(BALTIMORE – February 24, 2016) – Today’s forum at Roland Park Place was one of the most pointed conversations on the mayor’s race to date. To say the least, I extremely enjoyed this one, in part, because there were only six candidates for Mayor of Baltimore who showed up.
While David Warnock was absent last night down at Carter Memorial, Senator Catherine Pugh was visibly absent from this one.
In any event, fewer candidates made for a more in-depth discussion.
I should add that the seniors may have shown the rest of the city how a mayoral forum should operate.
No, they didn’t have the top journalists in the city ubiquitously present. Instead, the seniors brought their wisdom and experience to the table and, I must say, it was refreshing to hear pointed questions on everything from minimum wage to whether or not the city is ready for another white mayor.
I think we need more pointed discussions like this, removing all of the excess rhetoric and verbiage which has limited the value of a lot of forums thus far. The seniors knew their subject matter, the history of Baltimore, and had keen insight that comes with having lived longer. They were not a joke.
I had a chance to sit beside one resident, Ms. Hess. Honestly, we had a great conversation. I am reminded that communication is what is lacking in today’s society. When I told her, for instance, about how the prescription drug epidemic is killing a new generation of addicts, she was almost in tears.
For me, this is the beauty of Baltimore. It is majority black; yes. However, there are a whole lot of other folks in this city who truly love the city and the people. These seniors are – like most sane people – sick of the violence.
At the same time, they are clear about common sense solutions, such as making Baltimore business-friendly again and that the next mayor has to be able to work with Gov. Larry Hogan.
And this is exactly what I believe Sheila Dixon understands more than her counterparts: How to ensure that everyone is a part of the positive transformation we so desperately need. And, get rid of what is not working and build on what is working.
Finally, I was in a room with people who did not need a history lesson. These seniors saw 1968’s riots. And they also say 2015. They were not pleased. They seemed terribly disappointed that we, as a community, allowed things to get so bad in places like Sandtown-Winchester that some folks felt like they had no other choice except to riot.
Well, that’s it for now. Time to get ready for tonight’s Open Society Mayoral Forum at Pleasant Hope Baptist Church at 400 E. Belvedere (7 pm).