By A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L.
Baltimore's Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is the epitome of a disengaged mayor. By every account, her response to crisis in the city often resembles more of an aloof princess than the leader of a modern American metropolis. Many things could be said in describing Lady Stephanie (most of them true) and her detached, far off, castle-dwelling attitude, but humility or contrition aren't among these. Cold, lacking compassion and empathy and disconnected, are just a few of the choice adjectives one can chose to describe Baltimore's Madame Mayor.
To be clear, this city has a lot it ought apologize for. As leader of the city, the mayor could be an agent of healing in a city filled with age old festering wounds. Learning to say I'm sorry when her people mess up would begin to restore faith in government.
Last week the mayor of Philadelphia publicly apologized to his city over the actions of a police officer who sucker punched a woman. Saying "I'm ashamed...," Yet in Baltimore, police are constantly embroiled in one controversial scandal after another, and not one of them has ever brought with it an apology from city hall.
On the other hand, the Baltimore Police Department recently killed Anthony Anderson while arresting him. Anderson was unarmed and there seems no indication he was ever a threat to police officers. The incident is quickly shaping up to seem like what's appearing to be a gross application of excessive force. Anderson was killed in front of his family.
To make matters worse, there's evidence of a cover up at various levels including the police report. Initial statements suggested Anderson died not from being body-slammed on the pavement, but from possible ingestion of drugs. They say you shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but for a police department to kill someone then try to blame his death on his own actions is about as low as you can go.
Has the mayor apologized to the family of Mr. Anderson? No. Has the mayor even made a single statement on the incident, at least to say she's requested a full and thorough investigation in order that we may learn all the facts? Absolutely not. Has this mayor shown any concern she may have a police department thats out of control? Between the friendly fire killing of Officer William Torbit, and a whole slew of other questionable disasters perpetuated by a department that more often resembles the Keystone Kops than professional law enforcement, I'd say this mayor would do well to apologize. For not giving a damn.
Children have been pulled out of school, falsely arrested, wrongfully accused of murder, causing life altering emotional scars, but we're told this is Baltimore, these things happen. It seems every couple of weeks we learn of more massive fraud or waste in one city government department or another, but the mayor continues to sing the song of being broke and needy, seeking to increases taxes and fees, while sidestepping continued calls for audits.
PHONES AND FIRE TRUCKS
|Rawlings-Blake sent Truck 15 to the grave.|
Lady Stephanie is the same mayor who with a straight face told the citizens she had to permanently shut down fire companies and close fire stations, not because there were less fires in the city, but because the money simply wasn't there. Even for a skilled writer of fiction like myself, it's hard to imagine the bizarro world inhabited by Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, where upgrading to phones more useful for peep shows than running a city, placed higher priority than keeping citizens safe. How on earth was nearly a million dollars found for phones, while at the same time none could be found for fire trucks?
Enough already! This is a commentary and not a compendium. The incessant indiscretions of this mayor could literally fill a book at this point, yet there are those who think she's doing a fine job. I believe these are the same type of people, who on judgement day will probably argue to God that the devil's not such a bad guy.
The truth is, apologizing is acceptance. Acceptance is acknowledgement. Acknowledgement is the first step in addressing a problem. Why would the mayor apologize when she's the leading dean of denial in propelling the great myth that things aren't as bad as they seem?
In my opinion, if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake spent a fourth of the energy she spends engaged in party politics, cheer-leading for President Obama and Governor O'Malley, this city would be well on its way to a better day. If for nothing other than neglecting her duly appointed duty, the mayor should apologize.