I REMEMBER

Cover of my self-published book, April 1973; my birth city, Georgetown, Guyana. I was 27 years old, writing under the pen name ZE. My criticisms were entitled Zeisms.

The current Mayor of Baltimore Maryland is an African American female, Catherine Pugh; and she is involved in a money scandal, involving self publishing of books she wrote. I remember Catherine, when she ran a newspaper from a cramped office on 25th Street in Baltimore. From that to politics, States Senator, Mayor, self publishing books in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars under a disguise! Amazing! I did self publishing in my birth home of Georgetown, Guyana. I know what it takes: writing, designing, publishing, marketing. It takes lots of money. Something smells here.

The previous mayor, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, also African American did not seek another term because, among other things, she put red-light cameras, in the black neighborhoods, forcing minimum wage workers to pay huge bills to the City Courts. It was later found out that most of the money went to the white contractors like Xerox, and not to the City, for citizens improvement. Stephanie took the high road out of Baltimore politics.

(L-R) Stephanie Rawlings Blake; Kurt Schmoke.

Previous to her, another African American female, Sheila Dixon was found guilty in a misappropriate use of gift cards, intended for the public.

Prior to her, the City had a white Mayor, Martin O’Malley, who made governor of Maryland, without financial scandal.I remember, Jacqueline F. McLean, who in 1991 was elected Baltimore City’s first woman comptroller, and she was African American! In 1994 she was caught up in a corruption scandal, which included using her Four Seasons travel agency.

(L-R) Sheila Dixon; Jacqueline F. McLaine; Catherine Pug

I remember Kurt Schmoke, African American male, who became Baltimore’s best qualified to be mayor by experience, and education (Yale, Harvard, Oxford).

Hopes were high when he was elected in 1987, it was believed he had “the right stuff” to be governor. Why did it not happen? There was no scandal attached to him. So why is he not wearing plaudits like stars on a general’s epaulets ?

The city of New York is known as THE BIG APPLE, the whole world bought in to it. Kurt Schmoke’s  slogan for Baltimore became, THE CITY THAT READS. Zero traction; so much for a well educated African American male. “Who knew?”

I remember, Sears Department store at the corner of Harford Road and North Avenue, a major location that divided East and West Baltimore. No other store like it for miles and miles. Sears announced its closure. Under Kurt Schmoke’s watch, it was converted to a courthouse/jail, locking up the people who elected him. He was one of the first to advocate the legal sale of marijuana. Which race is more locked up for the use and abuse of that herb? Not to speak of the social ramifications that plague the black (African American community).

Under Kurt, was an African American Housing Commissioner for Baltimore City, Daniel Henson. He tore down the housing projects, forcing the inner city workers to find housing in Harford County, 35 miles away. There was no hands on industries in Baltimore paying decent wages, so some who lived in Harford County (Edgewood) had to travel 70 miles to work in Columbia Md. There is no high speed rail service, no regular commuting service by MTA, therefore most of the commuters money went for transportation.(Henson is now  a housing and construction developer, and is believed to be  a millionaire).

Daniel Henson, far left, with Kurt Smoke

The citizens of Baltimore need another Donald Schaefer, (Mayor 1971-1987) who brought industry to the inner city, and gave residents financial empowerment and pride. We will still have crime, but we can help the “little people”  see themselves as value, not waste. Marilyn Mosby (the city’s States Attorney)  seems to have that leadership criteria. Let’s see who will “step up!” and navigate this ship to a rock of admiration, that  I could write a more star studded, “I REMEMBER”

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