
So when you hear about the golf course giving its all for lofty and important-sounding community goals, remember, in the end it is just about cash. This is an administration that pushes entrepreneurial ventures. We’ll believe they are replacing one recreational venue (say, the golf course) with another (unspecified) when we see it. In the mean time, we’ll presume they are cutting deals to replace the golf course with businesses with whom they want to partner. It’ll be good for Loh and the gang. Whether it is good for College Park remains to be seen.
What are the odds this is a done deal? Pretty good. Loh’s history is one of acting first and then trickling out news about it later. By the time the Post carries a story about UM looking into the possibility of this project, we have to assume that the ink is already dry on the contracts.