By Hassan Giordano
(BALTIMORE – April 14, 2018) – It’s a process that the citizens of the 41st district have grown downright apathetic towards, as evident in their disdain for the announcement by the district’s central committee chairwoman during Sunday’s senatorial debate.
But regardless of how skeptical voters may be about the selection of the district’s next state senator, to serve out the remaining nine months of Senator Nathaniel Oaks term; they can’t be as distrustful as the only voter in the district who put their name up to fill the seat a year ago.
And yet, that district resident plans to submit his name and resume for consideration once again, hoping this time that the seven members of the central committee hold a fair hearing, and don’t make a backroom deal ahead of time to select who they want without the input of the community.
Last year with her health declining, 41st district state senator Lisa Gladden decided to resign her seat leaving a vacancy that led to domino effect that would wind up making the district the laughingstock of Baltimore. Immediately following Gladden’s resignation was the resignation of one of the three state delegates representing the district, Delegate Jill P. Carter, who decided to quit and take a position with the newly formed Catherine Pugh mayoral administration.
These events led to the seven member democratic state central committee having two vacancies to fill, and a long list of district residents with political aspirations. However, before the vacancy hearings and votes ever materialized, the politically savvy members of the central committee had come up with their own decision on how things would work.
“If we are going to succeed as a city, we have to have elected leaders who are inclusive of everyone, and who understand the principle of business and job creation.” ~ Jay Steinmetz
First, the committee would vote to fill the Carter vacancy, based on the contingency that those members would vote for who they agreed to fill the Gladden vacancy, which would then leave yet another delegate vacancy for one of the central committee members to fill, allowing for three of the seven central committee members to benefit personally on the votes that they would take. So the group wheeled and dealed garnering the fourth vote they needed to ensure that their plan went off without a hitch.
First, they selected central committee member Bilal Ali to fill Carter’s state delegate vacancy. Next, they selected central committee member and district state delegate Nathaniel Oaks to fill Gladden’s vacant senate seat, which then opened up yet another vacant state delegate seat which was handsomely rewarded to their third conspirer, Angela Gibson. (To be fair, they simply whipped the votes for themselves instead of leaving it to chance like any other politically savvy person would do when seeking a political appointment.)
The problem occurred when the newly appointed state senator was indicted by the feds a few months later, which led to further disgust by the voters of the district who felt like Oaks’ appointment was merely a political inside job. In fact, only one brave soul even submitted their name and resume for the vacant senate seat besides Oaks, as most knew by then that he had garnered the votes necessary prior to the hearing.
Now that one person is back to reclaim the seat he felt the central committee should have given to him last year. And he has vowed to serve in that role for the remainder of the term, free of charge to the voters who have had to endure so much over the past few months, and even years.
Jay Steinmetz is the owner Barcoding Inc, a technology based firm that employs over 130 people in seventeen different states with an annual gross income of $80 million. The former chairman of TEDCO, Steinmetz said that his vision for the district is the inclusion and protection of all of its diverse citizens, regardless of their zip code.
“We see that the 41st district has a very diverse citizenry, rich with the culture of various ethnic, religious and racial backgrounds; however, we also have seen that far too many of these neighborhoods have been left out of the economic prosperity that others within the district enjoy – and that needs to be addressed,” said Steinmetz in a recent interview.
“If we are going to succeed as a city, we have to have elected leaders who are inclusive of everyone, and who understand the principle of business and job creation. We need someone who understands the need to see the cost of creating, supporting and operating a job level off, keeping the cost of doing business down which allows for increased job creation and economic wealth for the surrounding communities.”
Steinmetz pledged to serve the remainder of the Oaks term free of any state pay, offering to have the state invest that pay back into the communities that make up the 41st district. Steinmetz is prevented from running for the seat during this year’s gubernatorial elections, since he has not filed to run for the seat and the deadline has past.
And while rumors continue to swirl as to whether or not the central committee will conspire once again, this time to appoint the district’s former state delegate and current state senate candidate, Jill Carter; Steinmetz suggested that him serving as the interim senator will allow for the two candidates vying for the seat this June to be on equal footing.
The other senate candidate, J.D. Merrill refused to submit his name for the appointment, stating that he believed the selection of the district’s state senator should be left up to the voters in June – which will be when voters decide between Carter and Merrill in the democratic primaries. However, while Oaks has resigned from his state senate seat due to a plea agreement made with the feds, he still sits on the central committee and appears to be able to be one of the seven voting members who will choose his replacement next week. (There is a petition being circulated by area residents that calls on the Democratic Party to remove Oaks from the central committee immediately, but that appears to have fallen on deaf ears.)
And with this recent revelation, that Steinmetz – a resident of the district’s affluent Mt. Washington neighborhood – would serve as the district’s interim state senator at no cost to the taxpayers, while keeping the central committee safe from yet another disastrous selection; it would seem like a no-brainer that at least a few of the central committee members would consider offering their vote to #SelectSteinmetzForSenate.
*The 41st district democratic state central committee has announced that all resumes for those vying to replace Oaks must be submitted to them via US Postal Mail by midnight on Friday, April 13th. Send them to: Angela Gibson at P.O. Box 23762 Baltimore, Maryland 21203. The hearing for candidates and vote to replace Senator Oaks will be on Tuesday, April 17th at 6:00 p.m. at the Forrest Park Golf Course, located at: 2900 Hillsdale Road 21207