Now that the final candidates’ list is in for Baltimore’s primary …

…It’s time to get to the issues at hand. Crime? Huge issue! However, is Baltimore really that much different today than say when Martin O’Malley was mayor? I don’t think so, even though mainstream media is pummeling interim Mayor Sheila Dixon over it. At the same time, has Baltimore City Police Commissioner outlived his usefulness? Many seem to think so, including Delegate Jill Carter. Carter, who is one of several black mayoral candidates, feels Hamm is to blame for a crime-ridden town.

The only thing is, for me, this guy was hailed and touted not that long ago.

Conclusion, Baltimore is a tough town for entertainers (including Frankie Beverly, who witnessed fans walking out two Fridays ago – before he was done) and politicians. Baltimore’s brutal honesty, like that of a child, will chew you up and spit you out – whether you are from Baltimore, New York, or wherever.

The City Council President race, for this journalist, is the one race to which one ought really pay close attention. Interim President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, daughter of the late, great Pete Rawlings, is up against Councilman Ken Harris and newcomer to politics, Michael Sarbanes. Will the Sarbanes name do it twice in a row? After all, his brother, John, who had zero political record, waltzed into Congress. I think, however, just as Andrey Bundley was criticized by some for having not started out as a council rep, Sarbanes – Michael, that is – will have to endure similar scrutiny.

Even more, will white citizens of Baltimore trust him to do a good job on the City Council?

Will black Baltimore, to go a little further, forget how an O’Malley campaign came up the middle in ’99 and beat two seasoned but poorly prepared candidates in Lawrence Bell and Carl Stokes?

The verdict comes on Tuesday, September 11, 2007.  

Right now, both Dixon and Rawlings-Blake have the assumption of Gov. O’Malley’s support. Harris has Sen. Ben Cardin’s support. Hence, given Sarbanes’ Greek background, I suggest the president’s race is a black/Irish/Jewish/Greek hot egotistical mess.  

Right now, the incumbents have the advantage.

Otherwise, there are 14 districts with 13 fights. Rikki Spector up in the 5th is unopposed. Everywhere else, there is a slug fest with several barely known candidates running. One race to watch, in particular, is Keiffer Mitchell’s former one, the 11th. With Congressman Elijah Cummings in support of former Delegat Bill Cole, this district could quite possibly get its first white rep in a long time.

For me, this is a signal of gentrification in Baltimore, where black elected officials are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Why? ‘Cause blacks don’t vote like we used to do. In short, black political apathy in Baltimore has Fannie Lou Hamer turning over in her grave. 


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