Op/Ed: The deafening silence of the MD Democratic Party

By A Baltimore Resident

(BALTIMORE – April 9, 2019) – When a Republican so much as sneezes on the desk of a Democratic lawmaker, the party leaders are ready to issue press releases filled with self-serving demands, characterizing the GOP as the devil in disguise. However, when one of their own goes contrary to ethical guidelines to further their own personal interests, they tend to look the other way – especially when that person was the candidate party leaders paraded into office as the savior for a city in turmoil.

Let’s connect the dots! In 2016, when a candidate that they felt they couldn’t control was looking like they had the election in the bag, the democratic leadership of Baltimore City – led by longtime Congressman Elijah Cummings – chose to take aim that candidate as corrupt and unfit to serve. They rallied around Mayor Catherine Pugh as the fresh, new leadership the city needed in order to turn the corner and close the chapter on city corruption.

Instead, we witnessed their candidate immediately turn their back on the working-class poor by breaking their campaign promise within their first 100-days in office, by vetoing a $15 an hour minimum wage bill that she campaigned in support of. She followed up those political theatrics, where she attested to “not putting her hand on the Bible” when promising to support said measure as her excuse to change her mind on the hard-fought legislation, by seeking to eliminate the inspirational annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, proposing to replace it with a day of service.

This came on the heels of her administration deciding to combine the  city’s only annual African American festivals – AFRAM and Stone Soul Picnic – making them a combined two-day festivity instead, which they buried inside of Druid Hill Park (which was under construction) and initially eliminated the budget for high-profile performing acts and instead only allowing local artists to perform. But that’s just a glimpse into the failed administration of the party’s savior.

It took four different police commissioners, one fired, another indicted and one who refused to even take the position after being announced that he would be taking the position before they seem to finally have gotten a credible commander of a beleaguered police force. This came on the backdrop of violent crime shooting through the roof, along with 700+ homicides since taking office – the first administration to have consecutive years of 300+ homicides since the Kurt Schmoke administration in the 90s.

And not once during this entire time did you hear the MD Democratic Party utter a peep as to the inefficiencies of this administration. And while all fourteen members of the Baltimore City Council, along with the members of the city’s state delegation, the Maryland Comptroller and various news outlet have all called for the Mayor to resign; the Democratic party has been eerily silent on the Mayor’s recent scandal that has led to multiple investigations by the state prosecutor and the city’s ethics board.

In fact, it wasn’t until yesterday before the party’s vocal leader, Chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore-Cummings, finally uttered a word on the issues surrounding Baltimore’s Mayor. And even that statement was laughable at best, as they never definitively called on her to resign or to come clean with the book deals she made with various organizations for the children’s books she authored. Instead, they merely asked her to do what’s right for the citizens of Baltimore.

“Mayor Pugh has often spoken of her love for Baltimore City and her desire to see it thrive. I’m sure she would agree that the Healthy Holly saga is a distraction that undermines that goal. I trust she will do what is obviously in her best interest and that of our great city. I wish the Mayor a speedy recovery.”

What can be attributed to the sudden reluctance to speak from an otherwise vocal leader of the MD Democratic Party? It may be her relationship to the Congressman who shepherded in this Mayor just three years prior.

It’s no secret that the party’s newly elected leader is the wife of Congressman Cummings, who was the chief architect in the party rallying around Pugh ahead of the 2016 Primary elections, in order to ensure that former Mayor Sheila Dixon was not able to secure a comeback victory. And now that his hand-picked chief executive has disgraced the very voters who continuously come out to put him back into office, it appears that the Congressman has restrained the response of his wife due to the blowback that will certainly fly back in the face of the aging statesman.