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Home > The Glover Report > The Glover Report: Fox’s Town Hall Provides Initial Media Peep at Baltimore Mayoral Candidates, 10.27.15

The Glover Report: Fox’s Town Hall Provides Initial Media Peep at Baltimore Mayoral Candidates, 10.27.15

Approximately 150 people or so attended last night's forum at Douglas Memorial.

A smart voter is an informed voter

By Doni Glover, Publisher

(BALTIMORE – October 28, 2015) - There were no shockers or bombshells. I don’t think we saw anything unexpected or the like.

At Fox News’ Town Hall where the focus was on what’s happened since Freddie Gray’s tragic death and the civil unrest that followed, a pretty nice crowd came out to hear a panel give its take on the developments, positive or negative, since the volcanic spring this year where rioting was nearly in full-effect in Baltimore. The last riot in this city was 47 years ago.

21-year-old activist Kwame Rose, Sen. Cathy Pugh, City Councilman Carl Stokes, Pastor Todd Yeary, Former Mayor Sheila Dixon, and media personality Catalina Byrd.

The underlying issues (poverty, vacant housing, mass incarceration and ex-offenders, unemployment, worst schools in the state) that came to the forefront during that tumultuous time in Baltimore where every media outlet in the world was here did not happen overnight. Nor will the solutions. The difference is that the world now knows - and prayerfully understands - a bit more of what lies behind “Freddie Gray”: the tale of two cities. There is one Baltimore that is invested in, and there is another that is not. If anything, what we have seen thus far is band-aid approaches and half-hearted gestures by a City administration where the chief, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, has been dropped by her fundraiser and has opted not to run for re-election. At present, she is working to save face.

That fundraiser, Colleen Martin Lauer, is the same fundraiser outfit that rakes in campaign dough for Martin O'Malley, Marilyn Mosby, Nick Mosby and Brandon Scott.

In short, the Martin O'Malley machine is still in Baltimore. This time, it comes in the form of Mr. Mosby, the 7th district City Councilman who has the very district where Freddie Gray kicked-off. Imagine that! I call it the O'Malley Syndrome: seeking a promotion before having mastered the current station.

I cannot fail to mention that repeatedly, Martin O'Malley is the politician most associated with the benign neglect of Baltimore's black communities over the past 16 years. He is also credited with arresting one in six Baltimoreans during the era of Zero Tolerance where residents were incarcerated on a quota basis. It was a ridiculous time in Baltimore. He then took his methods to Annapolis, and now, his aim is to run the country.

Long story short: If O'Malley can't win Maryland, let a lone Baltimore, it won't look to good on the national scene. Nick Mosby, for all intents and purposes, represents Team O'Malley.   

One fact pointed out on more than one occasion was that there is no such thing as “One Baltimore.” That's the name of the City's next generation "BELIEVE" campaign headed by the exact same PR folks. To date, I believe some $20 million or so has been raised post-Freddie Gray for this initiative. I also believe I heard the campaign spokesman say the City is waiting on the community for input on the direction of these dollars. (Unbelievable! Honestly, you can't make this stuff up!)

This brings me to the unfortunate part about Freddie Gray and the subsequent civil unrest: It is all happening in an election year and so, much of what we see from City Hall is more about PR than it is about substantive change. Put differently, Mayor Blake has lacked a genuine connection with the people of Baltimore for a long time and hence, the perception is that she has never cared about poor people, including those in Gilmor Homes.

Catalina Byrd made the point first about there not being 'one Baltimore'. Both Carl Stokes and Sheila Dixon agreed. Also on stage with them was Kwame Rose, a young activist, and Sen. Catherine Elizabeth Pugh. Additionally, the pastor of the church, Douglas Memorial’s Todd Yeary, served as a panelist.

Possibly, the forum being focused on the aftermath of Freddie Gray was too limiting. Maybe, the fact that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake and Councilman Nick Mosby opted not to show for the forum threw a monkey wrench into the program. Or, the fact that the forum was not held in Sandtown – but instead closer to Bolton Hill – took some of the sting out of the people’s interest. I don't know, I just got the sense that the forum didn’t get as down and dirty as us political junkies would have liked.

Granted, it is still relatively early with a solid 6 months of campaigning to endure, mind you, through the dead of winter. Dixon has stated repeatedly that she is looking forward to the winter campaign as it is her birthday season. Clearly, our former mayor wants her old job back. Needless to say, she's leading the pack. Presumably, Team O'Malley still has some prepping of the young politician (Councilman Mosby). No doubt, Mosby could have been the clear target of tonight's debate, especially with the blazing news stories coming out of his district, including the sexual harassment of multiple women in Gilmor Homes in what has been dubbed a sex-for-service scandal at the Housing Authority. At issue is whether or not the Housing Authority knew about the sexual harassment, and if they did, why didn't they act?

Another issue Mosby could face is the notion of 'conflict of interest' if he were to become mayor. Political analyst Barry Rascovar suggested it is indeed a conflict of interest. Others think Mosby is attempting to capitalize off of his wife's name recognition. Not sure about any of this, however, I do wonder how long Councilman Mosby knew about the issues at Gilmor Homes. I also want to know if he was aware of the living conditions and lack of water at Lakeview Towers.   

On the Housing Authority's website, it states: "Baltimore Housing's mission is to ensure that all citizens of Baltimore have access to adequate and affordable housing opportunities in safe, livable and decent neighborhoods."

Last week, a press conference was held at Gilmor Homes that brought attention to the harassment along with the living conditions there. Evidence of mice and roaches were featured in the video taken of some residents' homes. There are also reports of no heat; in one instance, a woman hadn't had heat in two years. This brings tears to my eyes to even think that somebody turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to this! Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano is now in the hot seat again as the buck stops there. Mayor Blake said that she would absolutely not fire him. (Ouch!)     

Let me add, Fox News should be commended for starting the ball rolling this election season and providing attendees and television viewers alike with their first peep at the 2016 mayoral candidates. Seeing Pugh, Dixon and Stokes on the stage has really wet my appetite for more forums as soon as possible. I think people in Baltimore deserve to know who all of the candidates are, their track records, and where they stand on the issues. Most of us do not want to see another riot. At the same time, we don't want to keep hearing these fairy tales about this city being united. I am reminded of when Mayor Blake chose to put $10 million on the Grand Prix but was not willing to find $600,000 for the recs. That same Grand Prix, incidentally, never got off the ground. In other words, $10 million of taxpayer money went down the drain. Boy, if that doesn't take me to the $200 million O'Malley and Anthony Brown blew on the Obamacare website only to have to go back and spend another $80 million on the Connecticut model. It also takes me to the missing $60 million at Baltimore City Public School headquarters. 

You can't overlook people because they are poor and you can't overlook people because they don't vote. It's just not good business. Today, with Gilmor Homes all in the news, these same people who Mosby overlooked could be the Achilles heel in his citywide political venture. No, he is not the first to overlook poor, non-voters. But it still doesn't make it alright.

If you grew up in Baltimore like I did, you would really understand, in my honest opinion, how significant the rec center is to the community. The rec is more than ping pong and weightlifting, bumper pool and basketball. The rec was where teaching went on, too. And mentoring. But again, if you didn't grow up in Baltimore, you'd have no idea of what Operation Champ meant to us and the proud legacy it created after the 1968 riots. It's the same thing today: A continued divestment in poor and black communities led to a black eye for the city in front of a world audience. People all over the world tried to make sense of why Baltimoreans were so angry.

Quite possibly the most significant point made last night was that people have to show up on April 26th – or at the Early Voting – and participate in the electoral process. No longer can people make excuses about not voting. It is simply unacceptable. The electoral process has its flaws, but it has its merits, too.

Lastly, had I posed a question, it would be this: Can you give us your assessment of how well the City and the State - which is headed by a Republican, Gov Larry Hogan - are working together since the riots? From my vantage point, the answer is: Not that well. Because Mayor Blake apparently has interests in being intricately involved in the Democratic National Committee, her relationship with Gov. Hogan is not that great. She seems more intent on belittling the guy than anything else. This is quite juvenile. While her mindset towards Hogan might serve her purposes, it does very little for the citizens of this fine city who actually deserve so much more.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the City of Baltimore needs a solid relationship with the Hogan administration. Anything less is simply uncivilized. 

In all, I appreciate the forum. It will soon be up to the voters to decided who will be the next Mayor of Baltimore. I think it will get increasingly interesting as the days go by and that forums like this ultimately encourage more people to choose to get out there and vote. By the way, even if you can't vote, you can volunteer for a candidate. Every little bit helps a campaign, trust me.

Dearest Family: Vote! I repeat: Vote! On April 26th, 2016 as if your life depended on it.  (Cuz, it does!

SEE PICS: Fox's Town Hall Forum

Tags: 10.27.15, The Glover Report: Fox’s Town Hall Provides Initial Media Peep at Baltimore Mayoral Candidates

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