Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baltimore wants us to believe. It's just that I'm not sure in what. In God? In country? In ourselves? In a chicken in every pot? During a recent visit to the city, I first saw one of the black-and-white "BELIEVE" signs stuck in the dirt in a vacant lot.
I had a hunch that the sign pertained to more than that particular corner. That was confirmed when I began to see BELIEVE signs scattered throughout the neighborhoods. It got me wondering so when I returned home, I searched the Web.
A Christian Science Monitor story explains that every few years the city seems compelled to search for a new identifying word, phrase or logo. The latest, the BELIEVE slogan, is meant to make Baltimore residents feel better about themselves. The campaign cost $2 million.
In the past, Baltimore has been called Charm City, Queen City of the Patapsco and Nickel Town. All of which are better than the "Mobtown" moniker of the 19th century and better too, in my mind, than the 20th century Crabtown. I'm thinking "The City that Reads" didn't do all that much for tourism, and apparently got changed by vandals to "The City that Breeds."
It seems the "BELIEVE" signs haven't held up that well against vandalism either, getting changed to "BEHAVE." But there's a new mayor in town. I BELIEVE that any day now, there could be new signs with a new slogan.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.