(BALTIMORE – May 12, 2018) – Question: Who is advising Baltimore Mayor Catherine Elizabeth Pugh? I mean, seriously; she is fumbling the basics. For the record, I am a Sheila Dixon supporter and worked diligently in the last election to help her win. So, I had to be quiet for a minute and give Pugh a chance. Otherwise, I would have given detractors something to scream about. God forbid me from hearing those bitter words: “Sour grapes!”
Anyway, Pugh proceeded in typical “Pugh fashion” as if she had the world in the palm of her hand. For one, she decided to move AFRAM, this majority African American city’s annual cultural festival, from downtown to Druid Hill Park. If anyone expected it to prosper after such a move, I can only point to every major television show that was switched to a different evening than the one on which it started. Long story short: It marks the beginning of the end.
It’s just like a longtime business changing its address after 20 years of being in one location. It’s like starting all over again. However, I managed to remain quiet.
Then, Pugh attempted to cancel the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade. Ummm, … I was not quiet (although I tried to be). But, hell – who tries to cancel ‘America’s voice of reason’ from being celebrated? So, I did break the rule of being quiet and blasted the woman who bought votes with two thousand chicken boxes. Hey, I’m human – but I reiterate, my goal was to give Pugh a chance.
In any event, I have otherwise successfully stayed out of the way; that is, until Detective Sean Suiter was killed. In my own defense, I will say this: While I have done a number of broadcasts on Suiter, rarely if ever have I mentioned Pugh in the same breath because it was and is a Baltimore Police Department issue.
Now, I did allude to then-Commissioner Kevin Davis’ handling of the ordeal, but I barely mentioned Pugh, if at all.
Again, I am aware that before I go on an onslaught against whom I think is an illegal mayor (if you recall, the election was decertified and not a soul was fired from the city or state Board of Elections after 1,800 voting irregularities were uncovered, a number of votes were not counted at all, and even after the State of Maryland – under Attorney General Brian Frosh – dropped the investigation on Gary Brown’s illegal campaign contributions to his beloved mentor in which he threw his own mother, brother and stepfather under the bus). Still, I had to let things settle and give Pugh a chance.
Fastforward to a Baltimore Sun article,“Baltimore mayor’s new spokesman resigns on first day after questions about legal settlements arise”, written on March 14, 2018. While Pugh introduced Darryl Strange as her new spokesman to the media that morning, he was fired by the evening of the same day for legal issues.
Interestingly, the article quoted Pugh as stating: “As for anyone who applies to work at City Hall and particularly in a senior role, there is an extensive vetting process that takes time to complete.”
And then, there was another similar scenario for the Baltimore mayor. The newly hired deputy director of Baltimore’s Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement, Charles G. Byrd Jr., resigned after it was discovered that he was disbarred in 2017 for clipping money from a client for his own personal use.
Oops! I almost forgot about the Chair of the Baltimore Oversight Panel, Marvin McKenstry, Jr., had to also step down after double parking and refusing to obey police instructions.
The latest in Pugh’s failed string of appointments came with the removal of the new Baltimore Police Commissioner, Darryl De Sousa, just last week. News reports stated that the Feds were digging in on him for failing to file taxes, which is a misdemeanor but has the rumblings of something much deeper. Honestly, when is the last time you heard of the Feds going in on someone for failing to file taxes? Huh?
To boot, the new acting police commissioner, Gary Tuggle, failed to properly fill-out an ethics form – suggesting that he lives in Baltimore City; his $750,000 home is actually in Prince George’s County.
If ever there was a time when Sheila Dixon could blast Pugh, it is now. Dixon repeatedly said throughout the campaign in 2016 that “we need a person who can hit the ground running” and not a person who has to learn where the bathroom is.
All through the 2016 election season, Pugh touted her local and state political experience. She painted a picture of herself as if she were well-seasoned and ready for prime time. And, she had the support of the Maryland Democratic Party and its usual cast of characters, including former state Senator Nathaniel Oaks who is facing jail time for a $15,000 bribe.
To say the least, we are not seeing a pro. We are witnessing debacle after debacle over what are otherwise rookie mistakes.
Meanwhile, we have public schools without heat during the coldest months, some 13 schools where no student is proficient in math, a Detective Sean Suiter case that is still unsolved, incredibly faulty water bills, people’s home that are being illegally seized, a gang problem, a still excessive murder rate, and an opioid epidemic that is off-the-hook and diligently ruining our communities.
The most interesting development to date is the number of original Pugh supporters who, one by one, have confessed to me in private that they were wrong about endorsing/supporting her. While I won’t say names, they include a lawyer, a developer, a reporter, a political operative and a firefighter.
Hate to say it, but I told you so!
C’mon, 2020. I’m ready to get the ball rolling for the next Mayor of Baltimore.