Or, Pot, Progress, Peace
Since I have lived in Montgomery County Maryland for all my life (55 years) and am white, you may be wondering why I am thinking about declaring for Mayor of Baltimore.
The answer is simple really, this is my state and Baltimore should be the hub of economic, cultural, financial and civic advancement in the state — and it is none of these.
This week Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced she did not intend to stand for re-election and a look at her record, as told by the Baltimore Sun, is so shockingly abysmal, it doesn’t surprise me her internal polling has indicated she couldn’t win re-election right now as an animal control officer.
As the Baltimore Sun article details, she’s either a bad liar, or has a very different way of looking at accomplishment than everybody else in the world.
From the Sun – “Announcing that she would not seek re-election, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Friday she’s proud of her record. “That track record includes not always making what many would think is the political decision or the popular decision, but it’s the right decision,” she said at a City Hall news conference. “I’ve always done what I knew would move the city forward, and my record reflects that.”
The Sun article then did something Rawlings-Blake is probably very upset about, they looked at each item she mentioned in her announcement and compared it to the truth.
Rawlings-Blake claimed she “put more resources than any other administration into reforming the Baltimore City Police Department, resulting in a collaboration with the Department of Justice.” The Sun’s analysis of that looked very different
“It’s true that federal justice officials launched a collaborative review of police practices last October, after The Baltimore Sun reported that the city had paid $5.7 million in court judgments and settlements in 102 civil suits alleging police misconduct since 2011. But after the April death of Freddie Gray, from severe spinal injuries received while he was in police custody, Attorney General Loretta Lynch launched a full-scale civil rights investigation into city police. Such an investigation is not collaborative but rather reviews whether police officers engage in patterns of using excessive force.
Translation? The police rank-and-file despise her and every top police appointment she made, and they are so upset about it, they aren’t even arresting people committing murder literally in the street. Baltimore is setting murder records and simultaneously setting low arrest records. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Federal government as noted is NOT cooperating with her to improve the situation; they are investigating how it got so out of control under her “leadership”.
For her to even mention her relationship with the police or the police departments performance in a list of her accomplishments is like Hitler taking credit for the birth of Israel. What nerve. Her next “accomplishment” was just as ridiculous.
From the Mayor — Rawlings-Blake said she reduced unemployment by one-third, adding 12,000 new jobs to the local economy.
The Sun of course examined this claim and also found it without merit.
“Since July 2010, the number of Baltimore City residents with jobs has increased by about 12,200, up about 4.6 percent, according to the most recent Labor Department report, which dates to July and is not seasonally adjusted. The unemployment rate has fallen from 11.7 percent to 8.2 percent — about 30 percent. Business payrolls also have increased by about 4.5 percent. But Rawlings-Blake entered office in 2010, after the economy had cratered.
Any growth since then — considered by economists to be a period of recovery — also has occurred statewide and nationally, where by many measures it has been more robust.
Employment in the U.S. has increased 6.9 percent since July 2010, while payrolls have increased 9.1 percent. The unemployment rate nationally has fallen 44 percent, from 9.4 percent to 5.3 percent. In Maryland, employment has increased about 5 percent since July 2010, while payrolls are up 5.8 percent. The unemployment rate in Maryland has fallen about 31 percent, from 7.5 percent in July 2010 to 5.2 percent this past July.
This jobs claim is part of a pattern she used throughout her political career, she simply takes credit for anything going well whether she had a hand in it or not, and puts her losses up to racism, sexism, whatever excuse she thinks will sell and the results are clear, they don’t exist.
Rawlings Blake – “She said she reversed the decline in the city’s recreation centers, opening the first new center in a decade.
The Sun – “Rawlings-Blake built a new recreation center in Morrell Park last year. (Another recreation center in Clifton Park opened in 2013, after a renovation and two more are slated to open in the next two years.) But three years ago, she also came under fire for the decision to close four recreation centers and turn over 10 others to private operators or the school system. She and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young have been at odds for more than a year about future plans.”
Even if she had opened an extra rec center, that is an insignificant accomplishment for the Mayor of a major city and belongs on the list of things that probably would have happened, with or without her. Her next claim is just as absurd.
Rawlings-Blake – “She said she reduced teen pregnancy by one-third.”
The Sun – “It’s true that teen pregnancy in Baltimore City has dropped by about one-third since 2009. But since 2010, when Rawlings-Blake entered office, it has fallen about 18.5 percent, from 53.3 per 1,000 female teens aged 15-19 in 2010 to 43.4 in 2013. (These) Declines are in line with broader trends. Statewide, the birth rate to mothers ages 15 to 19 (per 1,000 female teens) fell 33 percent since 2009 and about 30 percent since 2010.”
Once again, she simply added her name to the reason for something happening, which was clearly part of a much bigger state-wide and national trend.”
The big point here isn’t that she’s out or a liar however, the big point is — how much good could be done as a result.
So what does the Spain for Mayor of Baltimore platform look like?
POT – the greatest civil rights violation in Maryland history is underway right now and this Mayor and other black leaders are letting it happen without even a protest. Thousands of young black men (way out of proportion to white pot arrests) have been arrested, incarcerated, and their lives and records ruined == over the possession and sale of marijuana — a plant that is good for you.
The Maryland Black Caucus KNOWS this, they were the ones who put the pressure on Mike Miller and the others powers that be in Annapolis last year to get pot decriminalized under 10 grams — but that effort falls miles short and was really just one more way to help the white people and one more way to keep the blacks in this state under control. Why do I say that?
Because now the white youths of Maryland can purchase their marijuana and smoke it without ruining their lives or college careers while the thousands and thousands of blacks arrested for the same crime rot in jail for doing the exact same thing OR for selling it to them. Wow. Where is the black leadership in the state on this issue? Freddie Gray was a drug dealer if his rap sheet was remotely accurate, but he wasn’t driving around suburban Maryland selling to white kids with money, he was on a hot corner in a hot zone and he paid with his life. This must stop and not by bankrupting the city with huge judgments.
If Pot was actually legalized, if the sentences of those arrested for possession AND sale were pardoned and their records expunged – SO they could participate in the new marijuana industry in the state — this would go a long way to alleviating the discrimination these young black men (and some women) have suffered.
Baltimore could be like Amsterdam, Denver Colorado, a lot of cities in Oregon and several cities in Canada where “coffee” shops line a district where marijuana sales and associated businesses flourish legally, cleanly and without forcing one minority group into jail for having committed the crime of figuring out first, how much good can come from smoking this plant. I’ve smoked pot (I inhaled) and I’ve never suffered the consequences a black man in my position would have, this is is not justice, it’s racism against blacks.
The city must go to Annapolis in a united front and demand the legalization of using (and obviously selling and/or growing) marijuana as opposed to spending tens of millions to unsuccessfully suppress it. Growing and selling marijuana here in the state will help the cartel situation in Mexico by the way, depriving those cartels of that money and focusing it on Baltimore. Look at the tax revenues in Colorado if you want an eye-opener, they’ve exceeded every expectation, except the bad ones.
Progress – My platform pitch here is simple, I don’t believe in handouts, increasing welfare of social benefits, which just make the recipients dependent of the aid and politically tied to just one party. That’s a sickness that leads to the decline that is Baltimore. I’d open the city up to investment; development and broad based economic reform and incentive that would strip away all the growth barriers now in place.
I’ll be candid, I don’t think adequate public facilities ordinances and/or growth restrictions actually improve anybody’s quality of life. Better to have lots of jobs and a little traffic congestion than no jobs, no development, no traffic — and slums instead — dependent on the government for reform rather than the business community. Forget that burned out CVS and that rec center Rawlings-Blake is crowing about. Elect me Mayor of Baltimore and I’ll create 20 times that amount of new economic activity in just 2 years.
Peace – I think peace comes from understanding, good paying jobs, and people who care about each other. Twenty years ago I went to Annapolis to create Maryland Pre-paid College Trust, a state program that has put 300,000 Marylanders through college WITHOUT any government money. It’s the most successful program the state has ever had in the education arena — and I designed it, got it passed and served on the board in the early years. If you want that kind of actual success for OUR city, Baltimore, vote for Spain.