By AFRO Staff
Mfume for the 7th District
Rep. Kweisi Mfume is a known entity to the vast majority of the residents of the venerable 7th Congressional District of Baltimore City (and also parts of Baltimore and Howard counties) for good reason; he once served the district with distinction.
Mfume was the second Black man to represent the 7th, from 1987 to 1996, following in the footsteps of the legendary Parren J. Mitchell and prior to the tenure of the venerated Elijah Cummings. Mfume’s record of service has been well documented in Congress and beyond (Baltimore City Council, NAACP) and on April 28, Mfume defeated his Republican opponent Kimberly Klacik in a landslide, 73.8 to 25.1 percent and hit the ground running representing the 7th in Congress ever since. The 7th is incredibly diverse economically in that it encompasses some of the most impoverished communities of the state, as well as some of the wealthiest; it is a complex district with unique challenges. Mfume has demonstrated that he understands those complexities. The AFRO believes the residents of the 7th from West Baltimore to Clarksville will be well served to officially return Mfume on Nov. 3, to the District that he loves and has served with honor.
Brandon Scott For Mayor
As America faces perhaps the most consequential presidential election in the nation’s history, Baltimore also stands at a very critical crossroads in its history.
How do we reverse the trend of more than 300 murders a year since the Uprising of 2015?
How do we motivate young people struggling to learn and thrive within the Baltimore City Public School System?
How do we more effectively address the pervasive and persistent issue of vacant houses and overall blight?
How do we bring more equity to chronically disenfranchised communities within a city sweltering with systemic racism for generations?
How do we move forward as a city as we continue to grapple with the global coronavirus pandemic?
These are all daunting challenges (all being faced with a significant budget deficit of approximately $42.3 million) and there are others. And it feels like we have run out of time as a city in seeking plausible solutions. To say the city’s next mayor will have his or her hands full is a towering understatement.
During his time on the Baltimore City Council, first as a council member representing the 2nd District of East Baltimore and now as council president, Brandon Scott has exhibited a strong work ethic and an ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues to come up with solutions to move the city forward in the midst of harrowing dilemmas. At times he has seemed indefatigable, propelled by his youthful energy. And he is going to need every ounce of that energy if he is going to lead the turnaround of our city. But, the AFRO believes he is the man for the job at this incredibly critical time.
What we need now is not a return to business as usual because in many ways, business as usual has been a disaster for our city, particularly the Black community. Instead we need out-of-the-box thinking and implementation of innovative policies and strategies. Scott has exhibited those tendencies during his decade of public service so far.
Scott crafted a holistic and comprehensive crime reduction strategy while he chaired the Council’s public safety committee. As mayor, he will have the opportunity to fully implement his vision in a city reeling from violence, murder and mayhem.
Baltimore residents have endured a City Hall and a police department, both of which have produced multiple embarrassing national scandals. And Scott has also come up with a plan called “Restoring Trust in City Government: A New Way Forward for Transparency and Accountability.” Scott’s vision to increase transparency and accountability includes a restructuring of the Board of Estimates; removing the City Solicitor and the Director of Public Works, reducing the Board to three elected officials.
Scott also wants to expand the city’s open data policies by investing more money and resources into the city’s malnourished data infrastructure across city agencies.
Scott also wants to add a city administrator, which would be a politically-neutral role that would, “focus on maintaining the smooth operation of the city. A city administrator will help professionalize the operations of city government by insulating the day-to-day operations from politics,” according to Scott. The voters will ultimately decide since this issue is on the ballot.
The Democratic nominee for mayor has also made it his business to travel to several other cities to glean best practices in an effort to implement some of those effective policy prescriptions in the city where he was born and raised.
And in April, Scott came up with a roadmap to help navigate the ongoing scourge of COVID-19, which is back on the upswing in several states as the weather becomes colder.
With fewer than two weeks before the General Election on Nov. 3, one of Scott’s opponents is Baltimore businessman Bob Wallace, who is running as an independent (the other candidate is Republican Shannon Wright). And Wallace’s candidacy with his straight, non-politician talk and cogent ideas seems to resonate with some likely voters more than most independent candidacies have in the past in this Democratic political stronghold. Two ideas in particular of many put forward by Wallace are common sense approaches that could go a long way toward holistic repair in Baltimore. Wallace, if elected, wants to convene a series of conferences at the Baltimore Convention Center to hear from community leaders from what he calls the “Seven Pillars” of the city, to formulate an agenda of priorities from the people. He also wants to increase the role of the faith community in a substantive and formal way to augment the good work faith leaders are already doing.
But, we believe it is Scott who understands the City’s political infrastructure intimately, and is not afraid to break some parts of it for the sake of our ailing city.
Ultimately, Scott’s staunchest supporters argue that beyond his competence, hard work and acumen at City Hall, the City Council President really excels behind the scenes when the cameras are not on him. For example, they point to Scott routinely mowing grass in the district he represented prior to his ascendency to the Council President’s chair and his work with the 300 Men March, the anti-violence group in Baltimore. The AFRO believes Scott, with his unique combination of skills, work ethic, energy and understanding of the city he serves, is the best choice for Baltimore during this dire time in the city’s history.
Mosby for City Council President
The AFRO endorses Del. Nick Mosby for Baltimore City Council President despite a dubiously timed report earlier this week that Mosby and his wife Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby have a $45,000 tax lien on their home.
“I have been in ongoing conversations with the IRS for five years about the tax consequences of an early withdrawal from my retirement savings plan, which I did to support unplanned expenses after a series of family tragedies,” said Mosby to the AFRO in a text message. “I am resolving the matter and expect it to be completed soon.”
Jovani Patterson, Mosby’s Republican opponent for the Council President’s seat has seized upon the tax issue and has urged Mosby to drop out of the race. Of course Mosby has no intention of doing so and he shouldn’t. Many of the voters of Baltimore City know Mosby’s strong record as a public servant on the Baltimore City Council and the House of Delegates; the “Ban the Box legislation he crafted, helping to increase endowments for Black colleges and universities and protecting the homes of city residents financially imperiled by unpaid water bills. Most recently, Mosby took the lead in pushing Gov. Larry Hogan to classify coronavirus cases and deaths by race, so that the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on Black people and people of color in Maryland would be clear.
But, Mosby has also participated in dozens of marches against violence in our city. And many remember the image of him walking the streets of West Baltimore in the midst of the Uprising appealing for calm and even rebuffing the hysterical reporting of a television journalist during those volatile hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray.
In plain language, Mosby has been a solid and steady advocate for some of the city’s most disenfranchised communities, a champion and a voice for the city’s most unheard. And all of us need Mosby in the powerful City Council President’s chair now maybe more than ever.