Mayor May Not
Published: September 7, 2011
We need a media that really covers our issues—as they came out at a forum like the mayoral candidate’s forum at the Enoch Pratt Library on Aug. 30! (“Front-Running,” Feature, Aug. 31.)
Television coverage seems hopeless; The Baltimore Sun does not really address the issues and has right-wing columnists like Marta Mossburg and Ron Smith, with editorial-page writers the usual liberals. The folks at WYPR-FM, bless their hearts, are articulate and liberal enough, but in this country we need a grander King-like vision to fix things.
WE LIVE HERE! But there is little coverage of our Baltimore issues!
I went to the mayoral candidate forum supporting Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and left supporting Jody Landers and getting the feeling the others, except for maybe Catherine Pugh, are in over their heads. Could a city like Baltimore elect a white guy like Landers? How about a Pugh/Landers sort of president/vice president deal? Or vice versa?
Although I appreciate the comedian one-liner style of Frank Conaway Sr., who said some really entertaining things, they were in what Chuck Berry termed the mode of “campaign shouting like a Southern diplomat.”
Hence my like of Landers—he did not have to shout and “present.” He “represented.” I think candidates everywhere should be more thoughtful.
The forum seemed like a plethora of B.S. glib responses. One candidate said, “We just need someone new,” as if that was a magic potion.
Landers seemed thoughtful unlike the rest, who mumbled and grandstood and mouthed slogans and otherwise pontificated. Rawlings-Blake seemed strangely muffled—way too inadequate. She once seemed to me a breath of fresh air after the previous mayor, Sheila Dixon, but I came to the realization that that isn’t saying much!
Many preposterous statements were made, as Conaway said they would be: Otis Rolley would build 50 new schools; Pugh brought up Detroit as a city that is competently dealing with problems (she had a long list). She also proposed ex-offenders distributing hospital products. Conaway would add jobs by a redo of the Howard Street tunnel.
Baltimore radicals like myself or Max Obuszewski (who is planning a town meeting on issues that won’t be covered) are sadly irrelevant to the city’s candidates. The two Republican seats at the forum were vacant, and yet they call the shots in this war-obsessed country. Do you think they care about the cities?
Dan Rodricks (from the Sun and WYPR) did a good job of moderating, but I sensed, with the motherly League of Women Voters persons trying to shush the crowd, that sooner or later the deeper issues must be addressed. Thanks to candidate Jody Landers for trying.
Kudos to Tim Hill for pointing out the significance of Labor Day this year (Baltimore Weekly Highlights, Aug. 31). The debilitating 30-year trends for workers continue: a decline in good paying jobs, an increase in part-time and temporary work without bennies, concerted attacks against unions and collective bargaining, a growing economic inequality, the entrenchment of plutocrats in state and national government who nurture these trends. If only Labor Day was commemorated with half the dignity and power it deserves, the holiday would stand as a rebuke to all this.
John G. Bailey
Bats About Bats
I wish we could recover from this baseless and intolerant fear we have about bats (“Rabid Bats!!!” Static, Aug. 24). Since Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, we seem to be suffering a collective phobia over a mammal that could be the greenest and most helpful addition to the neighborhood regarding real pest control. The fear of contracting rabies from a bat is exaggerated. On average, it claims two people in the world per year. You have a 50-fold greater chance of dying by box jellyfish.
Meantime, as global warming gradually changes Maryland into Brazil, malarial disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks are becoming much more dangerous than these cute little mammals. A bat will eat on average 600 flies and mosquitoes per hour. If neighborhoods could use a little imagination, why not set up neighborhood bat houses a little off the common ground where they would be encouraged to live? Arrange with a local wildlife vet (new job) to come down every three to six months to monitor the population and vaccinate them. Meantime, every night, when we are all inside, they can wipe out the mosquito and fly hordes to their hearts’ content and avoid chemical pesticides.
I don’t believe collisions between bat and human will be common. If a bat can find a mosquito in pitch darkness by sound only, it would have to be a pathetically deaf bat to run into something as big and lumbering as a human. Go green. Adopt a bat.