By Doni Glover, Publisher
Unapologetically Black: Doni Glover Autobiography
Thursdays at Midnight on WEAA 88.9 FM
(BALTIMORE – September 2, 2020) – Did you know that the first mayoral forum for Baltimore’s General Election is being held tonight by way of Zoom?
Yep! And former Independent mayoral candidate Josh Harris is the moderator. Here are the details:
The Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce presents a “Mayoral Candidate Town Hall” Baltimore, MD – GBBCC will present a “Mayoral Candidate Town Hall: Black Business Relations with Baltimore City Government” taking place virtually from 6-9pm on Wednesday, September 2, 2020; Zoom room will open at 5:30pm. The featured candidates are: Brandon Scott (Democrat), Robert Wallace (Independent) and Shannon Wright (Republican). This event will be moderated by Joshua Harris. GBBCC is proud to bring this Mayoral Town Hall to the Baltimore business community for the first time. The Mayoral Town Hall will provide both business owners and organizations the opportunity to hear more of these respective candidate’s agenda as it relates to our local economy during and post-COVID. Registration for event can be found here https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_cN59yJEuSsWfsn0qfwV6mA
For the GBBCC, event co-organizer Kendrick Tilghman said that he wants to see three things accomplished: All of the 100 or so RSVPs attend via Zoom; engagement; and a new 500 GBBCC members registered.
He said, “That would be a grand slam!”
Another GBBCC leader, Debra Keller-Green, said, “This is the Black business communities opportunity to have their voices heard.”
As the publisher of Bmorenews.com, a Black-owned news outlet founded in 2002 with an Afrocentric and pro-business bent, tonight’s Baltimore City Zoom mayoral forum hosted by the Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce is particularly important to me, too.
Given Bmorenews’ ongoing efforts to promoted Black business locally and nationally, including our ORIGINAL Black Wall Street SERIES, what these candidates say tonight is terribly all-important.
Further, the mayoral candidates’ responses tonight will ultimately resonate – or not – with the white business community as well.
Tonight will present the very first opportunity for voters to see all three choices for Mayor of Baltimore City in this November’s General Election. City Council President Brandon Scott, Republican Shannon Wright, and Independent candidate Bob Wallace will get their first opportunity to speak about why people should vote for them in November’s General Election.
So, I’m actually excited.
I want to see how all three handle the topic of Black business. After all, Baltimore is a majority Black city with a high percentage of Black elected officials. Yet, the prevailing question remains: Do Blacks get a fair slice of the municipal contracts? Of the City’s various agencies, for example, how well do Black businesses do when it comes to obtaining contracts? How many Blacks get to be prime contractors? Or, are Black businesses typically relegated to securing sub-contracts?
Here’s the hit: If Black contractors are not, in fact, getting a fair slice of the pie … given this wealth of Black elected officials, then what is the issue?
When it comes to the City of Baltimore, I think that we chase businesses away. I think we are not, as a city, sensitive to the needs of our businesses, white or Black. I also think our lack of Fortune 500 companies is tragic.
Transportation-wise, we have the Port of Baltimore. We have railroads for passengers and freight. And we are 15 minutes from BWI-Marshall Airport. Each of these modes of transportation lend to a pro-business client. Yet, at the end of the day, it seems as though more and more businesses are leaving for surrounding jurisdictions. Why?
How do we, as a city, instead play to our strengths and how do we build on them such that Black businesses are flocking to Baltimore?
Tonight, I want to hear the level of understanding of these candidates. I think we will get a chance to realize how well they understand political economy, the interrelationship of politics and economics. For instance, do they know the City’s MBE goals?
I also want to see if the various candidates know who the influencers are in the Black business community. I want to know their level of understanding of not only the City and the state’s MBE programs; I also want to know if these candidates have been engaged with entities like the Maryland-Washington Minority Companies Association headed by Wayne Frazier or the Maryland Minority Contractors Association headed by Pless Jones of P&J Contracting.
I also need to know if these candidates have ever sat down with the likes of a Stanley Tucker of Meridian Management Group. Surely, no non-Black politician knows Annapolis better than Mr. Tucker.
And I damn sure want to know what Black-owned media outlets the candidates financially support.
Here’s another query: Have the mayoral candidates ever met with Jeff Hargrave of the President’s Roundtable?
Put simply, there is no way a Black mayor can afford to not know these individuals. Not in Baltimore. Not in 2020.
All I’m saying is that the next Mayor of Baltimore has to have a working relationship with the Black business community, including our Black funeral directors and morticians. They are, after all, one of the most organized group of Black business owners in America with a long history in this city going back one hundred years.
Yes, they represent Black business, too. My Daddy was one of them.
If Black people are to thrive in Baltimore, we not only need jobs. We need a strong Black business community because, as Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford has always said, Black businesses are the ones most likely to higher other Black people. Therefore, especially given our political wealth, helping them should be a no-brainer.
Anyway, register here. I’ll see you online.