“God don’t like ugly and could care less for beauty.”
(BALTIMORE – April 28, 2016) – Over the past 36 hours, news has emerged about a 13-year-old Baltimore boy who was shot by police after carrying a toy gun. Also in the news is a report of the gathering yesterday at Penn-North in recognition of the one-year anniversary since the tragic death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in police custody. Interestingly, however, there is no talk whatsoever on any Baltimore news outlet of the incredible heist that took place and subsequent rioting in Walbrook Junction on Election Day.
On this note, I must give incredible kudos to the very small cadre of black journalists in Baltimore, including Hassan Giordano of www.dmvdaily.com. Without outlets like his and www.bmorenews.com, a majority black city with over 600,000 people would otherwise lack a pure, independent voice.
The “heist” to which I am referring is the potential stealing of the Mayor’s Race by Catherine Pugh. Pugh, who was supported by the likes of Kweisi Mfume, Billy Murphy, Elijah Cummings and Jamal Bryant, is currently ahead of Sheila Dixon by about 2,700 votes.
There are still provisional “paper” ballots left to count. Further, there are questions hovering as it relates to 8 voting machines whereby the results were turned in on April 27th, the day after the election.
Now, granted, I am a big fan of Sheila Dixon so I do understand that I run the risk of coming off as a sore loser. At the same time, Dixon has fought a valiant battle to win back her seat despite attack ads that attempted assassinate her character.
None of this news is mentioned in any mainstream news outlet in Baltimore. Further, for a woman who has not once stooped in this campaign, Dixon owes it to herself, her supporters, and the City of Baltimore to at least learn the final numbers before conceding.
Bmorenews.com has always predicted that Dixon would win by at least 10 points. At present, Dixon is 3 points behind Pugh.
And that’s exactly where the local news is missing again. For instance, last week, Pugh poll workers told local media how Pugh’s camp offered them jobs at $12 an hour. However, when job seekers arrived at the Pugh office at Ellamont and Presbury, they were given a chicken box, slid out the side door to an awaiting bus, and told that they were being taken to an Early Voting location to cast their vote.
Can we just pause right here for a second?
Now, this occurred during the Early Voting period, according to would-be Pugh job seekers. And that ran from April 14 to April 21. So, here is where I personally think local media is complicit in burying the story.
Let me try it this way: If Sheila Dixon were accused of similar wrong doing, it would have been front-page news. Or, if Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, would have attempted such a funky move, liberals would have been protesting all throughout Annapolis and calling for his resignation.
In any event, the story of the “chicken boxes for votes”-gate was buried deeper than a body in Leakin Park, nowhere to be found.
And so, as if that wasn’t bad enough – news of the Pugh riots hit the news again on Election Day Tuesday. These were many of the same Pugh poll workers who were promised a job during Early Voting. They rioted at Pugh’s Walbrook Junction office early Tuesday morning. Apparently, they were expecting $100 for a day’s work.
Once the Pugh riot hit the news Tuesday at noon, it wasn’t really mentioned again until 6 pm. Sure, Bmorenews went to the scene and even got a taste of the “LIVE” voter intimidation on neighbors by Pugh workers. However, this voting scandal should have been blasting on all news outlets – given its severity. This is where local media is extremely suspect, just like in the case of the Freddie Gray Riots.
For instance, Bmorenews.com has reported that the riots did not even have to happen a year ago. Then Commissioner Anthony Batts closed the MTA Station at Mondawmin and did not let Baltimore City Public School Officials know; consequently, students at Frederick Douglass High School were released from school with no way of getting home. To date, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has yet to take responsibility for the riots, clearly caused by a lack of communication between her city agencies.
Let me say that in my 22, 23 years of journalism, I have never seen such critical news so deeply buried. From my unapologetically black perspective, this news was hidden because someone didn’t think it was important to report that Pugh workers were merely reacting to something that should have been properly addressed last week. Sadly, it obviously wasn’t important enough to highlight how hundreds of black people were tricked out of their votes while our famous, high-profile black leaders were quieter than a church mouse. Meanwhile, poor black people got used for their vote.
I tell you what: It was very important to those hundreds of struggling black people who only wanted what they were promised: a job. It is wrong and I am utterly ashamed of the Pugh camp for stooping so low. At the same time, the Maryland Democratic machine threw everything including the kitchen sink at Sheila Dixon and yet, she is not giving up.
Further, if these election shenanigans are any type of indication of the type of mayor Catherine Pugh will be, then my heart hurts tremendously for my hometown, the City of Baltimore. Further, to see those four black men on stage in particular whose silence co-signs for such ill behavior, I am saddened even more. These men have received more media attention than most will ever, however, they have been collectively silent over the past 15 years as African American progress in Baltimore has been reversed – thanks to the guise of Democratic powerhouses like one, Martin O’Malley.
Responsible for arresting one in six Baltimoreans, O’Malley bullied these otherwise powerful black leaders repeatedly. Not once did O’Malley get checked: Not for disrespecting then State’s Attorney Pat Jessamy, not for deeming the death of black contractor Robert Lee “Bob” Clay a suicide, and not for his non-investment in East and West Baltimore’s black community.
Education floundered during the O’Malley mayorship as Dr. Andres Alonso removed 75% of the principals in the system. The schools are in such horrific status that Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, once a national leader, has dropped as low as 64th in the state according to US News and World Report.
Yet, nobody says anything. Sure, we can show up and do the cameos. But in terms of standing up for real change for black people in Baltimore, as did our beloved Congressman Parren J. Mitchell or state Senator Clarence Mitchell or Delegate Ruth Kirk – the aforementioned black leaders have been MIA at best.
Black people deserve better. Sheila Dixon also deserves better. And so, as far as I am concerned, the Baltimore media is just as complicit as the bullying Maryland Democratic Party that obviously supports dirty campaigning – including the chicken box-gate scandal and the fact that Alex Sanchez and his Clean Slate PAC that was fined $55,000 for their attack ads on Sheila Dixon; Sanchez is a former employee of Gov. O’Malley and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; further, his PAC financially supported Pugh).
Here’s something else that was buried in this election. While the media noted Sheila Dixon’s conviction often when referencing her, not once was Pugh identified as “Girl #2” in the prosecution of former Baltimore Police Commissioner Ed Norris. “Girl #2” was noted as accompanying Norris shopping trips to New York City with Norris.
Not once was Pugh’s character put on ‘Front Street’ anywhere near the same level as Dixon’s.
Just like how the story of the Harford County Sheriffs killer never once showed the white male killer’s face, yet the Prince George’s County police killed and videotaped by the Ford Brothers a week later showed the three brothers’ faces almost immediately on TV, on the radio, in print, and definitely on the web .
While this institutional racism in media is a separate issue, I have longed to point attention to the racial disparity of media reporting in Baltimore. While it is subtle, it is nonetheless lethal and debilitating. Over time, the news becomes all about black people doing bad, when the truth is, there are a lot more poor white people doing bad in America. They just never hit the news.
And so, as we prepare to go to the Baltimore City Board of Elections today to hear the final county, Sheila Dixon’s camp is being represented by Attorney Robert DeShields. Rarely in the media, he may be unknown to the masses, but power players in this town know exactly who he is. So, Dixon has a legal giant leading the charge on monitoring the counting of these last votes.
Additionally, Bmorenews.com reported last night that DeShields has questions about the 8 missing voting machines in the which the results were not delivered until Wednesday. DeShields is concerned about the “Chain of Custody” of the voting machines that were unaccounted for, who was watching the machines overnight, and who delivered the voting results to the Board of Elections.
All this to say – despite chicken boxes for votes-gate, despite voter intimidation by the Pugh camp, and despite the Pugh riots (which came one day before the one-year anniversary of the Freddie Gray Riots), today we are looking forward to some answers. At the current rate, it is going to get even bloodier.
Keep watching www.bmorenews.com, the news before the news where we uncover the truth.