By Doni Glover, Publisher
Unapologetically Black: Doni Glover Autobiography
The Doni Glover Show on WOLB 1010 AM (Thurs. 11a-12p)
(BALTIMORE – October 27, 2019) – The next person to become the 7th Congressional Representative, in my opinion, should, for one, have a strong track record representing the people of the district. Being heavily African American and having had people like Parren J. Mitchell, Kweisi Mfume, and Elijah Cummings represent it, clearly there are big shoes to fill.
For instance, who can forget Mitchell’s legendary 8-A program efforts on behalf of minority businesses or his reputation for not being bought? And, Lord knows, who can forget Mfume’s arrest on the world stage for protesting apartheid in South Africa or how Cummings annoyed President Donald Trump via the Congressional Oversight Committee?
These are big moves, and the person who earns the confidence of the people had better have a seat belt because there will be no shortage of work. And that person will have to hit the ground running, overcome a learning curve with zero seconds to spare, and still bring back the bacon against all odds.
Further, with upwardly mobile parts of Howard County and Baltimore County in it, the 7th Congressional district has been altered because of redistricting. At the same time, the 7th includes much of Baltimore City. And surely, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how there are parts of Baltimore that haven’t changed since forever.
I’d also like to add that no one person deserves any seat in government. You don’t just luck up and get it! We have serious agenda issues and the next 7th Congressional district Representative had better be prepared to fight.
Recently, Bmorenews and DMVDaily.news hosted the first political forum (Value My Vote) of the 2020 election season on Thursday at Terra Café Bmore. Having heard the candidates for local offices speak, I am reminded that not everyone sees politics the way I do. Personally, I think that while it is much more like chess than checkers, an individual must also have the smarts and they must be willing to stand up and fight against all kinds of madness.
What I cannot seem to tolerate are people running for office whom, for some reason, do not know that politics is also war and who do not understand the way the game is played. Personally, I think we have enough “nose rubbers” who go along to get along. One glance at North Avenue and a person seeking to rep the 7th ought to especially understand the institutional racism that has systematically left certain neighborhoods prosperous and others totally neglected. They need to understand this because it’s exactly how a “Freddie Gray Uprising” ever occurred. I often say that politics is cruddier than the dope game because it controls drugs, guns, militaries and everything else. So, this might not be the field of endeavor for the faint of heart.
A Congressperson is a rep of the people. So, they must have the testicular fortitude to stand up like a Maxine Waters. They must have the audacity to speak truth to power. And they must be about accountability.
Too often here in Baltimore, a 9-to-1 Democratic city, we see a well-oiled Democratic machine all the time. And who gets a lot of the heat politically in such an environment? Well, it’s open season on all Republicans, i.e. Gov. Larry Hogan and President Donald Trump. As I have said in the past, I get it; they are the devil incarnate.
However, in a heavily Democratic locale where Democrats rule, what level of accountability do we have inside the party? We have a school system that is producing an inferior product in Baltimore. We have a police force that is struggling to make headway in one of America’s most dangerous cities. We have a State’s Attorney’s Office that is always on TV, but the murder rate is constantly rising … with the help of people who should have been locked away. The 2-year-old little boy recently shot comes to mind.
So, while the next Congressional Rep will be spending a lot of time in Washington, D.C., I also hope they know the real issues we are faced with here on the ground in the 7th, including the now trending white addicts who can be found strolling in traditionally African American communities in search of drugs. I also hope they have been to the grassroots places us locals tend to revere, like The Men and Families Center at 2222 Jefferson Street in East Baltimore and Troy Brailey Easterwood Recreation Center that was re-opened by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. I hope the candidates for the 7th will spend time at these and other places that have a solid history of contributing to our community on shoestring budgets. I think people like Leon Purnell and Zanes Cypress are heroes, just like Cynthia Brooks at the Bea Gaddy Center. These are the folks who make things work especially when government fails. Yet, they are often overlooked until they have a huge event, and that when all of the so-called leaders show up – just like during “Freddie Gray”.
My point is that there is a lack of accountability when everyone is a Democrat on the same Democratic team. People tend to cover for each other. A lot of abuse goes unnoticed, including the 6-figure salaries being paid to people who are not yet making a difference in Baltimore. Truth is, if Baltimore were 9-to-1 Republican, you’d have the exact same problem: No accountability!
As they say, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. So, not only will the next Congressional Rep have to have a sense of the needs of the people, they will also have to deal with local politicians who are left to implement the resources we receive from Washington. I think this is where the problems lies. The Congressperson is supposed to bring back resources and the local chaps are supposed to use them wisely. One thing that has happened in recent years is that Baltimore City, for instance, has returned millions in homeless services funds to DC because officials at Baltimore City Hall did not have a plan and missed the deadline.
And while there are those who argue whether or not Pres. Trump was right when he slammed Cummings earlier this year about billions in funds for homeless services not reaching the people in Baltimore, what cannot be debated is the conditions in places like Park Heights, North Avenue, the Middle East and Sandtown. Some of these communities have not received sufficient attention since the Riots of 1968. Truth be told, a lot of Baltimore has been neglected and infested with drugs and guns. Theorists call it “the black butterfly”; it includes East and West Baltimore. However, “the white L” (from Johns Hopkins University down to the Harbor and East to Canton) receives the lion’s share of resources. A classic example is Station North which includes North and Charles; this area has been renovated nearly overnight when communities like Upton have endured decades of neglect. The former attracts white folks; the latter is predominately black.
You see, when former mayors, like Stephanie Rawlings Blake, chose to invest in Gran Prix Races instead of recreation centers – when Martin O’Malley arrested one out of six Baltimoreans for frivolous charges – when Catherine Pugh did more for people like former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith than people like UMAR Boxing Founder Marvin McDowell – the people kind of get a sense that they are not important to the big picture. Somehow, the people feel left out and see all of the politicians as one in the same: Full of it!
Frankly, a lot of us are tired of the lies, the chicanery, and the neglect. If the next Congressional Rep for the 7th is not going to be a fighter with the street smarts to effectively demonstrate change, then they shouldn’t even waste their time applying for the position.