by T.R. Mencken, Editor In Chief
Arrogance And Misbehavior From The Top Down
There are many reasons I can think of why president Barack Obama was not seen with, or even acknowledged Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon on his pre-inaugural whistle stop in the city. For one, Mayor Dixon and her administration are an embarrassment of democracy. My friends in other cities often tell me Baltimore is nothing but a really big small town. The local corruption, cronyism, and backstabbing politics is more akin to a small town in the south, than to a city with ambitions of greatness.
You got a police commissioner, Frederick Bealefeld, booting a city councilman from a meeting. Not just any councilman, but the one who oversees the budget for the police department. As far as chain of command, it is usually a police chief who has to answer to a city council. Big city, small town. Ok, so perhaps there was sensitive matters being discussed and this just couldn't be done in front of a councilman. You know how those elected officials can be, right Fred?
Remember the famous shoe incident? This time I think ole Sheila the shoe out did herself. After kicking out the media recently at a city council meeting, in direct violation of the Maryland Open Meetings act, not to mention the first amendment, the picture above was her reaction when cooler heads, or perhaps someone with a better working knowledge of the law, convinced her to let the journalists back into the meeting.
So, the mayor feels she is above the law, (oops, did I say that?) and so does her appointed police commissioner. Can you blame a guy for taking cues from his boss? The problem is, this attitude doesn't stop there. From the highest level of bureaucracy, to the lowliest peon, this city really thinks like a small town.
In a prior entry, I already told you about how independent journalist James MacArthur was arrested simply for asking questions. I wish I could say that these were all isolated incidents, but the problem is they all occurred within less than one month's time. That's a pattern. Truly there is something rotten in this town of Baltimore, and Mayor Dixon and her people are intent on keeping it all under cover, even if it means breaking the law (allegedly of course). Just like they do in a small backwoods town.
President Obama entered office with a promise of making government more accessible and transparent. So far it appears he's off to a good start. In Baltimore there is to be no such talk. Would you want to be seen standing next to someone who's image and behavior is the complete opposite of your platform? Didn't think so. So, while former Mayor now governor O'Malley, along with congressman Elijah Cummings, and many others were thanked and applauded, there was no mention or photo op for Obama, with Sheila the shoe. Oh how charming.