Cody Dorsey, left, with Mayoral Candidate Brandon Scott. (Courtesy Photo)
By Cody L. Dorsey
Baltimoreans have spent the last five years, since the in-police custody injury that caused Freddie Gray’s death, reforming policing and reimagining what our city can be. Our leaders have sought to bring businesses and jobs to our communities, and those communities are seeking to reclaim our traditions and reject acts of hate and bigotry.
Over the last few years, and especially during this year’s primary election, it has become clearer that the next mayor of Baltimore must be able to respect both preservation and progress. How do we honor Baltimore’s rich history and build for our future? How do we really ensure that the most vulnerable of Baltimoreans don’t lose their homes due to rising costs? How do we make room for new, innovative ideas of new residents and youth, who will be instrumental as we move forward?
After careful consideration of the primary election data, there is only one candidate that I believe is best equipped to meet the 21st century challenges we are facing and those that are on the horizon: Brandon Scott.
Brandon Scott was the Democratic candidate who reached across racial lines, forming coalitions that will be vital in moving Baltimore forward. Mr. Scott, our city council president, has a deep understanding of the operations of City Hall. So much so that when he became council president last year, he offered a comprehensive legislative and policy proposal, which called for the restructuring of local government while investing in education and ethics.
Mr. Scott is a native son. A graduate of City Schools, when he graduated from college, he returned home ready to address the issues that plagued his Park Heights community. Seeing his desire to serve then-Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hired him as a neighborhood liaison. As a neighborhood liaison in the Council President’s Office and later the Mayor’s Office, he gained a reputation for listening to residents and bringing their concerns back to City Hall. This reputation led to his election as a city councilmember, where his list of achievements were long, but most notably working diligently as chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee and as co-founder of the 300 Men March. His hard work and vision left a strong impression on the Northeast District he represented.
As Mayor, Mr. Scott would build on his neighborhood and council work, he says. He promises “A New Way Forward.”
He lists public safety as his top priority, which is not surprising given Baltimore’s longtime high rate of violent crime. His focus is two-pointed: ensuring serious constitutional reform at the BPD and improving training and job opportunities for young people. He offers a collaborative approach, drawing in on law enforcement, community and faith-based leaders, as well as those from non-profits such as COR and the Baltimore Cease Fire.
Council President Scott pledges better administration of government and coordination of services for street repairs, trash pick-up, and water. But just as important, he understands that city government must be transparent about the coordination of those services. And just last month, he, himself, initiated cleaning our city, when he realized our sanitation workers needed a hand during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Brandon also knows that the next Mayor will have to build trust with citizens to overcome misinformation about the state of our city water system’s infrastructure and repeat billing errors, which has previously made some lose their homes. As Mayor, he would have an opportunity to nominate a Director of the Department of Public Works to initiate improvements.
Mr. Scott’s plans are not necessarily unique, some have been implemented in other cities, but he has already proven he is able to build coalitions to get things done where other candidates just don’t compete. As a city hall staffer, then as a councilmember, and now president of the council, he has seen some of the best and worst efforts of running our city. This gives him a head start that the other candidates just don’t have.
Mr. Scott is committed to Baltimore, and he has the knowledge and energy to move Baltimore into this new decade.
The writer has worked with the last four Mayors of Baltimore. Deputy Youth Commissioner for Mayor Dixon, Youth Commission Chair for Mayor Rawlings-Blake, a Transition Team Member for Mayor Pugh, and a Mayoral Fellow for Mayor Young. He can be followed on Twitter @CodyLDorsey
These articles represent the opinion of the writers and not the AFRO. Tune in at 7 p.m., Oct. 22 to the Mayoral Forum on Facebook, jointly hosted by the NAACP, WBAL-TV and the AFRO, and read next week’s paper to see the AFRO’s endorsements.