It was a volatile Labor Day weekend in reference to people vying to occupy the big chair at City Hall in 2016.
The entry of State Senator Catherine Pugh, who represents the 40th Legislative District of Baltimore City and Councilman Carl Stokes, who represents the 12th District of Baltimore, was one of the top news items on the late night local television news broadcasts Monday night as the holiday weekend came to an end.
The veteran lawmakers join the fray with current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and former Mayor Sheila Dixon, as well as largely unknown Harvard graduate Calvin Young, and other periphery candidates.
Both Pugh and Stokes (who talked about his candidacy on First Edition, on September 8), have run for mayor before, both were candidates for city council president as well. Their detractors would suggest their time for leading Baltimore has passed, I’m not sure I agree.
However, there is another possible candidate for mayor who could truly complicate many of the current equations, paths and outcomes being pushed by some pontificators.
I’m told 36-year old Baltimore native Wes Moore, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Other Wes Moore, is going to throw his hat in the ring as early as this week.
Despite his Baltimore roots, Moore allegedly is going to run as an outsider, absolved of the sins of the Democratic political apparatus being charged by many with the decades-long downward spiral our city is currently experiencing.
The “outsider” narrative is always a tricky play in this town that gives a lot of weight to high school pedigrees. But, a long-time political operative (and Moore supporter) said to me, “He (Moore) ain’t no Anthony Brown.”
Another politically well-connected attorney friend of mine suggested all the candidates are attempting to tap the same financial sources locally, which could give the current mayor an edge in fundraising because of her national profile (president, US Conference of Mayors, secretary of the DNC). However, Moore has also crafted an impressive national profile (Rhodes Scholar, White House Fellow, who served former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice), which could make him a formidable fundraiser as well.
Down the Hill on The Beast Side
As politicians grapple to take the helm at City Hall, author D. Watkins offers a prodigious dose of strychnine laced reality, for those who plan on a, “business as usual,” approach to running our city. I spoke with him last week on First Edition.
Watkins, a scholar, journalist, public intellectual, former dopeboy and proud son of East Baltimore has delivered, The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America, a collection of essays he dedicates, “To Freddie Gray, and all the other innocent victims of senseless violence. We won’t let you die in vain.”
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, the epic album by rap supergroup Public Enemy, is widely acknowledged as a Hip Hop and American music classic.
I’d argue The Beast Side, is a 21st century classic, brutally authentic chronicle of Black America and our great, but deeply flawed city. Watkins collection is also incredibly topical, including thoughts on law enforcement’s treatment of Dylan Roof, the White supremacist, mass murderer who gunned down, “The Charleston Nine,” during a bible study at Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, earlier this summer in Charleston, South Carolina.
“They stopped and brought this dude (Roof) a burger and fries because he said he was hungry,” Watkins said. “That was like a low-key, `you did good work son, you’re one of us,’ is what that said to me.”
During his interview on First Edition, Watkins — perhaps the most un-political cat I’ve met in a long time — provided a very politically savvy assessment of the candidates for Baltimore Mayor.
“Everybody’s running for mayor except me and you man,” Watkins said with a laugh. “But, Nick Mosby is a great guy…Wes Moore, he gives me advice on how I can make it in this publishing world, great guy…Stokes, he’s my man, he’s like that uncle at the party…Stephanie, she was hilarious, a really cool person.”
Sean Yoes hosts First Edition on WEAA 88.9 Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m.